Page 1

in a fix

cropping plans

Farmers in Southland’s Waituna catchment face a tricky future. page 7

Timely tips from a field day on Hawkes Bay farmer Andy Barrett’s property. page 26

Rural NEWS

vets’ rep New NZVA president Gavin Sinclair flags key issues.

page 33

to all farmers, for all farmers

September 6, 2011: Issue 499 

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Farmer control vital in co-ops SUD ES H K I SSU N

OPENING UP cooperative equity to investors usually signals the beginning of the end of total farmer control, says Australian farmer and businessman Wally Newman. Newman is deputy chairman of Cooperative Bulk Handling (CBH), owned by Western Australian grain farmers, and was in Wellington last month to speak at an education seminar run by the New Zealand Cooperatives Association. He told Rural News toying around with structures has been disastrous for many Australian farmer co-ops. Most are now fully owned by investors. Investors see co-ops as “ripe plums on a tree ready for easy picking”. Incentives that drive corporatisation include success fees for lead consultants, executive bonus shares, prospect of increased

director fees and equity distribution to current co-op members. Capital raising is also a tactic. However, once investors have their foot in the door, things begin to Wally Newman change. “Investors seek better returns than what they would get from the banks... this means growers are no longer in the equation. Directors work for investors.” Newman is aware of concerns around Fonterra’s proposed TAF (trading among farmers). While unable to offer advice to Fonterra farmers, he says 100% ownership and control is critical. “As soon as equity goes out of the system, that’s the beginning of the end.” He points to Australian listed company Wesfarmers, which started in 1914 as a farmer co-op for the Western

Capital raising myth NEWMAN says it’s a myth that co-ops find it difficult to raise capital for growth. Since 2000, CBH has debt funded its expansion plans. It has bought seven flour mills in Asia and has invested $A175 million in Western Australian rolling stock to help growers transport grain to mills.

“We have borrowed against our balance sheet, against our assets, without any problems.” He also rubbishes claims that co-ops are not viable. “Look at Fonterra,” he says. “In fact, co-ops are so viable the corporate world can’t wait to get their hands on some of them.”

Australian rural community. Listed on the ASX in the 1980s, by 2001 it had become a publicly listed company with over 450,000 shareholders. Newman says Wesfarmers is a successful company but shareholders, not farmers, enjoy huge dividends. Over time farmers were pressured into cashing in shares, eroding their control. “You will hardly find a farmer 30 years or younger who would know about Wesfarmers and its history.” The Australian Wheat Board (AWB) was owned by wheat growers until 1999, when it became a private company. Last year it was acquired by the Canadian firm Agrium. CBH toyed with the idea of issuing A and B class shares 10 years ago like AWB. Newman, who joined the board the same year, led farmer opposition, resulting in CBH remaining fully owned and controlled by farmers. “Today we are the only growerowned grain handling and marketing organisation in Australia. We were the largest grain exporter from Australia in 2009-10.” If CBH had listed it would have introduced external shareholders into the business. No external shareholders means growers remain the sole beneficiary, he says.

Tahr get chopper culled An explosion in the population of tahr on Erewhon Station, Canterbury, was brought under control last week with a helicopter hunting operation. Runholder Colin Drummond says he hasn’t allowed many trophy hunters into the steep, mountainous country where the tahr live for 18 months and as a result numbers had risen sharply. “When there are only a few around they’re more of a grazing animal and they don’t do too much harm but once the numbers build up and those little groups join up you can get 60 or 70 in a herd and they can do tremendous damage,” Drummond told Rural News reporter and photographer, Tony Benny. Introduced by early European settlers, Himalayan tahr find the central to page 3


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Rural News // September 6, 2011

news 3 issue 499

www.ruralnews.co.nz

Shareholders, investors at loggerheads SU DES H KISSUN

News���������������������������� 1-12 World�����������������������15-16 Agribusiness�������� 17, 19 Markets������������������ 20-21 Hound, Edna�����������������22 Contacts�����������������������22 Opinion�������������� 13, 23-25 Management��������� 26-29 Animal Health������ 31-38 Machinery and Products��������������� 39-45 Rural Trader��������46-47

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

FONTERRA SHAREHOLDERS’ refusal to give accommodate potential investors will disadvantage the co-op in the long run, says business commentator Brian Gaynor. Gaynor, of Milford Asset Management, says Fonterra needs capital for growth and investors want to be part of its future. But if shareholders insist on total ownership and control, they will look elsewhere. “There are plenty of other opportunities out there,” he told Rural News. But his comments have been rejected by Methven farmer Eddie Glass, who leads a group of shareholders opposing any deal with investors on control and ownership of the dairy giant. Glass says Fonterra had no problems raising capital over the last 10 years. “I see no reason why it is likely to happen but of course that depends on

“If Fonterra is so good, why not buy a dairy farm. That’s an easy option and one which is open to all investors.” – Eddie Glass the aspirations of the board. I don’t know the board’s plans.” According to Glass, if Fonterra is attractive to investors, they should buy dairy farms and become a supplier. “If Fonterra is so good, why not buy a dairy farm. That’s an easy option and one which is open to all investors.” Glass’ group is adamant investors should not have any say in running Fonterra or appointing directors. He says support is growing in Southland, Whakatane and Taranaki. A lot of dairy farmers support the view, he says. Fonterra holds another round of shareholder meetings this month. Shareholders Council members will chair the meetings starting Septem-

ber 25. Co-op directors will also be present. In a recent email to shareholders Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden tried to ease concerns. He noted some shareholders “worrying out loud in rural newspapers” about 100% control and ownership. “You voted for 100% control and ownership 15 months ago. That’s what we will deliver,” he says. He assures farmers the management and board will sign off on the co-op staying controlled and owned by farmers before taking it to the Shareholders Council for approval. Van der Heyden says outsiders will not be involved in appointing independent direc-

Eddie Glass

tors. Fonterra currently has four independent directors on its 13-member board. But Gaynor says investors are uncomfortable with TAF because it gives no governance rights. Investors take risk by pouring capital into a business. These risks are compensated through powers to appoint directors, he says. He says investors are waiting for Fonterra’s board to release details. But he notes

the process is taking time and putting off investors. “The ball is in the shareholders’ court. If they don’t agree to a minimum amount of representation from investors, TAF won’t get off the ground. “Right now investors want some say in running the company while farmers are not prepared to give up any ownership and control. Both parties are at loggerheads.” • Editorial: page 22

Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122

Tahr cull is a win, win

Postal Address PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 Published by: Rural News Group

from page 1

Southern Alps, perfect habitat. Hunters come from around the world for the chance to bag a big bull but to runholders like Drummond and to DOC, they are a pest. “They’re goats,” says Drummond And under the terms of his pastoral lease, he’s obliged to keep tahr and other animals, including red deer, under control. But this wasn’t simply a search and destroy mission. Working with well known pilot Laurie Prouting, hunter John Newell recovered all but the most inaccessible carcases. Newell is licensed to recover wild game and

Printed by: PMP Print 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 80,327 as at 30.6.2011

John Newell

will send tahr to Premium Game in Blenheim for supply to the ‘boutique’ restaurant market. For every animal, he has to provide a GPS record of where it was shot to satisfy DOC, the Food Safety Authority and the customer. “It’s hard to make any money out of it but if we can cover the costs, it’s great fun.” He also works as a guide, taking New Zealand and international hunters into the mountains in search of trophy tahr bulls and other game. For Drummond, it’s a problem solved. “This way the carcases aren’t just left rotting on the hill and I hate that. It’s much better that the meat gets used.”

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

4 news

NAIT mandatory from July NAIT key dates • July 1, 2012: Tagging of cattle with NAIT-approved RFID tags is mandatory • February 1, 2012: Farmer registration can commence on a voluntary basis • February 1, 2012: Farm/ property registration can commence on a voluntary basis • July 1, 2012: Animal registration is mandatory for cattle (pending passing of legislation) • July 1 , 2012: Animal movement recording is mandatory for cattle (pending passing of legislation)

ANDREW SWAL LOW

MANDATORY COMPLIANCE with National Animal Identification and Tracing (NAIT) scheme tagging requirements for cattle will now come into effect July 1, 2012. Announcing the revised date, following May’s deferral of the original mandatory implementation deadline of November 1 this year, NAIT chief executive Russell Burnard said letters with the detail would be sent to all cattle and deer farmers in October. “From early next year, farmers will be able to register themselves with

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NAIT and be ready when the scheme becomes mandatory. “Our message to farmers continues to be: keep on tagging your animals with NAIT-approved RFID tags. “Tag your animals when they are young and easier to handle to prepare for the NAIT scheme next year and to avoid doublehandling or re-tagging costs. “To date, uptake for preparing for the mandatory NAIT scheme and tagging early has been impressive and I am pleased we are now at a point when we can indicate with confidence to farmers the date for which they need to prepare for mandatory tagging of cattle and animal movement recording so they can plan accordingly.” The October mailshot will include practical information on tagging and what farmers need to do and when for registrations and animal movement requirements. A public consultation on how the scheme will be funded post July 1 is planned for October this year, including proposals on tag and slaughter levies. The July 1 date for cattle is as recommended by the Primary Production Select Committee’s report to Parliament. A recent agreement that NAIT’s IT system would be provided by New Zealand IT company Fronde Systems Group has also facilitated the date announcement. Burnard says crossparty support for NAIT in Parliament “bodes well for the NAIT Bill being passed after the election”.

Caught out: These R1 heifers are now going to need NAIT tags unless they’re sent for the chop early.

“This, and confirmation of our system provider, gives our industry shareholders confidence the NAIT scheme is well placed for a July 1 mandatory date.” NAIT’s industry shareholders are Beef + Lamb New Zealand, DairyNZ, and Deer Industry New Zealand. Deer are set to join the scheme on March 1 2013. The scheme’s aim is to assure New Zealand’s overseas markets that a livestock disease can be quickly contained in the event of any biosecurity incidents. For cattle going to slaughter from now until NAIT is mandatory, the current bar-coded tagging system remains in place as it is essential that animals’ details can continue to be read and recorded at slaughter plants. New Zealand is behind international counterparts in terms of individual animal lifetime traceability. Canada introduced a mandatory cattle identification system in 2002, and Australia in 2005. Beef + Lamb New

The date change has caught out yours truly, Andrew Swallow, editor of Rural News, who, knowing the scheme had been deferred, recently bought a couple of lines of R1 steers without NAIT tags. My recollection was the scheme had been deferred for a year, until November 2012, so steers finished next winter wouldn’t have had to comply. However, checking May’s deferral announcement, it was “until next year”, not “for a year”. Bugger! Better go buy some tags and get the boys registered. Either that or get them on some rocket fuel feed in the hope of putting on a kg/day for the next nine months!

Correction: Government’s latest round of R&D grants are valued at $50m, not $10m as stated in Rural News’ article August 23.

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Zealand chairman Mike Petersen says the mandatory tagging date “can’t come soon enough”. “We want to see the programme up and running.” The deferral left some finishers frustrated, they had gone to considerable expense tagging cattle which the deferral rendered unnecessary. While Petersen is pleased to see a date announced, there will be some logistical issues with

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

news 5

Sheep and beef worst grazing record MARY WI TS EY

MANY SOUTHLAND Southland sheep and beef farmers have been netted for winter grazing noncompliance and it’s a problem that’s been going on for years. Despite dairy being the focus of much of Environment Southland’s enforcement work, figures dating back to 2009 show sheep and beef farms breaching winter grazing rules in far greater numbers. In the council’s aerial surveillance exercise in July – their first flight in Southland for 2011 – 17 non-complying farms were identified; 14 of those were sheep and beef, says compliance officer Chris McMillan. Tallying aerial surveillance data since 2009

be kept at least 3 m from the edge of water. McMillan concedes more work needs to be done with sheep and beef farmers. “The problem is a lot of these people, for whatever reason, don’t read the information. “We’re not saying every farmer is bad, we’re just saying there are some with issues.” Environment Southland chairwoman Ali Timms says it doesn’t matter what sort of animals you have, you must comply with the rules. “There’s certainly a lot of heat and noise about dairy farming, but winter non-compliance relates to all forms of farming.” The council’s statistics identify the breaches as sheep and beef animals

shows that of the 60 farms netted for animals entering waterways, 42 are sheep and beef, while 18 are dairy. “We have identified winter grazing as one of the primary causes of pollution of our low-lying waterways.” McMillan says he’s not surprised sheep and beef farm non-compliance is high because they don’t have the same level of council contact as dairy do through consent monitoring. “Basically we’re on the dairy farms a lot and we’re raising issues, so we’re getting much better compliance.” The council’s winter grazing rule states that during intensive winter grazing, from May 1 to September 30, stock must

entering waterways, not dairy cows, so the problem doesn’t appear to be related to winter grazing dairy stock. Her message to sheep and beef farmers is simple: “I expect them to comply.” Federated Farmers national board member and Southland sheep farmer David Rose says he would have expected the non-compliance figures to be better. The 3 m rule for winter grazing is a practical solution to improve water quality, which is relatively simple for farmers to implement. “I guess some farmers haven’t taken up that message yet and they need to. It’s disappointing.” Targeting specific sectors is counter-productive and the problem needs to be kept in perspective, he

These Southland sheep are grazing up to the waterway, despite Environment Southland winter grazing rules which state that stock in the province must be kept at least 3 metres away from the edge of water.

adds. “Farmers have got to stay united; it’s not the way forward to start in-fighting.... We need to talk about the hundreds of farmers who are complying, rather than focussing on the small percentage who are not.”

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Aussies still spitting pips over apples oratively with Australian growers to promote apple consumption in Australia. Pipfruit NZ has always taken the view that the two countries’ industries could work together to grow the Australian market. “This year what we could send was limited due to timing but next year we will be exporting more and while it will not be a panacea to the financially tight times growers are experiencing, it certainly is going to help being able to export to another market. “We have been fighting to get where we have and in time we will build our Australian exports.” Pipfruit NZ Chairman Ian Palmer said he doesn’t know what volume of fruit will ultimately go across the Tasman but can see it will grow. “If we can get it right. there is the potential in time for Australia to be a very important market. “Supermarkets like Cole’s and Woolworth’s have done a good ‘snow job’ on the public and consumers, but consumer pressure will change this in time. “The most challenging part is ensuring everything is pest free, has no stalks or bits of leaf in it. That sounds simple in theory but it is a lot harder than people realise and it is going to be a challenge to meet their protocols, when as far as I’m concerned they have none themselves.”

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

6 news Seeking Sika BRING YOUR Sika heads to the SIKA Show, even if you don’t think they’re very good trophies, say organisers of the annual Taupo event. “Any head brought in is valuable,” event director Mark Bridgeman told Rural News. “To get useful information you need to collect from a broad range of data.” He’s urging hunters to appreciate the role they play in wildlife management. By studying the jaws of trophies, hunters and herd managers get an insight into the quality of habitat and nutrition. The jawbone is also the most easily removed and provides an accurate assessment of age and health when shot. “All entries to the SIKA Show are valuable for providing detail to wildlife managers that will eventually feedback to hunting.” The show is October 15-16, Taupo Events Centre.

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STAFF CUTS at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry shouldn’t adversely affect New Zealand’s biosecurity, says Federated Farmers vice president and biosecurity spokesman William Rolleston. “I haven’t seen any evidence that it’s under threat,” he told Rural News, after concerns had been raised elsewhere. “The information that I have is that frontline staff are not actually going to be affected.” He says spending cuts have to be made by Government and it was inevitable MAF would be affected. “Federated Farmers has always said that Government needs to make sure it keeps its spending under control so provided these spending cuts are appropriate and provide for an equally effective ministry then I don’t see any real issue with it.” Rolleston says Feds will be “looking very carefully” to check MAF’s effectiveness isn’t compromised. Budget cuts make delivery of services a challenge but shouldn’t mean lower standards. “There are always ways of protecting our biosecurity that make things more efficient and more effective.” X-ray machines for example have made finding food

in incoming goods much less labour intensive. Announcing the cuts, MAF said if implemented as proposed, more than $18m would be saved in 2012/13. “The primary sectors Wayne McNee are enormously important to New Zealand’s economic future and they need to be served by a Ministry that is future focused, agile and enabling,” said director general Wayne McNee. The proposals include combining and streamlining MAF and Ministry of Fish functions such as financial management, policy advice, and communications. In areas where there is a strong business case, such as IT, there are proposals to out-source some functions. Other staff cuts will come from realignment of management. Of the 241 positions proposed to go, 97 are currently vacant. McNee says there are no proposals to cut fishery officers, animal welfare inspectors/investigators or quarantine inspectors.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

news 7

Could Lake Ellesmere pave way for Waituna Lagoon? MARY WI TS EY

SOUTHLAND’S CHANCES of securing Government funding for the Waituna Lagoon clean-up could be harmed while local famers and Environment Southland are at odds. About 60 Waituna farmers say though they are concerned about the future of the waterway –affected by high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous – they are unhappy at how Environment Southland has managed the clean-up to date. But Conservation Minister Nick Smith says the current in-fighting “reflects poorly on both groups” and they must work together if they are to get any support from Wellington. “The Government will engage when farmers and Environment Southland are constructively working together. The sooner both parties focus on solutions the sooner progress can be made.” He suggests Southland could learn from Environment Canterbury and the successful collaboration which has enabled it to secure $6.1 million in Government funding for the Lake Ellesmere clean-up. But Environment Southland chairwoman Ali Timms says she believes council has been promoting a partnership on Waituna, which includes the farming community, and she is surprised at the recent rural back-lash. “I think the farmer’s reaction is rather disappointing. Council’s worked hard to communicate with all farmers in that catchment and they’ve had a lot of opportunity for input. I think they’re shooting themselves in the foot.” However, the suggested speed of change at Waituna could be daunting.

“It’s understandable farmers want to vent their frustrations. I can see why they feel things are rushing, but the lagoon is in danger of flipping, so we have to move fast.” She also suggests Southland’s chances of getting funding for Waituna are now much less following Government’s support for Lake Ellesmere. “Canterbury’s got to the front of the queue. I’m disappointed we’ve been pushed back. I thought the issues over Waituna were a good fit for funding, but the Government obviously sees Lake Ellesmere as more of a priority.” But Smith rejects the suggestion and says Environment Southland should concentrate on sorting out its own local issues, rather than pointing the finger at Canterbury. He also says the Government’s new ‘Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up’ fund totals $15 million, “so there’s ample funding left for other projects.” Lake Ellesmere is a priority for Government because it is the most polluted of the country’s 140 lakes: Waituna ranks 73rd on that list, he says. Waituna farmer group spokesman Joanne Crack says there’s no doubt farmers in the catchment are concerned for the future of the lake. “Because Environment Southland has singled us out, we’re now also concerned for our future in the catchment. There has to be more forward thinking and planning from Environment Southland if farmers are to work with them. “Environment Southland has done very little to try to earn farmers’ respect. And continually talking of moving the goalposts is not helping.” Waituna Lagoon is 1350ha with a catchment of 20,000ha and 130 farms.

Waituna Farmer Group spokeswoman Joanne Crack.

Farmers fed up with flak SOUTHERN FARMERS say they are fed up with the negative publicity about farming in the Waituna catchment and they are concerned at the impact it’s having on farm values. Waituna farmer group spokeswoman Joanne Crack says farmers are sick of being targeted for causing pollution and are concerned at the effect it’s having on their reputations and their livelihoods. “What is also worrying is the general public appears to have taken on board everything Environment Southland has said and is treating it like gospel. “While we all have a duty in this respect, at the end of the day it is Environment Southland who has failed to listen to the community and to act for more than a decade on their own water testing data.” The Waituna issue has also impacted on the economic viability of farming in the area, she suggests. “We are hamstrung. Who would want to buy a farm in the Waituna catchment? And if you’re a bank would you want to lend money to a farmer down here?” A farmer-only meeting, attended by about 60 people,

was held on August 25 to discuss concerns and Crack says farmers feel like they’re being backed into a corner by Environment Southland and they’ve had enough. “The overall message from farmers at the meeting was that Environment Southland needs to pull its head in and start listening to farmers. “Environment Southland keeps saying they are listening but I wonder if you’d be able to find a farmer that feels the council has taken on board what they’ve said.” She says they have received dozens of calls of support from farmers around the region. “They know that while the Waituna Catchment is being singled out, any regulations slapped on us down here will soon be slapped on them as well.” She points out farmers from the area, and fishermen and duck hunters from years ago, have all offered insights into what the lake was like decades ago. “None of that sort of information has been taken on board by Environment Southland. They are only interested in their recent bit of science, most of which seems to be based on assumptions.”

2011 Spring Land Production This year’s Spring Land Production guide is packed with quality products and sound technical advice for all your pasture and cropping requirements. The PGG Wrightson team can also help you choose the right products for the best results in the months ahead.

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Fertiliser 45-47

Expert advice on:

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Land Production Planner 48-51

Index 52

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Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No. P3873


Rural News // September 6, 2011

8 news

Working to bring water to Waimea ba rba ra g illha m

WAIMEA PLAINS (Tasman) growers and farmers are banding together to build a dam to save their land from being “covered in houses,” as one says may happen if “acute” water shortages persist. Their goal is certainty of water supplies December-February – the crunch time for finishing crops. This certainty is ahead of “volume or quality or anything else” says dairy farmer Murray King. He chairs the Waimea Water Augmentation Committee, formed in 2003 following a string of droughts.

“Finding a solution to the water shortage is what drove us. We got some funding from the Sustainable Farming Fund and formed the committee... with members who would normally be opposing forces. [Now we’re] sitting not only in the same room, but around the same table. “We’ve got water users such as irrigators, the council -- because the urban demand is high – and Fish and Game, DOC and iwi all on the committee representing ecological, environmental and recreational [users]. It’s a triple-bottom-line approach.” Their aim is a dam in the nearby Lee Valley,

which studies have shown will alleviate the lack of water and benefit the region’s economy. Waimea Basin has long been short of water for irrigation, urban use and industry. Water resources have been over-allocated by as much as 22% during droughts. Now about 3700ha have water permits but 1500ha could be added if there was more water. Recent severe restrictions have limited the growing of irrigated crops. King, one of few dairymen still farming the plains, says the area is changing, as people move into “higher value” land uses.

“When I was a kid, this area was finishing country, with lambs and cattle, some small seed production and dairying. It was pastoral. But over 30-40 years it’s changed to intensive land use – horticulture. Kiwifruit was a big one that came in initially, then fruit, berryfruit... and more recently grapes.” They cannot continue with the minimal flows in the river, he says. “These guys are spending $60,000-$70,000/ ha on development on top of land value, which is an equivalent sort of figure. So with $120,000$140,000 invested you’ve got to have reliability

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Waimea Water Augmentation Committee chairman, Murray King.

of water. That’s why it doesn’t stack up for dairying; we can’t afford to invest that sort of money.

as a result, it’s not a viable horticultural area, then it will eventually get covered in houses.”

“Horticultural land is probably what it’s best suited to.... But if we don’t have reliable water and if,

Dam would pour in $1.2 billion A REPORT recently commissioned by the Nelson Regional Economic Development Agency (EDA) shows a dam would benefit the whole region, says Waimea water committee chairman Murray King. Preliminary results show there would be an increase in regional GDP of at least $1.2 billion over the first 25 years. The EDA regional strategy has identified the Lee Valley dam as a priority for

the region and supports the Waimea Water Augmentation Committee’s initiatives. With a storage capacity of 13 million m3, the dam would ensure the hoped-for water certainty. The report also estimates a $17.5 million annual loss as the cost of not building the dam, because of lost or foregone production and higher unemployment.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

news 9

Regional councils changing their ways? sue ed m o nds

WHAT’S IN a name? Ask the formerly named Environment BoP and Environment Waikato. Both have battled over environmental issues, both have changed their names – EboP to Bay of Plenty Regional Council and EW to Waikato Regional Council. The Waikato name change is being followed by deep thinking on how to work better with the organisations and industries in their network. And new legislation affecting the management of the Waikato River, and upcoming similar legislation re the Hauraki area, have meant the various regional iwi now must be regarded as partners in planning, with others

relegated to stakeholder status. One of the first steps, revealed recently at a Waikato Federated Farmers executive board meeting by Alan Campbell, manager environmental farming systems/resource use group, is the compilation of a land and water plan for sustainable agriculture. This differs from their former approach which often prioritised the policing of regulations ahead of giving helpful advice and guidance, and mediating with stakeholders. WRC now must refine its internal workings and use the expertise of outsiders as it forms technical alliances. Says Campbell, “This approach will be the cornerstone of our work.”

It won’t be easy: council policy sets resource limits for each catchment area, and farmers, industry, other stakeholders and community must conform. The council must clarify benefits and costs to all groups. Implementing the plans will require the council does some policing, but now also support and coordination. And the policing will be different: industry self-management is a watchword, for effective systems to be developed. Says Campbell, “This was an area we have been weak in. We got caught napping with the Central Plateau changes from forestry to farming and had no forward planning for its implications.” The council is planning

for changes in community expectations, and a more even-handed way of dealing with compliance and allocation of resources. Big challenges loom: upper Waikato, involving several iwi groups, needs solutions different from those affecting the Waipa area, and the upcoming Hauraki region will be different again. Federated Farmers is now trying to work with and listen to the various iwi groups, some of which are not united. Feds Waikato president James Houghton is meeting iwi, trying to see how proposals will affect local farmers. “The new approach by the council is good and positive,” he says. “We’re all working together for the good of the community.”

Wellington region winning on compliance DAIRY FARMERS in Greater Wellington have lifted consent compliance from 53% to 92% in the space of three seasons, says Wairarapa Federated Farmers dairy chairman Graeme Stuart. “Where the rubber truly hits the road – significant non-compliance – we’ve seen that fall to 1.6%.” Stuart says it’s “all a result of farmers listening and then acting upon sound advice.”

Fonterra visited his farm last week under its ‘every farm, every year’ inspection scheme. “So we’ve not only had the council checking on our practices but Fonterra too.” He says Greater Wellington Regional Council deserves credit for seeing farmers as part of the solution instead of the problem. “This is why compliance is positively heading upwards.”

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

10 news

ACT claims it’s the farmers’ party TON Y B E N NY

FORMER FEDERATED Farmers president Don Nicolson says farmers and the New Zealand economy need the ACT Party to add some steel to the National Government. “I was a believer in the messages the National Party used to peddle in the

early 90s and they were about where ACT is now,” Nicolson says. “Society has moved into the more centre left and ACT is trying to hold National where its roots want it to be.” Nicolson says he’s heartened by his No 4 ranking on the ACT Party list. “I spoke to Rodney

Hide a year ago and Don Brash more recently and I said to them unless I was highly ranked, it would be pointless me putting my name in the hat because I’m not just going to be used as a name in farming.” With Nicolson’s high ranking confirmed, ACT now claims to be the ‘true farmers’ party.

“Many have supported National in the past, but in ACT they have a political party that will truly speak their language and be their voice in Parliament,” party leader Don Brash says. As well as Nicolson, ACT has another farmer and longstanding ACT member, John Ormond, at No 12 on the list. Others with agricultural links,

if not hands-on farmers, are Kath McCabe (9), an environmental law expert, Robyn Stent (10), a former farm advisor and Robin Grieve (15), an agricultural tutor and consultant. Nicolson says government is too large in New Zealand and that farmers are suffering under the weight of “monopoly costs”.

“I think if the National Party isn’t going to stand up for farming, then very soon we will have (Green Party co-leader) Russell Norman as the minister of agriculture or someone like him and do farmers want that? Does New Zealand want that? “I don’t and that’s why it’s vital you have ACT as a support party to the National Party to hold them to a position that’s more farmer and more

Don Nicolson

New Zealand economy friendly.”

Dairy student travel scholarship launched KNOW A school leaver keen to get into dairy but who wants to travel first? Then a new Dairy NZ/ Communicating for Agriculture Education Programme (CAEP) scholarship might be just the ticket. Up to three $5750 awards will be made to assist with gap year travel to work on a dairy farm in Canada, the US or Australia. Placements in Europe and the UK may also be possible. “Our scholarship allows selected students the opportunity to have the ‘best of both worlds’ by experiencing an overseas adventure and having an incentive to return home to continue their tertiary studies and get involved in the dairy industry,” says DairyNZ Industry Education Facilitator Bill Barwood. Half the funds are paid when the recipient is in their overseas placement, and the balance when they’ve completed their gap year and enrolled at either Massey or Lincoln Universities. CAEP NZ manager Robyn Baron says the CAEP programme is a great way for a young person to experience life in another country. “At the same time they’re learning about a different way of farming, and maybe also passing on some of their own knowledge to their hosts.” Further financial support is potentially available to the student through the DairyNZ undergraduate scholarships. For more info and application forms see www.dairynz. co.nz/scholarships.


Rural News // September 6, 2011

news 11

$200/ha more from one-pass maize? a nd r ew swa llow

MAIZE GROWERS could save about $200/ha without jeopardising yield by switching to a single-pass establishment technique, says the Foundation of Arable Research (FAR). Four years of research with either direct-drill, or single-pass strip-till-and-sow machines, show what’s possible and in the long-term, reducing cultivation will improve soil quality, says FAR’s Diana Mathers. “Trials at the FAR Waikato Arable Research site and on farm trials across a number of regions have shown that using a single pass planting system has not compromised yields, and although a slow process, the soil attributes have also improved.” However, there’s a perception among growers that the technique is risky, so getting farmers to give it a go is difficult. To help overcome that FAR, with the help of MAF’s Sustainable Farming Fund, is organising discussion groups this spring in Waikato, Taranaki, and Manawatu, ideally with three or four growers in each who are prepared to adopt such methods on part of their area. “We’ll have a preliminary discussion before sowing to look at the challenges the site(s) may present then more in-field discussions as the season progresses.” One point to note with the approach is that undisturbed soil warms more slowly in spring, so sowing dates should be a little later. “It tends to be about two degrees colder,” notes Mathers. However, by the season’s end, typically there’s no yield penalty, and, even after taking account of extra costs such as slug control, the one pass approach will save about $200/ha in fuel and labour. If capital savings in

machinery can be made then the savings could be even more, she acknowledges. Mathers stresses they’re not expecting growers to go out and buy new machines. “What we’re looking for is for farmers to see if they can adapt existing machinery to reduce the amount of tillage.” Only in pugged or severely compacted soil does Mathers suggest more than one-pass is needed. “You might have to do some remediation work first.” Discussion group contact details and meeting dates are being finalised and FAR levy payers will be informed via Maize Action e-mail alerts and updates.

Is there a better way? FAR thinks so.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

12 news

Organic cuts ‘harsh and inept’ Sue E d m o nds

FONTERRA’S HANDLING of its organic cuts has been labelled harsh and inept, and though the warning signs were there, the cooperative never fronted until the axe fell, say producer representatives. “In some ways the hints from Fonterra have been around for some time, but they’ve never come out publicly and said it,” says Kathy Bentham, of Matamata, the new secretary of the 200member Organic Dairy and Pastoral Group (ODPG). “The premiums have been steadily going down, through reduction of percentage and changes in share options. “Though they got onto the bandwagon of organics when prices were soaring, they never seemed to sort the organisation of a defined group within the company. Every meeting we went to seemed to be taken by a member of staff we’d never met before, and the known faces disappeared.” Says ODPG’s new chairman, Mark Pike, of Waharoa,“They had some good experts going round recruiting farmers to become organic all over the place. But obviously they didn’t put regionalised structures in place to support the

spread of farmers. “Eventually they were faced with making a commercial decision that the combination of transport costs and premiums was too much. We can’t perhaps blame them for the commercial decision, but the way it was handled was harsh and inept.” Bentham and Pike refer to some organic farmers having been up-front about going for the premiums on organic milk. Others were ‘purer’, regarding organic certification to tight USDA standards as the only way to farm. The 50 remaining suppliers have mixed feelings. Challenging weather for four years has not helped, the pair say, but the best farmers have executed plans allowing them to cope when feed got short. Some totally focused on certification were caught by drought and a lack of organic supplements. ODPG sees Fonterra wanting its cake and eating it too. Their undertakings to work with farmers are all very well: they want to use organic milk for organic products when the market suits them, and mix it with conventional milk

Organic dairy - where to next?

the rest of the time. Will farmers be persuaded to keep their certification, or keep farming more or less organically but resort to other methods when prices or production drop? Says Bentham, “What we shareholders need is a defined organic group within Fonterra, operating perhaps as a cooperative within a cooperative. We

need to know who we are dealing with, and what they are planning, with more accountability and better communication. At present we are somewhat halfhearted shareholders.” Bentham and her husband farm cows and goats organically. The dairy goat cooperative has endured tight times, but has stuck to its principles and aimed

to only grow at the rate at which the market is prepared to spend. Having a long-serving chief executive has made for the co-op’s stability and a single viewpoint on progress. Is the organic dairy market as troubled as Fonterra is making out? No, says Derek Broadmore, chairman of Organics Aotearoa. He says organic dairy sales in the US, UK and EU are still rising, with forecasts of up to a 9% increase in organic dairy sales in the UK. His organisation’s 2010 survey showed organic dairy sales in 2009 from New Zealand were at least three times greater than those in 2007. Broadmore says though consumers here are assumed by Fonterra to have greater trust than before in the safety of conventional milk, the nitrate leaching from conventional farming practices continues to reach waterways. In contrast, organic farming has been proven to leach little, if any, of the same chemicals, he says. Mark Pike concludes, “We (NZ) are by our own claims, clean, green and sustainable. This claim is already under scrutiny from a number of other countries. Will it, one day, all blow up in our faces?”

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

letters 13 Quadbike licence robust, practical say instigators In response to Paul Anthony’s letter (Rural News, Aug 23) on the Quad Bike Farm Licence launched by FarmSafe and AgITO, we believe the licence’s robust practical training and assessment process helps farmers to effectively identify, minimise and isolate potential bike riding hazards. With over 800 quad bike related injuries taking place in New Zealand per year, a programme that helps to reduce the risk of injury can have a significant impact. Paul Anthony, with his background in motorsport, will understand the inherent risks involved in riding and driving powerful machines, which puts him in a different category than statistics show most farmers are. This licence has been developed by experts with significant experience in farming and use of quad bikes, including Grant Hadfield who has spent the better part of his life farming. Even for experienced riders, the benefits of obtaining the licence are many. Employers gain an understanding of industry guidelines, a method of verifying employees’ training and a means of demonstrating they have taken all practicable steps to minimise risks of quad bike injuries on their farm. It is important that employers set clear expec-

tations of what is required for safe riding on their property. The Department of Labour recently introduced ‘Guidelines for the safe use of quad bikes’, which may be used by the Courts to help decide whether or not an employer has failed to comply with any provision of the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992. The release of the Quad Bike Farm Licence is timely given that the Department of Labour is visiting farms around the country this spring to check quad bike riders are following recommended safety steps, including being trained and experienced enough to do the job. The Quad Bike Farm Licence provides evidence that people have done training and therefore understand and have been assessed against these safety standards. For farm employees safe quad bike riding practices safeguards their income – time off work for injuries costs the individual as well as the industry. Long-term career prospects are enhanced because employers value their skills and safe use of equipment. As deliverers of the training, FarmSafe are prepared to take Paul Anthony up on his offer to spend a day with him on farm. We invite him to contact us at office@farmsafe.co.nz to arrange a suit-

able date. Kevin Bryant Chief Executive AgITO; Grant Hadfield, national manager FarmSafe

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Forget licence, what about WOF? Like Paul Anthony (Rural News, Aug 23) I also can’t see an ATV licence preventing accidents. But correct training procedure for anyone working on or visiting a farm and using the ATVs is essential. The best thing ACC could do is put out a good DVD explaining the dangers for ATV riders. It should cover the dangers of poor maintenance: low or uneven tyre pressures, mud filled foot grips and/or poorly adjusted brakes for example, and uneven ground, slippery hills, potholes, hitting objects, string, wire and allowing your feet to come off the side of the bike or get under a tyre. What would prevent accidents would be if every ATV was required to have an annual WOF inspection. One person on every farm having it in their job description to ensure timely repairs and maintenance for the quad is also a good idea. Paul is quite right, experienced farmers need to be solving this issue, not urban bureaucrats implementing a raft of random unthought-out solutions. Dave Stanton Geraldine

More letters Rural News’ mailbag was full to brimming this week. More letters on p23. To have your say on the issues affecting our industry e-mail editor@ruralnews. co.nz or write to Rural News editor, PO Box 3855, Auckland 1140.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

world 15

UK organic area down again alan harman

FOR THE second year running the UK’s organic-farmed area has fallen but Government and sector bodies are optimistic the trend will reverse. Department of the Envrironment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) figures released last month show 718,000ha was organic in 2010, 3% down on 2009’s 739,000ha and the 2008 peak of 744,000ha. Producer numbers were similarly down 4% at 7,300. Sector supporters say supermarkets replacing organics with cheaper conventionally grown or reared produce are to blame. The leading organic certification body, Soil Association, says supermarkets’ organic sales fell 7.7% to £1.25billion as the total UK organic market fell 5.9% to £1.73 billion in 2010. With such chains accounting for about 72% of the organic market, their approach is pivotal for the sector. “In 2009 and 2010 most retailers responded to a dip in consumer demand by reducing organic ranges and shelf space dramatically and this depressed sales further by reducing availability for

those who still wanted to buy,” Dairy products are among the best sellers in the UK organic market. says the association. But the rate of decline slowed significantly through 2010 and “there are welcome signs of a more positive approach in 2011.” DEFRA also says the outlook for organic producers in 2011 is cautiously optimistic despite fragile consumer confidence in the wider economy. The association says inquiries about converting to organic production were at a low level across all farm types in 2010. It puts this down to rising input costs, the apparent drop in consumer demand, and a narrowing gap in farm-gate prices for organic and non-organic livestock. “Some producers ceased consumer confidence, retailer commit- at least 10%. organic production in the face “The key to an upturn in sales, howof static prices and high feed costs…. ment and the wider economic picture. “Among the leading organic brands ever, is whether economic confidence A lack of new converters points to a and companies confidence is strong…. levels increase among the wider public supply crunch as demand grows.” It describes the outlook for UK In a recent survey of the Soil Associa- – including the lighter and more occaorganics as cautiously optimistic, with tion’s ‘top 100’ licensees 69% said they sional buyers of organic products who the timing and strength of any recov- expected their sales to increase in 2011, have reduced their spending since ery likely to depend on three key factors: and 45% of these anticipated growth of 2008.”

On average, consumers bought organic products 15 times in 2010, compared to 16 times the previous year. Dairy products and fresh fruit and vegetables were the most popular categories, accounting for 30.5% and 23.2% of sales respectively, as 17 out of 20 households bought organic products. The most popular items in the organic shopping basket are dairy products, fruit and vegetables, representing 53% of spending on organic products. A committed core of consumers – the 8% of households who buy organic products more than once a fortnight – account for 54% of sales while about 75% of the money spent on organics comes from just 21% of organic consumers. The leading organic retailer in the UK is supermarket Tesco, with 28.1% of supermarket sales. It says yoghurt, beef and fish were its best-performing organic products in 2010, with ownlabel products accounting for around two-thirds of its organic sales overall.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

16 world

US regains beef export top spot records in 2011, possibly passing the US$5bn mark for the first time, says the UNCLE SAM is back in US Meat Export Federapole position for beef tion. exports after a 10 year First half beef exports absence. Exports from the equated to 13.8% of US US climbed 25% for Janproduction for the period. June to 620,851t, making Mexico and Canada were it the world’s biggest the top two markets, exporter ahead of Austraaccounting for 126,309t lia and Brazil. and 87,334t respectively. If the trend continues, Exports to Japan US beef and pork exports A8110 reached their highest are likely to set several alan harman

monthly volume since 2003 in June, at 17,626t, taking the year’s tally to 77,298t, 50% up on the first-half of 2010. The federation says other key Asian markets for US beef have cooled somewhat from the redhot pace set early in the year, but South Korea is still 73% ahead of 2010’s first-half at 86,890t, with Hong Kong’s 82% ahead at

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26,521t. “Heavy purchasing activity early in the year has led to high inventories in certain Asian markets, so it’s not unexpected we would see some cooling off of our beef exports to these countries,” federation president and chief executive Philip Seng says. “But this confirms the need for continued, aggressive promotion, so we can keep export growth to Asia strong throughout the year. It’s also encouraging to see exports performing so well in the Western Hemisphere and the Middle East.” In June, beef shipments to Central and South America were 51% up at 12,795t, led by strong growth in Chile, Peru, Colombia and Guatemala. Exports to the Middle East were up 38% at 80,204t.

Texan burn-out: a spark from this baler torched 40ha of hay, a ute, and both machines pictured.

Texan drought worst on record ON-GOING drought in Texas has already caused US$5.2 billion of agricultural losses, making it the state’s most costly on record. AgriLife Extension livestock economist David Anderson says the losses represent 27.7% of the average value of agricultural production over the last four years. “Further losses will continue if rainfall does not come soon to establish this year’s winter wheat crop and wheat grazing.” Arable farmers haven’t been able to cash in on high crop prices while cattle producers are culling hard and having to pay dearly for supplementary feeds. “Market losses include the impact of fewer pounds sold per calf and the impact of lower market prices due to the large number of cattle sold in a short time.” The livestock bill is put at $2.06bn; cotton at $1.8bn; hay $750m; corn $327m;

wheat $243m. The estimates do not include fruit, vegetable, horticultural and nursery crops. “These estimates are considered conservative,” Anderson says. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the drought in Texas and other southern US states is pushing cattle into feedlots at almost unprecedented rates, with the number on feed up 6% to 10.626 million in its monthly ‘Cattle on Feed’ report, the second highest figure since data collection started. “While these numbers paint a gloomy picture, Texans are survivors,” Texas agriculture commissioner Todd Staples says. “Our farmers and ranchers will adapt and overcome this record-setting drought to ensure we have a safe, affordable and reliable domestic food supply.”

Farmers markets forge ahead in US AMERICA’S AGRICULTURAL producers are turning in droves to direct marketing, judging by the latest USDA directory of farmers markets. This summer 7175 are operating nationwide, up from 6132 last year and just 340 in 1970. “The remarkable growth in farmers’ markets is an excellent indicator of the staying power of local and regional foods,” agriculture deputy secretary Kathleen Merrigan says. “These outlets provide economic benefits for producers to grow their businesses and also to communities by providing increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods. In short, they are a critical ingredient in our nation’s food system.”

Community-supported agriculture (CSA) operations, where consumers pay a flat weekly rate and receive a box of produce from the farmer, are also on the up and now number at least 4000. In these, the consumer shares the risk with the farmer: in good years the box can be overflowing; in bad, near empty. In total, at least 100,000 US farms now sell food directly to local consumers. California has most farmers’ markets with 729, ahead of New York with 520, Michigan 349, Illinois 305 and Ohio 278. But while farmers’ markets are doing well, benefiting local farmers, consumers and economies, they could be doing a lot better, according to a report by the Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

agribusiness 17

PGW $30m loss paves way for future profit REVAMPED RURAL trader PGG Wrightson (PGW) is starting from a clean slate, says investment consultant Grant Williamson following last week’s $30m loss announcement. He believes with a new management team and a streamlined portfolio of businesses PGW’s on track to return to profitable trading. “Now PGW can go forward confident of operating profitably and not be worried with side issues,” he told Rural News. Williamson, of Hamilton Hindin Greene, Christchurch, says the

restructuring has been painful. It has also affected the company’s bottom line. Last week PGW announced a net loss of $30 million for 2010-11 compared to a $23m profit the previous year. Gross profit reached $49m from $1.24 billion in revenues. However, revaluation of the company’s wool interests and supply contract provisions with Silver Fern Farms and fair value adjustments pushed it into the red. PGW managing director George Gould says the results tell a story about a company that has taken stock of its position and moved on. Not just opera-

in brief LIC rolls out new roles LIC HAS created a new role of chief operating officer following a restructure of senior management. David Hemara, general manager strategy and growth, has taken on the role allowing chief executive Dewdney to focus more on growth strategy and industry partnerships. Hemara has worked in most areas of LIC’s business since starting in 1982. As GM strategy and growth he led the R&D, business development, technology commercialisation, intellectual property and core data access areas. Under the new structure he will oversee: farm systems; R&D; genetics and reproduction; sales and marketing; operations and customer service. Meanwhile Richard Spelman has been appointed to the new role of general manager research and development, and will report to Hemera. Spelman is a quantitative geneticist with a PhD from Wageningen University, Netherlands, and degrees from Massey University.

tionally, but also through one-off write downs and selling such businesses as finance and merino where an ownership position is no longer a pre-requisite, he says. “We are refocusing on getting the basics right, ensuring we build on our leading brand and tap into the expertise we’ve built up over 100 years. “Our focus in these results was about the performance of our core businesses, the ones that are the cornerstone of our business. But it is equally our aligned businesses – including real estate, irrigation and pumping, insurance, agriculture and livestock export – that

hold the potential for substantive growth.” PGW is majority owned by Chinese conglomerate Agria. The company has two seats on the eightmember board. Williamson says Agria would have “a reasonable amount of say” in running PGW. “Obviously, they have a strategy in place that includes divestments of some non-core operations and it will have Agria’s support,” he says Williamson warns the return to profitability won’t be easy. PGW’s core business – the rural merchandise sector – is highly competitive. “The Wrightson brand has been around a long time in the

rural services sector but will have to work hard in a highly volatile market.” Gould says while the company is conscious of volatility in the wake of the emerging global fiscal crisis, it is planning for improved earnings.

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Divestments help balance sheet PGW WRIGHTSON chairman John Anderson says selling certain non-core assets have strengthened its balance sheet. In the past 12 months PGG Wrightson sold its stake in New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay (NZFSU) and New Zealand Merino. The settlement of NZFSU’s performance and management fees and internalisation of its management agreement saw parent bank debt reduced to $124.5m in June 2011 compared to $178m in 2010.The sale of the Merino business fetched $7.6m. Anderson says the livestock and rural supplies businesses performed well and benefited from improved returns at the farmgate. However, the group results reflected the impact of extremely wet spring and summer conditions in Australia, the Canterbury earthquakes and restructuring costs. “We can take a number of positives out of the performance,” he says. “The balance sheet is strengthened from the divestment of certain non-core assets while the successful conclusion of the partial takeover by Agria provides certainty.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

Agribusiness 19

Allied Farmers reports $43m loss SUD ES H K I SSU N

BELEAGURUED RURAL services firm Allied Farmers has reported an annual unaudited loss of $43 million. The company, which recently sold its rural merchandise stores to RD1 and liquidated its finance division during the year, is still bleeding money through asset writedowns after buying failed Hanover Finance. Allied last year suffered $30m impairment losses on the Hanover deal. Releasing its unaudited annual results on NZX last week, the company noted “a very challenging year”. Apart from the writedowns, Allied Farmers took a severe hit when its finance arm Allied Nationwide Finance went into receivership. As a result Allied’s rural division lost its primary source of funding for rural customers. Working capital also dried up. Revenue for the rural division dropped from $65m in 2009-10 to $35m in 2010-11.Total revenues reached $59m last year compared to $106m the previous year. The livestock operation was a winner with earnings $1m ahead over the previous year. Online livestock marketing and trading also grew. Allied says the rural division result was heavily influenced by the losses in the merchandising division, overshadowing the excellent livestock division result. It expects the rural division to make a profit this year on the back of a resurgent dairy industry. The sale of its merchandise division was a “difficult decision” as merchandise had been a core business but it could not cope with strong competition. “In a highly and increasingly competitive market where margins were continuing to be under significant pressure, we could not see this division returning a satisfactory return on capital in the short or medium term,” it says. “The sale of the division to RD1 has seen most of the staff retained, and our loyal farmer customers still being serviced in the key locations.” Another positive was a reduction of secured liabilities

acquired as part of the Hanover transaction from $44.3m to $5m. The company also repaid a $16.5m term loan to Westpac. Allied plans to restructure its remaining rural business units and announcements are expected soon. But it also warns of tough times ahead. “The outlook for the group remains challenging and the ongoing support of the group’s stakeholders will be important.”

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WINE SALES and exports are up but the industry remains in the clutches of the economic crisis, says New Zealand Winegrowers chairman Stuart Smith. Smith says the effects of the 2008 supply shock and the global financial crisis are still hurting wineries and growers. “The longer term consequences of 2008 are still being worked through, in the form of lower prices, tighter money and tougher markets,” he says. “Things are not easy but we are moving forward.” Wine sales in the year ending June 2011 exceeded expectations, Smith says. According to the New Zealand Winegrowers 2011 annual report released last month, wine exports reached $1.1 billion, 5% up on last year. Volume, including domestic sales, was up 11% at 221 million litres. But Smith says while increased sales helps cashflow, profitability is another question. “Profitability in the wine sector is under siege on all fronts,” he says. Grape growers endured another year of low grape prices at $1172/tonne compared to $1293/t last year and $1629/t in 2009. In the South Island, increased tonnages gave some financial relief but in the North Island low prices were compounded by small crops. At the same time, a strong Kiwi dollar remains a major challenge to exporters. Smith believes there is a need for a clear path for the sector. For this reason we have commissioned PriceWaterhouseCoopers for a major strategic review of the sector and our own activities, he says.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

Market Snapshot North Island

South Island

Change c/kg

Last Week

Change c/kg

Last Week

Lamb - PM 16.0kg

n/c

7.60

n/c

7.45

Steer - P2 300kg

+5

4.25

n/c

4.00

c/kgCWT

Lamb Market Trends

Meat

Bull - M2 300kg

+5

4.05

n/c

3.85

Venison - AP 60kg

+5

8.45

+10

8.85

Lamb Prices

Mutton SI Lamb

Mutton

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$3.5 Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

7.58

7.58

5.33

P2 Steer - 300kg

+5

4.25

4.20

4.30

n/c

7.60

7.60

5.63

M2 Bull - 300kg

+5

4.05

4.00

4.10

NI

PX - 19.0kg

n/c

7.62

7.62

5.64

P2 Cow - 230kg

n/c

3.30

3.30

3.35

n/c

7.63

7.63

5.64

M Cow - 200kg

n/c

3.15

3.15

3.25

MX1 - 21kg

n/c

4.50

4.50

3.30

Local Trade - 230kg

n/c

4.40

4.40

4.45

YM - 13.5kg

n/c

7.45

7.45

4.96

P2 Steer - 300kg

n/c

4.00

4.00

3.90

PM - 16.0kg

n/c

7.45

7.45

5.55

M2 Bull - 300kg

n/c

3.85

3.85

3.63

PX - 19.0kg

n/c

7.45

7.45

5.56

P2 Cow - 230kg

n/c

3.00

3.00

2.70

PH - 22.0kg

n/c

7.45

7.45

5.56

M Cow - 200kg

n/c

2.90

2.90

2.62

MX1 - 21kg

n/c

4.08

4.08

3.10

Local Trade - 230kg

n/c

4.15

4.15

4.10

SI

NZ Slaughter

Estimated Weekly Kill

Change

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

99

Cattle NI

-9%

10.5

11.5

12.5

40

53

Cattle SI

-38%

3.5

5.6

3.3

3.2

Lamb NZ

-22%

150

193

145

152

Cattle NZ

-18%

14.0

17.1

15.8

16.0

Mutton NZ

-7%

29

31

17

27

Bull NI

+17%

0.7

0.6

0.8

1.3

Bull SI

-50%

0.2

0.4

0.2

0.2

Str & Hfr NI

-16%

5.8

6.9

7.4

7.1

Str & Hfr SI

-36%

2.9

4.5

2.5

2.5

Cows NI

0%

4.0

4.0

4.3

4.4

Cows SI

-43%

0.4

0.7

0.6

0.5

NZ Weekly Lamb Kill

Last Year This Year

0 May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

NZ$/kg

$4.0

Oct

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

n/c

2.45

2.45

1.87

1.43

-24

10.60

10.84

9.08

8.15

Sep

Oct

0 May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Export Market Demand Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

-3

1.93

1.96

1.75

1.56

-14

5.12

5.26

5.47

5.00

Change

This Year

95CL US$/lb NZ$/kg

£2.00

Nov

Demand Indicator - US 95CL Beef £1.50

South Island 300kg Steer Price

$5.0

20

Last Year

£2.50

$2.5 Aug

This Year

40

$3.5

Jul

Last Year

60

Demand Indicator - UK Leg Price

£3.00

NZ Weekly Beef Kill

80

Export Market Demand

$4.5

Jun

12.8

105

UK Leg £/lb

$3.0

5yr Ave

61

Change

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

Last Year

132

North Island 300kg Bull Price

$5.0

3 Wks Ago

39

$3.5 Jun

2Wks Ago

111

150 5yr Ave Last Year This Year

Change

-36%

300

$4.5

1000s

Estimated Weekly Kill

-16%

$7.5

$5.5

Last Year

Lamb SI

450

$6.5

2 Wks Ago

Lamb NI

South Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price

$8.5

Last Week

Change

c/kgCWT

n/c

1000s

$4.5

Last Year

PM - 16.0kg

NZ Slaughter

$5.5

2 Wks Ago

PH - 22.0kg

$8.5

$6.5

Change

Last Week

YM - 13.5kg

North Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price $7.5

Beef Prices

c/kgCWT NI Lamb

Beef Market Trends

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

$2.00

Nov

$1.80

$4.5

Procurement Indicator

$4.0

Change

$3.5

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$3.0 $2.5 Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

$1.60

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

% Returned NI

+2%

72.8%

71.0%

62.2%

49.1%

% Returned SI

+2%

70.5%

68.9%

61.3%

58.8%

Jun

$9.0

Aug

Change

60%

Sep

Oct

Nov

2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

% Returned NI

+2%

78.1%

76.0%

73.99%

76.9%

% Returned SI

+2%

75.2%

73.2%

65.4%

68.4%

Last Year This Year

50%

$8.0

Jul

Procurement Indicator

70%

North Island 60kg Stag Price

This Year

$1.20

Procurement Indicator - North I.

80%

Last Year

$1.40

Jun

Aug

Procurement Indicator - North I.

90% 85%

Oct

80% 75%

$7.0

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$6.0 Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

South Island 60kg Stag Price

$9.5

Procurement Indicator - South I.

85%

Last Year

65% 60%

75% 65%

This Year Jun

Aug

Oct

Last Year

55%

Procurement Indicator - South I.

This Year

45% Jun

$8.5

70%

Aug

85%

Oct

75%

Venison Prices $7.5

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$6.5 Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Change

65%

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

NI Stag - 60kg

+5

8.45

8.40

7.40

7.00

SI Stag - 60kg

+10

8.85

8.75

7.60

7.33

Last Year This Year

55% Jun

Aug

Oct

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 // September 6, 2011

Beef Wool Price Watch North Island cattle prices head higher North Island export cattle prices are firming thanks to stronger pressure from the Local Trade market last week. 300kg bulls are earning $4.05/kg but the numbers coming forward for kill remain tight. 300kg cwt steer prices were averaging $4.25/kg but returns are extremely varied dependant on region, size of line and processor. Reports indicate local trade processors are getting a bit annoyed at the big ‘export grade’ cattle coming through with some indicating they may look to penalise this in the coming weeks. Export cattle prices held in the South Island last week. Meat companies seem to have no desire to push the market along with the stagnant overseas demand in the back of their minds. Local Trade plants don’t appear to be looking for cattle as in the North Island which is also holding export prices. 300kg cwt steer prices held at $4.00/kg while 300kg cwt bull hovered below that at $3.85/kg. Some plants are looking to close for maintenance in the coming weeks. US imported beef market under pressure The market for US imported beef remains under pressure on the back of increased US domestic supplies and seasonally softening consumer demand. Drought conditions continue to force the offload of cows in the US. US imported 95CL bull prices fell to US$1.93/lb last week with US imported 90CL cow prices easing 2c to US$1.81/lb. These falls have occurred despite a very limited availability of imported product with supplies down by over 15% on a year ago.

Lamb

Dairy Price Watch

Indicators in NZ$

Change

25-Aug

18-Aug Last Year

Indicators in NZ$/T

Coarse Xbred Indic.

-3

6.08

6.11

3.44

Butter

-15

5417

5432

5738

-1

6.44

6.45

4.04

Skim Milk Powder

-89

4321

4410

4250

Lamb Indicator

-

-

-

-

Whole Milk Powder

-48

4296

4344

4463

+24

9.60

9.36

6.99

+213

5417

5204

5526

Mid Micron Indic.

Cheddar

Wool Indicator Trends

750

6,000

550

5,000

450

4,000

350

CXI

250 Aug

Oct

Dec

FXI

Feb

SMP But.

LI

Apr

3,000 Sep

Jun

Coarse Xbred Indicator

750

Nov

Jan

Mar

WMP Ched.

May

Jul

Whole Milk Powder Price (NZ$)

6,500

Last Year This

Last Year

650

This Year

550

5,500

450

4,500

350 250

3,500 Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Jun

Nov

Overseas Price Indicators Indicators in US$/kg

Change

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Overseas Price Indicators 25-Aug

18-Aug Last Year

Indicators in US$/T

Last 2 Wks

Change

Prev. 2 Last Year Wks

Coarse Xbred Indicator

-7

5.04

5.11

2.46

Butter

-100

4450

4550

4050

Fine Xbred Indicator

-6

5.34

5.40

2.89

Skim Milk Powder

-144

3550

3694

3000

Whole Milk Powder

-109

3530

3639

3150

Cheddar

+91

4450

4359

3900

-

-

-

-

+12

7.95

7.83

5.01

Lamb Indicator Mid Micron Indicator

Venison prices have spring in their step Venison prices are lifting as the spring chilled market gets underway. Indicator prices for a 60kg AP stag are well up on this time last year across both islands. Slaughter numbers remain limited but the higher money has enticed a few more deer out for kill in recent weeks. Overseas demand remains very firm on the back of limited supplies out of New Zealand. The overseas markets are picking up with returns much higher than this time last year despite the stronger exchange rate.

research

Dairy Prices Trends

7,000

650

Venison

committed to

Prev. 2 Last Year Wks

Fine Xbred Indicator

Export lamb prices holding for now Export lamb prices in the North Island held firm last week. Wool Indicator in US$ A 16kg cwt lamb is fetching $7.58/kg (nett). Lambs 685 continue to come forward in reasonable numbers with the 585 latest North Island weekly kill statistics showing a lift of 485 5000 head on the same time last year. A number of 385 cropping farmers are yet to offload so there should be a 285 CXI FXI LI steady, though small stream of supplies for some time 185 yet. Reports indicate stronger enquiry from the Local Aug Oct Dec Feb Apr Jun Trade markets in some areas so prices could trend higher if competition for supplies ramps up in the weeks ahead. Coarse Xbred Indictor in US$ 750 Export lamb prices in the South Island held their ground Last Year last week with a 16kg cwt lamb earning $7.45/kg (nett). This Year 550 This is despite a significant drop in the South Island lamb kill as a result of the snow storm three weeks ago. Those 350 lambs caught up by the snow-related disruptions are expected to filter through the system but prices are not 150 Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov expected to be pressured given the seasonally low volumes coming forward at present. Mutton kill continues to surge ahead To date this season over 4.2 million ewes have been slaughtered, well up Currency Watch Last 2 Wks 4 Wks on the expected 3.7 million for the entire season. By this time last season vs. NZ Dollar Week Ago Ago New Zealand had only slaughtered 3.5 million ewes. The heavy offload of US dollar 0.831 0.822 0.867 ewes through the season has been due to the record prices being offered Euro 0.577 0.574 0.605 but it is also hoped farmers are cutting their losses on their more UK pound 0.510 0.498 0.530 unproductive ewes. The downside of this is that it has stifled any chance Aus dollar 0.793 0.793 0.790 of flock rebuilding taking place this season with breeding ewe numbers Japan yen 64.21 62.86 67.30 estimated to have fallen by nearly 550,000 head on last year.

100%

Last 2 Wks

Change

0.65

Dairy Prices in US$/Tonne 4,500

3,500

2,500 Sep

Nov

Jan

Mar

WMP Ched.

May

Jul

Whole Milk Powder Price in US$/T

4,000

Last Year

3,800

This Year

3,600 3,400 3,200 3,000 Jun

Last Year

0.95

0.705

0.85

0.554 0.454 0.795

Aug

Sep

Oct

US Dollar Last Year This Year

0.65 Jun

0.55 Last Year This Year

Jul

0.75

59.57

Euro

0.60

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Nov

UK Pound

0.50 0.45

0.55 0.50

SMP But.

Last Year This Year

0.40 Jun

Jul

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Nov


Rural News // September 6, 2011

22 opinion editorial

edna

TAF – why NZ should take note Fonterra is, barring the occasional PR foulup, a fantastic company. Its scale, efficiency, innovation, and marketing earn billions of dollars for Zealand. Only last month dairy was hailed for helping the nation record a July trade surplus for the first time in two decades, and Fonterra’s the driving force behind that. International investors would love to have a piece of this action by buying into the cooperative but, other than a couple of recent bond issues, to date it’s been out of reach. TAF (trading among farmers) will change that, allowing investors to buy “units” which, as a proxy for shares, will give the investor dividend rights. It sounds a great way to attract funding to shore up the balance sheet and finance growth; harmless enough given shareholders retain supply and voting rights; but is it? Fonterra’s directors argue unit investors will hold no sway over the company. Legally, that may be so, but when the price and return on a unit becomes a measure of performance, as it inevitably would in the financial pages of the papers around the world, extra pressure goes on directors and management to deliver a good dividend, which in turn makes Fonterra units an attractive investment. The tension between milk price and dividend is plain to see. To some extent that tension already exists but, within reason, it doesn’t matter. The dividend and milk price all go into the same pot, New Zealand’s dairy farms, which, through wages, purchases, interest and tax, recycle it through the New Zealand economy. Pay those dividends to an overseas investor and they drop into the global economic ocean with barely a ripple of benefit reaching New Zealand. Okay, so the initial investment in the unit should help Fonterra grow and increase returns which on the face of it is good news for farmer shareholders and the country. But overseas experience shows that once outside investors get a foot in a cooperative’s door, they understandably fight their corner for maximum return. Such is the size of the prize in Fonterra that there would be some mighty powerful feet placed in Fonterra’s door, if TAF leaves it ajar. Even without going into the technicalities of whether share titles remain with the farmer, or a custodian, there’s a strong argument to call time on the initiative. Legally, ownership and control defences may be watertight but laws can get changed, and when you’ve got a Prime Minister saying he’d like to see a listing, you wouldn’t bet against that. If Fonterra’s board won’t rethink TAF, then the Shareholders Council must.

RuralNEWS 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

“You’re off to spend all our savings – OK, see you soon!”

the hound Barking up wrong tree YOUR OLD mate has been told he was barking up the wrong tree in Rural News’ last issue. Apparently $50m is available in Technology Development Grants from Government, not $10m as he’d been led to believe. Firms must invest $5 to claim every $1 of that $50m back. Apologies Dr Mapp – not the most misleading media release of the month after all.

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

What odds the ABs for the RWC? ACCORDING TO a survey released last week 82% of us are at least quietly confident the All Blacks will win the Rugby World Cup, with 54% fairly confident and 28% very confident. Or at least, we were. “Most of the fieldwork for the polls was conducted prior to the All Blacks’ loss to the Springboks and all was conducted prior to the loss to the Wallabies,” the media release admitted. What a difference a week can make.

Swiping of the lambs

Cow shower revelation

A MUCKER from Hawkes Bay the other day expressed concern about Waipukurau’s planned running of the lambs later this month. The event features as part of the Rugby World Cup’s ‘Real New Zealand’ itinerary. “Wouldn’t surprise me if a few get swiped for the freezer on the way through,” he said. Sadly, with the town having recently suffered 300 job losses with the closure of Ovation’s boning plant, he was only half joking.

IF YOU think your teenage sons or daughters spend a long time in the shower, be thankful they’re not cows. According to research in the Journal of Dairy Science, and relayed in Dairy NZ’s latest technical bulletin, cows with access to an overhead shower spent an average of three hours per day under it. It didn’t say whether they used up all the shampoo and shower gel and left the empties on the cubicle floor, but I’ll bet they didn’t hang their towels up.

English optimistic on NZ ownership SO FINANCE Minister Bill English reckons 85-90% of shares in the State Owned Enterprise sell-off will be owned by New Zealanders. Given at least 51% will still be Crown-owned, what he’s really saying is he expects 10-20% of the shares offered to go overseas. Your old mate reckons even this is an optimistic spin in light of the impending election. When the NZ dollar drops, foreign funds will flood in. Better buy your shares now to cash in later.

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ABC audited circulation 80,488 as at 30.12.2010

Website Producer: James Anderson . .........................Ph 09 913 9621 Rural News is published by Rural News Group Ltd. All editorial copy and photographs are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher. Opinions or comments expressed within this publication are not necessarily those of staff, management or directors of Rural News Group Ltd.


Rural News // September 6, 2011

opinion 23 TAF derailed? FONTERRA SHAREHOLDERS gave the board a mandate to implement the TAF strategy. It appeared to tick all the boxes while defending the cooperative principal: 100% ownership of 100% by those who supply. The proposed shareholder fund was innovative. It offered funding flexibility for shareholders’ businesses and external buy-in to Fonterra performance by NZ Inc. Lately cracks have started to appear. On August 25 chairman Sir Henry van der Hayden emailed shareholders: “Some shareholders are worrying out loud in rural newspapers about control and ownership under TAF. You voted for 100% control and ownership 15 months ago. That’s what we will deliver.”

Our message to the chairman is that if he wishes to avoid public criticism he should facilitate informed private consultation among shareholder – something missing in the last 15 months. Shareholders are increasingly worried about where TAF is headed. The mandate the board enjoys is tightly proscribed by the proposal presented to shareholder 15 months ago. We note that the chairman no longer links 100% control and 100% ownership. It’s been suggested that contrary to the voted-on proposal, trading with the shareholders fund may now require not only the sale of the dividend stream but, most importantly, the transfer of title to a third party. Who would control that

Spirit of TAF must be met third party? What influence would that party have over the milk price? That’s not what we voted for. Our message to the board is: be up-front and let the facts of your new proposal speak for themselves. Put your proposal to the owners of the business; let the shareholders decide. Paul and Juanita Marshall Motu Bush Supplier 34777

IN HIS August 25 ‘Farmer Update’ holders to question email, Fonterra chairman Sir Henry the integrity of the, van der Heyden assured us the “100% ownership 100% ownership and control of and control”, as Fonterra, as voted for by its sharevoted for. holders, would be delivered. The three-day As shareholders we expect the round of Fonterra board and management to implefarmer meetings ment the constitutional changes scheduled for late necessary to enable TAF (trading September, to update among farmers) in the form and us on TAF, is timely. As Henry van der spirit in which it was voted in. shareholders, we need Heyden Comments by Leonie Guiney, to hear firsthand about and the presentations by the board any changes made since the last to the Fonterra Networkers conferround of meetings. We also need to ence, have caused some shareget answers to questions raised by

fellow shareholders worrying out loud in rural newspapers. One has only to look at the influence outside parties have had on Fonterra’s enabling legislation (DIRA) to start worrying about the effects of political and commercial interests on TAF if it were to be implemented. If shareholders cannot be convinced TAF is rock-solid, assuring 100% ownership and control, then we need to demand a second vote. Geoff Heaps Invercargill Fonterra shareholder/supplier 32254

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Exchange rate calls miss point WHY, WHEN farming is experiencing high prices, are some farmers still calling for action on the exchange rate? By their arguments this shouldn’t be happening, yet in my 32 years of farming it’s amazing how often our best years coincide with a high dollar. However, that even though the dollar has risen, there’s been little if any reduction in machinery, fertiliser or chemical prices. Based on some recent machinery sales I have done, using the currency on the day we’ve managed to save some of our clients up to 10% on last year’s prices. We need a bit more openness in all pricing and a bit more work on how to maintain the returns in New Zealand dollars. If our dollar was weaker I doubt the dairy payout would be much greater. The same can be said for grain prices. Those pinning their hopes of survival on a lower dollar are living on false hope. Jeremy Talbot Temuka

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24 opinion

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I’M STILL hot on the topic of the rural sector better engaging with the general population about how important it is to New Zealand’s economic future. Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden in June told farmers at a conference that the co-op had lost its connection with urban New Zealanders. But it is not just the dairy giant that has become disconnected from the wider community. Other farming sectors – meat, wool, kiwifruit, cropping, etc – also need to lift their games and get proactive in promoting their industries. No doubt Fonterra and DairyNZ should get more on the front foot, taking on the role of industry cheerleaders and relaying the good news about dairying to the community. However, they also have to acknowledge issues such as water quality problems and ever increasing milk prices and show how the industry is addressing such problems, especially in the case of the former. Currently, in the dairy sector, the vacuum of information is being filled by environmentalists piling pressure on the industry and farmers to lift their game on sustainability. At the same time, con-

sumer groups frustrated at increasing milk, butter and cheese prices complain about being ripped off while farmers enjoy a record payout. Inevitably these situations have seen opportunistic politicians playing the envy card by claiming

comment david anderson

farmers don’t pay enough tax, instigating pointless inquiries into milk prices and coming up with silly policies, such as irrigators in the South Island paying to clean up polluted North Island waterways . All this does is further drive a wedge between rural and urban New Zealand and lead to more discontent from both sides. Agriculture Minister David Carter recently said the dairy industry needed to acknowledge there are urban concerns about the effects of the intensification of dairying on the environment. The minister is right. He believes dairy farmers need to acknowledge these issues

and spend more time telling the industry’s goodnews stories so urban New Zealand can respect the progress dairying is making on environmental issues. Carter is adamant Fonterra and the wider dairy industry must be more proactive rather than reacting to criticism in the news media. DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle also agrees the industry needs to engage with the public and politicians on sustainable dairying. Fonterra’s Shareholders Council chairman Simon Couper recently told Rural News’ sister publication Dairy News about the need to have the community behind both farmers and the industry. Couper nails it on this point. So it is positive to see the first real steps being made to win over the community. As part of Fonterra’s upcoming 10 year celebrations, it is throwing a birthday shout throughout the country on Labour Day (October 24). This will see farmer shareholders manning the barbecues and handing out ice creams at a number of family days up and down the country. “While it will not change the world, we hope to get those without a

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good understanding of the industry to know us a bit better,” Couper says. He’s right, it won’t change the world. But at least it is a step in the right direction and is exactly the kind of thing that will foster better relations between rural and urban

New Zealand. In fact, it would be great if other agri-sector groups such as Federated Farmers and/ or Beef + Lamb took a leaf out of the dairy boys’ book and tried a similar thing. The more rural and urban folk can interact the better for us all.

ag twits Rural News’ irreverent and hypothetical look at what’s happening in the farming world Top Bleats

view all

smcgivornzpork: Trust me, pig farmers have genuine concerns over a possible devastating disease that may or may not arrive here – and no protectionist agenda. #honestly waynemcneemaf: So it’s not ok for Aussie apple growers to ban imports of NZ apples because of a possible disease risk, but it is ok for NZ pig farmers to ban pork imports because of a supposed disease risk? #hypocrisy smcgivornzpork@waynemcneemaf: You’re on to it Wayne. We just don’t want any rotten apples and/or pigs ruining our cosy little number here in Godzone. dcarterminofag: Soon to be re-elected (hopefully) agriculture minister trying to keep his head down and not get any grief over potential apple and pig trade disputes! #keeplookingbusy henryfonterra: Bloody hell, I thought we had this TAF thing all sorted. What is going on? #bugger fonterrapr@henryfonterra: Mr Chairman, it seems some shareholders are revolting and not accepting the party line that we know what is best for them. #troubleisbrewing henryfonterra@simoncouper: I’m told some shareholders are revolting re TAF, but I reckon most of them are pretty, bloody awful. I am sending you in to sort it! #lapdog dbroadmareorganicsnz: I don’t care what the market, Fonterra or anybody says: organic products are economically viable even if nobody is buying them. #peoplejustdon’tknowwh at’sgoodforthem

Membership and entry tickets With livestock and equestrian entries now open for this year’s Canterbury A&P Show, Rural News is offering readers the chance to win a membership to the Canterbury A&P Association. Simply post your details and you’ll go in the draw to win a Stud Annual Membership (valued at $95) which entitles you to discounted livestock/equestrian entry fees, tickets, priority car parking and access to the Members’ Marquee at the Canterbury A&P Show plus all the other benefits of Association membership. For more information on this year’s Canterbury A&P Show visit www.theshow.co.nz.

Send entries to Rural News Competition P.O. Box 3855, Auckland 1140 Name .................................................................................................... Address ................................................................................................ Phone ................................................................................................... Email .....................................................................................................

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

opinion 25

R&D now delivers decades later IT IS a depressing thought that if agriculture R&D takes several decades to reach fruition, the die is already cast as to whether feeding the projected world population is possible. Professor Phil Purdey, University of Minnesota and University of Adelaide, late last month spoke on ‘Agricultural R&D, Productivity and Global Food Security’ at the NZ Agricultural and Resource Economics conference in Nelson. Working with Professor Julian Alston from the University of California, Davis, Professor Purdey has shown that hybrid corn was under investigation for 59 years before release, Bt corn for 96 years and Roundup-ready soya bean for 26 years. Examining global data sets on agricultural yields, he has also shown that

multifactor productivity has not grown as rapidly in the last 20 years as before 1990. He has linked the decline to a reduction in R&D. In developed countries, which have traditionally supplied research that is then adapted for other countries, growth in public agricultural research expenditure was 2.43% in the 1980s and slowed to 0.52 % between 1991 and 2000. Researchers at Iowa State University have estimated that peak impact of R&D activity does not occur for a decade. Purdey and Alston suggest twice that for adoption to take effect. Hybrid corn, for instance took 19 years for adoption by 80% of farmers (1935-1954). This means that the effect of a slowdown now will not be felt until 2020-2030. The hope is that new

scientifically speaking jacqueline rowarth

technologies will allow more rapid developments than have been achieved in the past. Gene technol-

ogies, for instance, can allow targeted selection of animals for breeding. This reduces the time required in ‘waiting for the animal to grow’ before evaluation can occur. A problem with this approach can be selection for only one factor in a complex biological system, and may be more successful in plants where

grazing behavior and pecking order are not part of productivity. The second factor is in technology adoption. Although ‘over-thefence’ information flow is unlikely to be replaced as an extremely important ripple spreader, electronic exchange of information has speeded up trans-

fer options. In the United States, 80% adoption of GE corn took 13 years from the mid 1990s (in comparison with the 19 years for hybrid corn). In New Zealand, where farmers are hands on, farms are relatively small, and there are many consultants of various types disseminating information, ripples

spread rapidly. But there has to be information to spread, and that information must be tested rigorously under New Zealand conditions. We are not one of the countries that can easily adapt the research of others because of the unique soils-climate-isolation combination.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

26 management

Short and long-term gains from re-grassing P E T ER BU R K E

SINCE ANDY Barrett gave up a career in rural banking six years ago and he and his wife Hayley took on the lease of the family farm at Flemington, east of Waipukurau, they’ve dedicated much of their time and effort to improving pasture on the 500 ha (460 effective) block. The outcome of regrassing on Lake Station is providing substantial benefits, and the way they’re going about it is producing immediate short term gains. The farm is in a beautiful valley, mainly rolling country with some hills. They finish Friesian bulls, rear Jersey bull calves and provide Jersey and Friesian service bulls

to the dairy industry while running a Romney breeding ewe operation and trading lambs. The property hosted a recent field day organised by BLNZ to show the benefits of cropping as part of the re-grassing process.

country and our productivity needed to be increased; re-grassing was the best way of doing it.” So Andy and Hayley embarked on a 10 year scheme to sow about 30 ha of new pasture annually. But rather than just spray

“By running bulls on winter crop we get the cattle weight gains with the added bonus of good weight gains on winter trade lambs.” “When we took over the farm five years ago, the fertiliser levels were low and there was no structured re-grassing programme,” Barrett says. “We have fairly easy rolling

out the paddocks and immediately re-grass, he decided to begin by planting sovereign kale. This enables him to graze with bulls the following winter after which the paddocks

Kale is followed by rape for lamb finishing, then back into pasture.

are cultivated into a rape for lamb finishing during the summer before finally being turned back into a permanent perennial grass the following autumn. “Our ultimate goal is to winter as many stock as we can. By doing what we are doing we can condense all those bulls into a small area and control the pugging problem across the farm. Our country pugs pretty easily; we isolate that problem by utilising winter crops enabling us to take all those bulls off pas-

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ture. This in turn means we can look after our younger cattle and finish more lambs on the more productive pastures. This plan seems to be working.” Moving the bulls to new breaks each day takes nearly two hours but Barrett says he gets satisfaction from seeing the cattle do well. “We target putting 0.4kg/day on them – hard to do on grass without ruining the farm’s grass and soil structure. “By running bulls on winter crop we get the

cattle weight gains with the added bonus of good weight gains on winter trade lambs, in-lamb ewes and yearling jersey bulls with the grass that’s available.” Some of the bulls are sourced from an Ambreed Jersey herd in Taranaki where Hayley and the kids go for four weeks every year to rear. Her parents are dairy farmers there and have excellent facilities available to give them a good start before bringing them back to Lake Station

to be finished and either leased or sold as service bulls as both yearlings and 2 year olds. Andy admits there are risks in his re-grassing scheme, not least the weather. The area is renowned for dry summers and wet winters. But the plan will give better pasture, higher productivity and improved soil fertility. Barrett says when he first took over the farm the average P levels were 8-11. On the new pasture they are up to 30.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

management 27

Doing the sums key to crop plans P E T E R BU R K E

GETTING BEST value for money out of a fodder crop demands, critically, getting the mathematics right. Dereck Ferguson, of Agricom, has been working with Hawkes Bay farmer Andy Barrett on his re-grassing scheme, central to a recent Beef + Lamb New Zealand field day. Ferguson says Barrett is doing a good job and even without doing any mathematical calcu-

ously affect animal performance. If farmers are not into doing it by a math method, they can actually check that by looking visually behind the animals each day when they shift them and see what’s left behind the break, he says. “If there’s nothing left behind and it’s bare dirt, it’s not likely they’re going to be putting on weight. This is because they are having to look too hard for the next mouthful and they getting left too long on a break unable to eat anything, so

Friesian bulls on kale at Lake Station.

Dereck Ferguson

lations, it’s obvious his system is working well. But as a rule, one of the first things a farmer has to understand about a crop is its yield – potential and actual – and what that can feed. How many kgDM/ha is on hand? How many stock of what class can that carry and for how long? How much feed will each individual animal get: maintenance or more? “That’s an important number to understand.... For example you might give 10kg/head/day for a beef animal. Then start to work out how many square metres you need to allocate each animal and multiply that by the number in the mob so then you can work out your break size each day and measure that accurately.” Ferguson says getting yield estimation wrong and then failing to allocate the crop with the correct area per day can seri-

essentially they’ve got an empty gut.” Underfeeding animals can lead to health problems, Ferguson says. There’s good science to show that animals fed for, say, just two hours and remaining hungry for 22 hours are prone to problems in the rumen, e.g. acidosis. This is caused by a drop in the pH levels in the stomach. “In some crops you may need straw to provide a source of fibre to help the digestion process, and straw also helps buffer some issues such as rumen acidosis. The straw will slow down the digestion process and bind things up, then you are less likely to see a rise in the pH in the rumen.” Looking at Andy Barrett’s operation, Ferguson says it’s clear there is about 20% residual kale left behind, indicating he’s putting weight on the animals by feeding them well.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

28 Management

Woodlot and forest deadlines loom The Climate Change Response Act 2002 (CCRA) and the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) have significant implications for the rural sector. If you own forestry you might be affected by impending deadlines. Karen Price and Lisa Wilkinson of Environment law and strategy solicitors ChanceryGreen relay the detail. WHAT DOES the Emission Trading Scheme mean for landowners with forestry? Some landowners will automatically become NZ ETS ‘participants’ if they deforest land. With that

comes some stiff obligations unless you qualify and apply for an exemption. If your forest was established prior to 1990 then you are likely to have compliance obliga-

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tions under the Act. This includes reporting and paying carbon credits to the Government if forestry is removed in the future. In short, if the area is deforested and the land use changes, owners need to provide emission units (or ‘carbon credits’) to the Government to account for the carbon that was stored in the trees. Two important considerations for pre-1990 forestry owners are: whether they are eligible for and should apply for an exemption from the NZ ETS or apply for ‘free allocation’ to obtain carbon credits from the Government. Exemptions: Where an area of forest is less than 50ha in size, landowners may qualify to be exempted from

the requirement to surrender carbon credits to the Government if the land is deforested. Once land is exempted from the scheme, a notice of exemption is placed on the certificate of title. This enables the land to be deforested without a requirement to surrender carbon credits. Applying for an exemption may therefore increase the value of your forest land. The deadline for applying for an exemption is 30 September 2011. Free carbon credits Pre-1990 landowners are eligible for free carbon credits from the Government. This one-off allocation is designed to compensate for the financial impacts (and obligations) resulting from the NZ ETS. Carbon credits

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In short, if the area is deforested and the land use changes, owners need to provide emission units (or ‘carbon credits’) to the Government to account for the carbon that was stored in the trees. are issued based on the area of pre-1990 forest on the land (verified via geospatial maps). The number of carbon credits allocated will depend on when the forest land was acquired, and how it is owned. Any carbon credits obtained can be ‘banked’ to assist in meeting future ETS liabilities if land is deforested in the future, or could be sold for profit. The deadline for applying for a free allocation is 30 November 2011. It is important that you carefully consider whether you qualify for either of these options, and if so, make an applica-

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

management 29

Dealing with spring pasture deficits WALK THE farm, define any feed deficit, and plan how to fill it to avoid any mating or production impact, says DairyNZ. Recent cold snaps have caused a fodder shortfall on some farms, notably in Waikato and Bay of Plenty. “Many farms have covers lower than 1800kg DM/ha,” says Phillipa Hedley, DairyNZ farm system specialist. “If you take action now and address the issue, getting cows in calf quickly should not be affected by lack of feed.” Aim to maximise pasture growth by grazing at the 2.5 to 3.0 leaf stage. As temperature drives leaf emergence, cool conditions can mean a grazing interval of over 40 days for pastures to regrow to that level.

Tackling spring deficits

• Measure covers 2-3 times/week. • Use supplement to keep residuals above 1400kgDM/ha. • Screw-down dry cow grazing area; feed supplement instead. • Stand-off milkers if no supplement available. • Use nitrogen to get pasture going. • Don’t accelerate round too soon. • But cut supplement promptly “Using supplements now can be profitable. If the milking cows are grazing to lower than 1500 kg DM/ha common supplements (PKE, grass and maize silage) will be profitable to feed. If the milking cows are grazing to 1200 kg DM/ha nearly all

supplement will be profitable to feed. The hungrier the cow is the more response you get to the supplement, both in milk and pasture growth.” When faced with low pasture covers, Hedley says hold the rotation at 30 days or longer for

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from supplement, but don’t graze them behind milkers and do backfence as every day of growth counts. Supplement use must be tightly watched as pasture growth, and consequently grazing residuals, can increase quickly. “Often you need to stop [feeding supplement] a week before you think you do.” Hedley advises mon-

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as long as possible. In Waikato and Bay of Plenty ideally you should be able to get into the second week of September before going to your fastest round. However, grazing shouldn’t take pasture below 1400kg DM/ha because pasture regrowth suffers. “And you risk underfeeding cows which isn’t acceptable.” Supplement feed to prevent that, and if you can’t get the supplement, stand milkers off as it’s better to do this now than have cows underfed at mating. Nitrogen fertiliser should go on all paddocks grazed since calving to ensure the nutrient isn’t

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

Animal Health 31 Industry as well as farm benefits

Husbandry help proving a hit DairyNZ’s recently created animal husbandry team is proving a hit, as Mary Witsey learned when she talked to Anna Cleeve in Southland. SOUTHERN DAIRY farmers are reported to be pleased with stock management and animal welfare advice they’re getting through a new DairyNZ support service. Anna Cleeve is one of a team of four DairyNZ animal husbandry extension specialists put together late last year. She covers Otago and Southland, her colleagues Canterbury/Westland; South Waikato/Taranaki/Lower North Island; and Northland/North Waikato/Bay of Plenty. “Farmers are accepting of my role,” says Cleeve. “I’ve had guys invite me back on farm, call with

queries and email through data on improvements as a result of the positive changes we have made together.” DairyNZ established the roles to ensure everyone managing stock has the skills and knowledge for good stock management, says Cleeve. Partly her job is supporting farm decision making in challenging situations to help manage animals better, partly it’s leading discussion groups and field days for new farm staff as part of a ‘primary growth partnership’ project. The specialists also aim to be a sounding board for those thinking about ways

to improve on-farm practices, and raise awareness of the Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare released last year. “An increasing number of farmers and staff are aware of the minimum standards outlined in the dairy cattle code of welfare and we have had great turnouts of enthusiastic farmers for events on animal husbandry. “We know most farmers in New Zealand do a great job of looking after their stock.” But as the industry grows and more new people join, it’s important they are brought up to speed, she adds. “DairyNZ estimates 2000-3000 people new to the industry start each year on farms. That’s a lot of people who need to quickly learn new skills including handling stock, milking and mechanical repairs to bikes. It’s about ensuring everyone manag-

ing stock has the skills and the knowledge to make good stock management and husbandry decisions.” Encouraging those within the sector to pass on their knowledge is another focus. “As part of my role I hope to help experienced Southland farmers pass on their skills to their staff. Sometimes it takes someone from outside to speed up that learning process. “I’ll also be working with rural professionals such as local vets, farm consultants and stock agents, as they often get asked to pass on these skills too.” Cleeve, a vet with five years practical experience in the province prior to taking on this role, says the job has so far been hugely rewarding. “I enjoy working with cows and people, whether in workshops or standing in a paddock.”

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY and welfare development team leader Nita Harding says the team provides a more targeted service than DairyNZ’s network of regional extension officers. “We can be a bit more focussed on the animal side whereas the regular extension service covers all aspects of the business.” Recent Stock Sense workshops (Rural News, Aug 23) attracted people who don’t normally turn out to extension events, and she’s hopeful a planned programme of Milk Smart workshops, Oct-Dec, will be similarly successful. “We’ll be talking about cow flow and behaviour. They’ll be aimed more at managers and people in positions to influence change on farm and include tips on how to teach new and younger staff on farm.” Reduced lameness and improved cow condition is the immediate goal, but that will flow through to the bottom line, both for the farm and the industry. “Ultimately if cows are looked after they produce better and

we need to protect the reputation of our dairy industry.” John Bluett, who is covering the Canterbury/Westland area until a local appointment is announced later this month, says to date much of the work they’ve

space and the industry has to manage that [image] risk. The benefit is not just to the individual farm but to the whole industry.” While the team’s focus is on animal care, they look at the big picture too.

been doing has been with farms flagged by milk processors as having a problem, or via 0800 welfare complaints. But he hopes as the service becomes better known more farms will ask for help. “The whole process is about making guys a little more proactive in that [animal welfare]

“It’s part of the farm systems approach, to find what the key issue is. Sometimes it’s not about the cows and feed, but something else. Get that sorted and the animals benefit. “After a while farmers are opening up and accepting they’ve got a problem. If there wasn’t, we wouldn’t be on site.”

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

animal health 33

Animal welfare key issue says new NZVA president In June Gavin Sinclair became president of the New Zealand Veterinary Association. Andrew Swallow asked him what he sees as the main challenges for the profession, and for New Zealand’s livestock industries from an animal health point of view ANIMAL WELFARE is an issue New Zealand’s farmers and livestock processors ignore at their peril, says the recently elected president of the New Zealand Veterinary Association. “It’s very high on the priority list of consumers around the world,” Gorebased vet Gavin Sinclair told Rural News. “We need to be sure we’re not ignoring the standards and it still needs to be taken on board by some that animal welfare is a serious issue. “We do reasonably well and we have got very good legislation... but various issues seem to keep cropping up that show we’re not getting it right all of the time.” Biosecurity is another area Sinclair highlights. “As an association we’re encouraging our members to sign up to the National Biosecurity Capability Network which is managed by AssureQuality on behalf of MAF. It’s very important we ensure we have all the resources available and in place in case they’re needed.” Retaining an adequate veterinary resource in rural areas just for the day to day business of meeting farm needs remains a challenge, but the bonding scheme, now into its third year, is helping in that area. “It’s fully subscribed so we’re really happy with the progress on that.” The scheme sees

recently qualified vets get a chunk of their student loan paid off by Government after they’ve spent three years with an approved practice, and another tranche at five years, the end of their bonded period. Sinclair admits “the worry” is some may pull the pin and head for the larger towns and cities at the end of that five year term. “But we hope by then they’ll be fully integrated and engaged with the local community so they won’t want to.” The association is keen to see “big changes” in how rural vets interact with clients, both to ensure adequate cover in rural areas and to change farmers’ approach to how they work with their animal health professional. To that end, it’s involved with a Primary Growth Partnership programme, instigated by Dairy NZ, to develop common minimum standards of service and knowledge on issues such as mastitis, lameness, or reproduction. “We’re trying to get some consistency of approach.” Another aspect is to make the vet much more involved in the farm management, facilitating a proactive approach to animal health and welfare, “instead of being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff!” That vets’ role on farm

Southland stalwart Bar a couple of years working overseas immediately after graduation from Massey, Sinclair’s 30-year career has all been in Southland. Sheep, beef and deer are the main species he attends, with his “major interest” being deer. He’s based at Vetsouth’s Gore branch, and is a director and shareholder of the six-branch business, though he says his duties as NZVA president will take about half of every working week for the duration of his two year term. He took over from former president Richard Wild in June, who had, unusually, spent three years in the position.

is changing is also being addressed in a review of

the University curriculum for vets.

“Soft” skills such as effective communications will come into that, as will business skills so the vet is better able to understand and advise on how animal health issues and measures proposed impact on the whole system.

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

34 Animal Health

Organic cuts antibiotic resistance in poultry Ala n H a r m a n

RESEARCH IN the United States has found organic poultry farms have fewer antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The work, by Amy Sapkota of the University of

Maryland School of Public Health, shows poultry farms that have changed from conventional to organic practices, ceasing antibiotic use in the process, have significantly lower levels of drug-resistant enterococci bacte-

ria. It is the first study to demonstrate lower levels of drug-resistant bacteria on newly organic farms in the US. “We initially hypothesised that we would see some differences in onfarm levels of antibiotic-

resistant enterococci when poultry farms transitioned to organic practices,” Sapkota says. “But we were surprised to see that the differences were so significant across several different classes of antibiotics

even in the first flock produced after the transition to organic standards. It is very encouraging.” Sapkota and her team investigated the impact of removing antibiotics from poultry farms by studying 10 conventional and 10

US poultry houses that stopped using antibiotics soon had lower levels of drug-resistant and multi-drug resistant enterococci bacteria. Photo: Amy Sapkot.

newly organic large-scale poultry houses in the US mid-Atlantic region. They tested for the presence of enterococci bacteria in poultry litter, feed and water, and tested its resistance to 17 common antimicrobials. “We chose to study enterococci because these microorganisms are found in all poultry, including

bial classes) on the newly organic farms. Some 42% of Enterococcus faecalis from conventional farms were multi-drug resistant, compared to only 10% from newly organic farms, and 84% of Enterococcus faecium from conventional farms were multi-drug resistant compared to 17% of those from newly

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poultry on both organic and conventional farms. The enterococci are also notable opportunistic pathogens in human patients staying in hospitals.” While all farms tested positive for the presence of enterococci in poultry litter, feed, and water as expected, the newly organic farms were characterised by a significantly lower prevalence of antibiotic-resistant enterococci. For example, 67% of Enterococcus faecalis recovered from conventional poultry farms were resistant to erythromycin, while only 18% of Enterococcus faecalis from newly organic poultry farms were resistant to this antibiotic. Big changes also were observed in the levels of multi-drug resistant bacteria (organisms resistant to three or more antimicro-

organic farms. Multi-drug resistant bacteria are of particular public health concern because they can be resistant to all available antibiotics, and are therefore difficult to treat if contracted by an animal or human. “While we know that the dynamics of antibiotic resistance differ by bacterium and antibiotic, these findings show that, at least in the case of enterococci, we begin to reverse resistance on farms even among the first group of animals grown without antibiotics,” Sapkota says. “Now we need to look forward and see what happens over five years [and] 10 years.” She expects reductions in drug-resistant bacteria will be more dramatic over time as reservoirs of resistant bacteria in the farm environment diminish.


Rural News // September 6, 2011

animal health 35

Keep BVD vaccine recall in perspective a nd r ew swa llow

PFIZER’S RECALL of BVD vaccine PregSure needs to be kept in context, says New Zealand Veterinary Association dairy cattle chair, Bernice Mangnall. “BVD is a huge problem and costs $120m a year as a country. The fear is this gets blown out of proportion and people stop vaccinating and we lose control of BVD. That would be a huge negative,” she told Rural News. With calving well over halfway only a handful of cases of bleeding calf syndrome have come to light, she points out. There’s also an alternative vaccine available which hasn’t been associated with any problems, she points out. However, she urges any farmers who suspect they’ve had calves hit by the reaction, which appears to be a result of antibodies in colostrum from PregSure vaccinated cows, to contact their vet. Fonterra says it is honouring its colostrum contracts and collecting regardless of PregSure use, however the season is effectively over. “We are seeking the most up to date information from Pfizer, MAF, and

independent scientific advisors to establish the status of colostrum taken from cows given the PregSure vaccine,” a spokesperson told Rural News. “We are not releasing any of this season’s colostrum until we have completed all of our scientific investigations with regard to food safety.” Fonterra’s comments follow Green MP Sue Kedgely’s suggestion that similar reactions might be seen in humans. Pfizer suspended PregSure sales and recalled product August 24 following five confirmed and two suspected cases of Bovine Neonatal Pancytopenia (BNP), known as bleeding calf syndrome, from vaccinated herds. BNP causes internal and external bleeding in calves up to four weeks of age and was first identified in Europe in 2007 but remains relatively rare, says the firm. Pfizer voluntarily suspended sales of PregSure BVD in Europe in June 2010. Farmers with PregSure vaccine here should not administer it to cattle and should contact their veterinarian to return product and arrange for a refund. Pfizer says the exact

cause of BNP is not known but it is thought to be multifactorial and a causeand-effect relationship between PregSure BVD and BNP has not been established. PregSure BVD was

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

36 Animal Health

Metabolic disease prevention With lambing underway or imminent on sheep and beef properties across the country, Barbara Gillham relays a run down of the metabolic diseases to be on the lookout for DILIGENT MONITORING of ewes for metabolic diseases as lambing gets underway will pay, judging by the presentation of vet Danny Hajdu to a recent Beef and Lamb monitor farm meeting. While prevention is always better than cure, catching any casualties early maximises the chance of successful intervention, he says. The meeting, held at Tapawera, Nelson, attracted a good turnout of local farmers interested in learning more about these illnesses that are all too common either side of lambing, as the demands of foetal growth and lacta-

tion stretch ewes to their limits. Hajdu says metabolic diseases are basically disorders of nutrition: Pregnancy Toxaemia or sleepy sickness is a lack of energy; hypocalcaemia or milk fever is a shortage of calcium, and hypomagnesaemia or grass tetany is a lack of magnesium. Important trace elements implicated in various other disorders are Iodine, Selenium and Cobalt. Hajdu says in the case of Pregnancy Toxaemia, foetal lambs take priority over the ewe for the available supply of glucose. The lamb converts the

glucose to fructose which is unable to cross back through the placenta and so is unavailable for the ewe. If the ewe is unable to meet this demand for glucose from her diet she will draw on her body reserves of fat and protein. “This is a less efficient method of producing glucose and can result in the accumulation of intermediate metabolites (Ketone bodies) which are toxic in excess quantities, particularly Acetone, Acetoacetic acid and Beta Hydroxy Butyrate. The animal becomes dehydrated and kidney failure results in death.

“Under nutrition is seen in multiple bearing ewes in late pregnancy where feed is inadequate and in times of sudden stress which can result in well fed ewes completely fasting.”

Clinical signs include a ewe that appears depressed, lags behind the flock and stops eating, the ewe may wander aimlessly, appear blind and doesn’t react to normal stimuli. Staggering, head

pressing and leaning on supports are other signs. “Treatment is only effective in the early stages and if a ewe is down then generally it’s hopeless, but if she starts to eat it is more hopeful.

“Dehydration is a big issue so the ewe must have easy access to water. Treatments include glucose therapy, long acting insulin or more commonly oral glucose precursors such as Propylene

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

animal health 37

better than cure Glycol (Ketol) are used.” To help prevent the disease Hajdu suggests getting rid of surplus stock, preferentially feeding multiple bearing ewes, minimising stressful activities, treating concurrent disease if possible and providing shelter. Hypocalcaemia (Milk Fever) occurs more often in older ewes, mostly in late pregnancy but occasionally during lactation when there is insufficient calcium available from the diet and from skeletal absorption to meet foetal demands. The disease occurs as a result of precipitating fac-

tors similar to those that cause sleepy sickness such as a change of feed or feed type, sudden increases of green food or procedure or event causing short term starvation.

these tissues. Calcium is also needed for blood clotting and curd formation for milk digestion. “While initially hyperactive, the ewe may stagger, rapidly go down and

“If lush feed is the issue, then the flock should be introduced gradually, and good quality hay should be provided.” “Calcium not only makes bone but is required for muscle contraction, nerve conduction and clinical signs are related to dysfunction of

become comatose, they are often found with their head turned into the flank. Bloating may occur and rumen contents may be regurgitated, they may

have a prolapsed vagina and untreated they will go into a deep coma and die within 24-48 hours.” Hajdu’s advice is to treat with 30 – 100ml of 25 – 50% w/u Calcium Borogluconate either subcutaneously or intravenously. Lower concentrations reduce the risk of heart attack. The response is usually dramatic. “In 15 to 30 minutes they will get up, urinate, show muscle tremors and walk away to feed. If they don’t respond you may have to consider that they have developed pregnancy toxaemia.”

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Hypomagnesaemia (Grass Tetany) Animals may appear dull, not eating and if disturbed develop muscle tremors which progress to severe convulsions. They will collapse onto their side, head back, limb paddling and frothing at the mouth. Death usually occurs within 4 -6 hours, hence, as Hajdu points out, treatment must be immediate. “A subcutaneous injection 50 -70mls 20% of Magnesium Sulphate and treating with Calcium may also be helpful as occasionally Ca levels are low as well. An intravenous injection of lower concentrations of Mg may also be necessary. “Recovered ewes can be drenched daily with 10g Causmag and the rest of flock should be supplemented if practical. Also increasing the hay ration will increase salivation, increasing the rumen Na/K ratio. “If lush feed is the issue, then the flock should be introduced gradually, and good quality hay should be provided.” He recommends careful consideration of whether yarding and transport is really necessary during the risk period, and provision of shelter during storms.

Vet conduct code overhauled and new professional toolkit launched THE VETERINARY industry’s Code of Professional Conduct has had it’s first overhaul since 1994. Ron Gibson, chair of the Veterinary Council of NZ (VCNZ) says the code introduces strict new criteria around cosmetic procedures, such as tail docking of dogs, which, according to the code, must not be performed primarily for the convenience of the owner. The revision “reflects the considerable advances in the veterinary profession, and also the growing public interest and concern around animal welfare issues,” says Gibson. The code’s 24 hour care and emergency response

requirements place an obligation on all veterinarians in clinical practice to

David Carter – launched code.

have 24 hour emergency service arrangements to relieve unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress. The Code also recognises the potential for drug abuse and has provi-

sions to ensure veterinarians oversee and manage the use of controlled drugs to a higher standard than the obligations imposed by the law. A complementary joint initiative by MAF/NZVA is a veterinary toolkit to help veterinarians involved in resolving animal welfare issues on farms which are often very stressful situations for all concerned. “It was developed as part of the Government’s recent animal welfare initiative Safeguarding our Animals, Safeguarding our Reputation. The role of veterinarians in raising animal welfare issues with their clients and ensuring humane treatment of ani-

mals is to be encouraged as a positive, rather than intrusive, approach.” The initiatives were launched at a function at Parliament hosted by Agriculture Minister, Hon David Carter. New Zealand Veterinary Association president, Gavin Sinclair, says the two initiatives are particularly important for a profession that has been celebrating 250 years as a recognised discipline. “Both the new Code and the Toolkit are significant milestones for the profession.” Sinclair replaced Richard Wild as NZVA president in June. See profile p33.

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Hypomagnesaemia (Grass Tetany) is a lactation condition rather than a pregnancy condition. The body does not have a significant reservoir of Mg, which is found mainly in the skeleton (74%) and the muscle (24%), and there is no specific hormone which regulates Mg metabolism. It is released from bone in conjunction with Ca resorption. “The primary influence on animal deficiency is the absorption of Mg which occurs in the rumen. High levels of Potassium (K) affects the Mg pump reducing Mg absorption by over half, if salivary secretion decreases then the rumen K/Na ratio increases reducing Mg absorption. “Sheep are less sensitive to the affect of K than cattle but also have less net capacity for Mg absorption than cattle do. The use of Potasssium and Nitrogen fertilisers has created conditions which lead to animal Mg insufficiency.” As with most metabolic diseases, the clinical event is usually preceded by a stressful event such as yarding, transport or a storm.


Rural News // September 6, 2011

38 animal health

Effective drench benefit big bucks USING AN effective drench could boost output from a farm finishing 1000 lambs by over $30,000, an AgResearch/Pfizer Animal Health trial shows. The work pitched new generation drench Startect

(derquantel + abamectin) against a typical albendazole formulation on 10 farmlets of 30 lambs. All mobs started at an average 29kg/head in April and were drenched at four week intervals with faecal

egg count reduction tests taken after every dose. Despite only 40-50% efficacy from the albendazole against the three target parasites, there were minimal clinical signs of infestation, other

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than lighter weights and condition. By the trial’s end in August the five albendazole treated mobs were, on average, 20% lighter. Pfizer parasitologist Tom Watson says while resistance to albendazole is well known, the result is a warning of what might happen if resistance to abamectin, which many combinations rely on, becomes similarly widespread. “Abamectin is by far the most common, critical key active in any combination today, in 12 out of 15 in fact, and the main active in numerous single active drenches.” Incidence and level of resistance to abamectin alone hasn’t been quantified but resistance to the “mectin” actives, ivermectin and abamectin, is thought to be present on over 40% of farms, he says. “We need to act now to protect abamectin efficacy absolutely for as long as we can – as an industry we can’t afford to have it fail.” He says farmers should take a “10 years plus” view choosing abamectin-based formulations. Startect’s combination of abamectin with new active derquantel should ensure any worms starting to display resistance to mectins are taken out, and vice versa. “There is plenty of research, including work by Dr Dave Leathwick, to show the best time to start using a combination drench is before resistance develops. Startect plays a role here – you may not

want to use it as the sole drench in your arsenal, but it could be an option for one or two of your lamb drenches.”

Tom Watson

A possible drench programme could kick off with a tapeworm drench, followed by two Startects, and concluding with levamisole. If the farm is in a high

risk area for Haemonchus, longer acting Cydectin LA could be considered. “Using Startect earlier in the life stage of the lambs means you could also save on drench cost at those lower live weights,” he suggests. Another option could be to use Startect as an exit or quarantine drench strategically as a different active combination to that used through the rest of the season, preventing the next generation of resistant worms from breeding. Aside from long-term farm and industry resistance management, the trial shows Startect can deliver productivity and profit gains in the short-

term. Applying the 20% weight gain advantage across a commercial mob of 1000 lambs equates to around $26 a head gain over the ABZ drench, and an earlier finish means there’s the potential to graze other stock, generating a further $5000-$6000 of income. “Farmers owe it not only to the next generation to preserve the good actives we have, but to themselves to generate some serious extra income while prices are high. The extra investment will pay off now on the bottom line, and well into the future by avoiding resistance.”


Rural News // September 6, 2011

machinery & products 39

A liking for size, strength LONG-HELD CONNECTIONS with a local dealer and a liking for “big, strong” tractors sees Mt Cecil Station, Hunters Hills, South Canterbury, opting for Valtra tractors. The business has diverse income streams including deer, dairy and a trophy hunting operation. Andrew Fraser runs the operation on the 1750 ha family farm and a leased block of 370 ha. The land is gentlerolling to steep. The deer farm runs 1200 stags and 800 hinds. Mt Cecil also has two dairy farms with 1650 cows. The Valtras are there for two reasons, says manufacturer AGCO: one, they are “good, strong, reliable tractors”; two, the Fraser family has a long-term relationship with dealer Paul Wilkins from Paul Wilkins Tractors, Timaru. Says Andrew Fraser, “Dad dealt with Paul when they were both in Ashburton in the early 1970s, so it’s a family relationship. I like his enthusiasm for the machinery dealership and they give good service.” The first of the Valtras is a T190, bought second-hand two years ago. It does most of the primary cultivation. Fraser grows a lot of winter feed for the cows and deer, mainly

fodder beet and kale. Its biggest job is pulling a 6m cultivator. “There are no issues with power,” says Fraser, “It can do anything required.” The second Valtra is an N122 Versu, bought one year ago to replace an N111. It is equipped with a loader and does the feeding out and general loader work. It’s a fourcylinder model with a short wheelbase and manoeuvrable – ideal for loader work. The N122 was bought new and has the push-button gearbox with five powershift speeds in each of six ranges giving the option of 30 speeds in both directions. “There are more gears within each range, so it’s smooth to operate,” Fraser says. “Fuel efficiency is good and it does 50km/h on the roads. That’s an advantage as we travel between blocks.” One useful feature is the headland management system. It allows them to disengage and prepare for turning whatever implement they are using by a push of a button, then re-engage everything again in the right order when lined up for the next pass. Tel. 0272 708 027 peter.scott@agco.com.au.

Mt Cecil Station owner Andrew Fraser says with their power and manoeuvrability Valtra tractors are ideal for high country work.

‘Fuel they don’t use’ GRANT WILKINS, of Timaru Valtra dealership Paul Wilkins Tractors, says reliability and economy are two key selling points of the make. “They’re exceptionally reliable and fuel efficient,” he told Rural News. “A lot of people can’t believe the fuel they don’t use!” While every tractor dealer will tell you the new model is more fuel efficient than the last, Wilkins says the ques-

tion is, more efficient than what? European makes like Valtra always tended to be ahead of those made on the other side of the Atlantic because of the differential in fuel pricing, he explains. Even though US manufacturers are now focusing on engine economy, the Europeans had a head start and keep raising the bar. “A year ago at a demonstration event the Valtra came to page 43


Rural News // September 6, 2011

40 Machinery & Products

Narrow down vine rows ORGANIC WINEMAKER James Millton likes Berti mulchers. His regard for them is based on 15 years “flawless” operation of his first one on his 30ha Gisborne vineyard, says distributor Farmgard.

Now his Millton Vineyards and Winery, New Zealand’s first certified organic vineyard, has bought a second Italianbuilt Berti. “We only had to change the blades once and it was

easy to service – greasing nipples and access to the belts.” Millton uses the Berti machines in late spring and summer for mulching vineyard prunings and simultaneously doing

mechanical weeding. “As an organic operation we run everything as efficiently as possible. We don’t want to substitute petrochemical costs for the massive savings we make by not applying agricultural chemicals. So being able to do two or three operations in one pass is a big plus.” The latest purchase is an upgrade to a TFB/Y 1.4 m, 100 hp, low-body mulcher, the range’s most popular for orchard and vineyard work. It mulches branches to 80 mm thick. Standard gear includes mechanical sideshift ‘A’ hammer flails,194 mm rear roller and 540 rpm gearbox with free wheel.

Millton bought the new machine because of the changing layout of the vineyard rather than any wear problems with the first Berti. “The old machine is still running well, but to make more effective use of our land we have progressively changed from 3 m to 2 m wide lanes between the vine rows. So we needed a smaller mulcher.” Tel. 09 275 5555 or 03 437 9000 sales@farmgard.co.nz

Seed treatment batters pests MORE INSECT pests will be held at bay in establishing pasture by a new seed treatment from PGG Wrightson Seeds. Superstrike Grass has an “increased pest spectrum,” says seed treatment sales manager Tim Redfern, and it will promote increased early plant growth through strong tiller and root development. Superstrike Grass will work against Argentine stem weevil adults and larvae, and black beetle adults and grass grub larvae. The inclusion of fungicide in the treatment protects against the common soil borne diseases Pythium and Fusarium. The product is good news for farmers, Redfern says. “Superstrike Grass treatment will be a superior product agronomically, protecting seedlings against three of the most prevalent and costly pasture pests. “The addition of grass grub to the product claims is a big plus for farmers as is the increased protection it offers against Argentine stem weevil larvae. Protection will be on par with the Poncho and Gaucho seed treatments.” Superstrike Grass contains a systemic insecticide and a contact fungicide; these combat key pests and diseases through different modes of action. The systemic insecticide’s active is released from the seed soon after planting, forming a protective ‘halo’ around the seed. As seedlings germinate and grow, the active is taken up by the roots and is transported through the developing plant to the stem and foliage, protecting seedlings against soil and foliar insects. The insecticide protects for six weeks after sowing, the time when the plant is established and able to defend itself against pest attack. Also at this stage the novel endophytes in perennial ryegrasses become effective and take over plant protection. www.seedtreatment.co.nz


Rural News // September 6, 2011

machinery & products 41

Growing business in bales TWELVE MONTHS on, Bradfield Farm Ltd’s Kuhn VBP2160 BalePack is supporting a fast-growing business. The Waikato contracting and farming business, located between Te Awamutu and Otorohanga, has two dairy units – one of 420 cows – and a conversion planning for 800 cows in the coming season. Additional land is devoted to growing grass and maize for hay, baleage and pit silage. Owners Kevin and Kirsten White also

manage a contracting business spanning cultivation to harvest, running 10 trucks and offering spraying, fertiliser spreading, earthmoving and animal bedding. Whites bought the Kuhn BalePack in September 2010, choosing it for its dual baler/wrapper function, which means they need one less tractor and driver to do the job. Kevin says it came highly recommended. With its tandem axle it has a lower centre of gravity, making it a stable

baler for undulating country. “It’s a great machine and has given us little trouble. It wasn’t a big silage-making season for us this past year with the hot and dry spring we had. There wasn’t a lot of grass around but it went well doing the work we had.” While they did have a couple of small teething issues with the BalePack, Kevin’s Kuhn dealer, Giltrap Agrizone of Otorohanga worked hard to sort them out. Tom Fare and Ryan

Parkes are the baler drivers. “We’re baling mainly silage and it’s been good. It does a really tight bale and the wrapper system works well,” Ryan says. “The transfer is good. It can transfer facing downhill which is one of the big benefits, as not many machines can do that.” The tandem axle means the BalePack doesn’t bounce or bang on transfer. “We have mowed in the morning and baled in the afternoon and it coped well. The belt

Your reputation is only as good as your bales, says Waikato contractor Kevin White.

didn’t slip,” says Ryan. “The 3D wrapping system is awesome for keeping the bales’ shape. They hold better with the 3D system. And there are no chains to grease or oil.” Kevin White gets good

feedback from customers on the bales. “The bales feed out better and they’re a good weight with good consistency. They hold their shape well in the paddock. They don’t go all saggy and look ugly.

“I like the product that comes out at the bale end. That’s what baling is all about. Your reputation is all on how good your bales are.” Tel. 0800 585 007 www.kuhn.co.nz

Reading your DM EX-DAIRY FARMER Bruce Philip has launched a farm service monitoring – one-off or regularly – the quantity of dry matter (DM) in individual paddocks and in total. The service suits all grass based farming systems. “I’ve been a dairy farmer for many years and know the Bruce Philip time pressures they face at different times of the year,” Philip says. On-farm Philip drives over each paddock on an ATV towing a C-Dax pasture meter. A GPS system linked to the meter records paddock numbers and results. On second and subsequent readings of the paddocks he follows the same patterns to prevent variations in results. “Most farmers have their own scale maps of their property so recording data with their own paddock identification helps them to comprehend the information.” Data collected during each visit is downloaded then emailed or posted to the client. philip@slingshot.co.nz. Tel. 0274 788 399

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

42 machinery & products

Down, up all in a day’s work AB Equipment says its newly formed Manitou Agriculture has appointed ten dealers to sell and service Manitou farm telescopic handlers and all-terrain forklifts. “The agreements are effective immediately,’ says sales and marketing manager Rob Fuller. “And we expect to

announce other appointments.” The dealers are Piako Tractors, Paeroa, Morrinsville and Rotorua; Ag Traction, New Plymouth; Transag, Palmerston North; and JJ Ltd, Christchurch, Timaru, Mosgiel, Gore and Invercargill. Manitou rough terrain telehandlers are offered

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

machinery & products 43

High noon for competitors A PICTURE of Red Angus bull High Noon, of South Dakota, now features in the branding of TruTest Stafix electric fence energisers and accessories. The new presentation is the work of Dow Design, also known for its work on branding Columbine, Hellers, Anchor, DB Export, Fresh’n Fruity, Robert Harris, Kapiti cheese, Primo and Vogel’s bread. Tru-Test group marketing manager Teresa Steele-Rika says they

expect the rebranding to help grow the range to its full global potential. Stafix was bought by Tru-Test 1998 and its branding had since remained largely unchanged. “We wanted to make a significant leap in Stafix’s brand impact…. Brand preference is important when purchasing an energiser, but in most other product categories; there was little consumer differentiation between brands. Stafix lacked the strong personality and

brand promise needed to stand out, often resulting in a ‘commodity’ status.” The company’s research showed a bull is viewed by farmers universally as a symbol of power and strength, regardless of what animals they farm. Hence the High Noon picture. A new strap line, ‘Powering Your Land’, was

added next to the bull, to reinforce the brand promise, and brand values of strength, stability and performance guaranteed. Dow Design also worked with TruTest Group to develop packaging artwork that would suit being printed digitally inhouse, allowing Tru-Test Group to maximise efficiencies.

Liking for size from page 39

out 8 L/hour better than a particularly well-known US make with the same power.” A factor in Valtra’s efficiency is the long stroke length of the engines, giving high torque so maximum power is delivered at relatively low revs. For reliability, some of the make’s ‘smart’ systems help prevent minor mishaps turning into serious damage. “They have a thing called control stop so if it blows a hose, or overheats, it stops. It makes it hard for the young fella or inexperienced operator to bugger it.” Again, the pedigree of the make comes into play. “Finland’s very cold, and a lot of their farming is forestry Grant Wilkins based, so they build very tough tractors. When it’s -30oC and you’re 50km from the nearest village you don’t want to be breaking down.” All the major components, bar the front axle, are designed and made in Finland, he points out. Most machines are indent ordered to the customer’s specification. “So you only pay for what you’ve picked.” Current lead time is about four months. About 500,000 options are available but most are taken care of by choosing which series you want: Direct, Versu or Advance. “There’s also the Classic with a dry clutch but we don’t import them unless someone particularly wants us to.” An N pre-fix to the model number indicates manoeuvrable, short-wheel-base 4-cylinder machines with power ratings to 150 hp, while a T signals six cylinders and power ranging 135-225 hp. An S series with a horsepower range 230-370hp should be available here next year.

Colour conundrum EVER WONDERED why you see Valtras in so many different colours? It’s nothing to do with the model, or series: it’s simply customer choice. Valmet, which became Valtra when it merged with Volvo’s agricultural arm, broke the mould for colourcoding by manufacturers when it started offering options 20 years ago. Wilkins says while some farmers say “I’ll have to ask the wife” when it comes to the colour question, some contractors find it useful to differentiate their fleet. “They can use the colour choice to brand their fleet so it looks different from their competitors without compromising their choice of tractor.”

MS1262


Rural News // September 6, 2011

44 machinery & products

Bigger presence in pressure pumps AES WATERBLASTERS (Ag Equipment Specialists Ltd) has recently been appointed sole importer and distributor of Udor high pressure pumps for New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Udor chief executive Marco Zanasi says his company has for some time sought a partner to further expand its pres-

ence in New Zealand. AES, the largest NZ importer and distributor of high pressure pumps, was the obvious choice, especially given its excellent backup. AES director Alan Bisley says the new collaboration with Udor gives the company and its dealer network access to a leading European brand.

“Udor is a progressive company which has expanded its range of positive displacement pumps to include options from 4 L/min (typically for misting) to 240 L/min (typically for industrial multi nozzle washing), and from 60 bar (870 psi) to 1000 bar (14,500 psi). “Udor’s commitment to quality control at its

new state-of-the-art factory at Ruberia, northern Italy, is impressive. We have in fact had long association with Udor, importing its agricultural diaphragm pumps and gearboxes for almost 20 years. This new range is a logical progression for us.”

One of two 98L/ min. pumps, using Udar, built by AES for an avocado packhouse.

alan@aesblasters.co.nz Tel. 0508 78 78 78

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FOR A DEALER NEAR YOU PH 0508 688 688

TAKE THE guesswork out of feeding silage, hay, grain or palm kernel with a newly developed farm version of Loadrite’s ‘Weigh It’ hydraulic weighing system for tractors with front-loader attachments. It was launched this year at National Fieldays. Says managing director Steve Alloway, “If a farmer wants four tonnes of silage fed out, he can tell the farmhand to put four tonnes on the wagon. Whereas before, he would say ‘go to the pile and put 10 grab loads onto the feedout wagon’ and who knows how much that really was? It’s all about consistency.” Farm advisers are pushing a more scientific approach to farming and feeding out, Alloway says. “Once you know the product dry matter ratio to wet matter weight, a farmer can calculate how many kg of silage, baleage or hay are required for their stock numbers per day. Then it is just a matter of weighing that amount of feed into the wagon each day and feeding out with confidence.” New Zealand-made Loadrite is claimed global #1 in onboard weighing scales, and in the quarry, mining and fertiliser industries it has at least 90% of the New Zealand market, the company says. “Prior to fitting Loadrite on-board scales, quarry operations involved going over the weighbridge and they’d have 9.5 tonne on so they’d go back and get another half bucketful, [then they’d have] 10.7 tonne so they’d have to tip it all off and start again... wasting time, loosing effi-

ciency, ultimately costing money” With Weigh It “you lift up your load to the marker , press the ‘weigh’ button and press ‘add’ to add it to a cumulative total, press ‘clear’ to reset.” Weigh It scales sell from $3250 + GST. Tel. 0800 493 444. www.loadritescales.com

in brief Big Landcorp gear auction FARMING GEAR and vehicles owned by Landcorp will this month and next be auctioned by Turners Auctions. At least 200 items will be offered. The North Island sale will be on September 14, at 10am, at Aratiatia Station, 164 Aratiatia Rd, Taupo. The South Island sale will be on October 10 at Turners’ Christchurch branch. Goods will include motorcycles, ATVs, utes, tractors and machinery. Turners’ commercial and industrial branch manager, Jason Tredgett, says the two annual Landcorp auctions are hugely popular with commercial and lifestyle farmers. “This… gear has been regularly serviced and is in good, honest, used condition. Last year everything sold and we expect the same level of interest this year.” The full catalogue will be at www.turners. co.nz prior to the auction and viewing of the items for sale is welcomed on September 13 and before the auction begins on September 14. Online bids will be taken from those pre-registered on Turners Live.

Serious about Fencing!

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Contact your local rural supplies merchant or phone 0800 266 258


Rural News // September 6, 2011

motoring 45

Tackling Toyota

Landcruiser and Hilux proved themselves on farms and in the bush (remember the Barry Crump ads?) has translated into high local sales of Toyota’s entire range because Kiwis still identify strongly with the stoic, outdoorsy ideal. Volkswagen know this and hope to broaden their own Kiwi story with a tough off-roader. The Amarok is a good product for the German brand to strike out in, leaving the leafy suburbs to tackle the heartland. The double cab 4WD Amarok is extremely well put together and feels robust enough to pass muster in the rough. Is it Toyota-tough? Time will tell, but it is the result of a comprehensive design and testing process that started with a Toyota Hilux as the benchmark, so it should be. VW has improved the concept in a couple of obvious areas. First, design inside and out is true-to-form for the VW team, who have produced a handsome ute with a classy interior. Second, ride quality and handling are better than average for the ute market. The leaf sprung rear is made for load carrying so the unladen ride is still busy, but not to the extent most 4WD ute drivers would

in the rev range (15002000rpm), making it effortless on road and tractable off road. The 6-speed manual gearbox swaps cogs easier than average for a ute, although offering only a manual gearbox will cost VW sales until the automatic option arrives next year. Overall, the Amarok is extremely well-executed. The comfort and handling is remarkable given the carrying/towing capacity, and while Rural News’ off road excursion was relatively tame, many other motoring publications have put off-road tyres on this beast and tackled treacherous terrain. Most were well impressed. Two basically stock Amarok’s also survived the Dakar rally – an event that regularly kills cars and drivers. Prices range from $43,000 for the basic 2WD through to $61,500 Highline tested here. Add a few options like a hard cover for the tray, leather for the cab and bigger alloys and you can spend $70k if you’re really keen. At $56,000, the 4Motion TDi – one step down from the fancier Highline but just as capable off-road – seems the best bet for those who expect their ute to earn its keep. No need for big alloys and road tyres in Crump country.

Two stock VW Amaroks survived the legendary Dakar rally.

High density bales. Low running costs. High speed bale capacity. The McHale V660 makes baling simple. WHANGAREI WELLSFORD PUKEKOHE MORRINSVILLE TE AWAMUTU PUTARURU TAURANGA WHAKATANE ROTORUA AREA GISBORNE HASTINGS HAWERA

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HOW DID Toyota become so dominant in the New Zealand vehicle market? Partly by building good cars, but like many Kiwi brands, they have achieved almost iconic status in large part because they conquered the great outdoors. The credibility Toyota’s brand gained because the

be used to; the front end points accurately and overall the vehicle feels nicely balanced. Powerful enough? Despite being a 2.0 L competing against 2.5 and 3.0 L diesels, the Amarok’s 120kw twin-turbo TDI common-rail diesel produces 400Nm of torque, more than Toyota, Holden and Isuzu, and that torque is on tap from down low

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Rural News // September 6, 2011

46 rural trader MARSHN RING

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(in receivership) Expressions of interest sought for sale of business and assets.

FOR SALE OR HIRE Book in for the coming season to avoid disappointment. NZ Patent Appln No 580714, NZ Design Appln No. 412824. International Patent applications pending. MARSHN RING is a trademark of MarshN PWB Ltd.

Rakes are an important part of any contracting operation. Breakdowns are costly. I can offer you a solution with these ‘crash bars’ around your rakes to safeguard those precious arms. Available for Claas, Lely, Krone, Pottinger, Fella and Sitrex.

Contact Neville Marsh 0274 970 315 or 07 533 1887 Email n.jmarsh@farmside.co.nz

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The Company operates two piggeries in the Foxton and Levin areas. With 460 sows, the stock include a pure breed multiplier herd of Landrace and Large White sows. Parties genuinely interested in this opportunity should register their interest to us in writing, no later than, Friday, 30 September 2011, at: NK Limited (in receivership) C/- PricewaterhouseCoopers Private Bag 92 162, Auckland Attention: Rees Logan Following receipt of registrations of interest we will be in contact with all interested parties. For more information: Email: rees.g.logan@nz.pwc.com Phone: +64 9 355 8464 Fax: +64 9 355 8013

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Yardmate Soft Toe This is the boot that is designed for

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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.

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Culvert Pipes New Zealand’s CHEAPEST Culvert Pipes! FREE joiners supplied on request.

ONE STOP WATER SHOP 300mm x 6 metre ................................ $385 400mm x 6 metre ................................ $485 500mm x 6 metre ................................ $650 600mm x 6 metre ................................ $870 800mm x 6 metre .............................. $1320 1000mm x 6 metre ............................ $2050 1200mm x 6 metre ............................ $3275

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Joiners supplied FREE with culvert pipes


Rural News // September 6, 2011

Rural Trader 47 LOOK!

NO GST PRICE INCREASE!

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SEMI-CULTIVATE - LEVEL - ROLL SEED ROLL or SEED DOUBLE ROLL ONE PASS COMPLETES THE JOB • Cultivating Tines • Levelling Tines • Cambridge or Deep Vee 26” extra heavy roller rings & scrapers • Air Seeder • Covering Chain • Rubber Tyred Roller with unique semi-solid tyres to withstand downward compensating adjustable hydraulic pressure

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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

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