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Mary and Eddie Downey say New Zealand and Ireland should work together. PAGE 18

French fertiliser spreaders are even ‘to the last kilo’. PAGE 41


ANIMAL WELFARE NZ expert among speakers at international conference.



OCTOBER 4, 2011: ISSUE 501

Tatua tops payout table SU D ES H K I SSU N

SMALL WAIKATO processor Tatua Milk has again trumped Fonterra in the payout stakes. It last week announced $8.68/kgMS payout for the 2010-11 season, comfortably beating Fonterra’s $8.25/kgMS figure released late last month. For both co-ops the results are records, beating previous bests of $8.62/ kgMS and $7.90kg/MS, respectively, in the 2007-08 season. Tatua, Morrinsville, earned $200 million for year ending July 31, 2010. Its 112 shareholders will receive $8.10/ kgMS with the co-op retaining 58c/ kgMS. Fonterra is holding back 35c leaving shareholders with $7.90/kgMS. West Coast processor Westland Milk

also announced its payout last week: is a big company and we can’t take their $7.80/kgMS with a 10c/kgMS retention 10,000 suppliers. We are one 100th the size of Fonterra, which is to come off that. really the gold standard. One Tatua chairman Steve of their factories can process Allen says shareholders are all our milk in three to four “very happy” given most suphours.” pliers faced weather probAllen says beating Fonlems during the last three to terra is not important and four years. “The weather has Tatua is “quite low key” not been kind in our region so Steve Allen about it. the results will help suppliers Fonterra chairman Henry solidify their positions,” he van der Heyden complimented Tatua told Rural News. Allen says while Tatua doesn’t com- for “a very good result”. “We beat them last year and they pete with Fonterra in the payout stakes it must perform well to keep suppliers beat us this year so there is good competition. Well done Tatua.” on side. Tatua, which gets 50 million litres “If we don’t perform well, then our farmers have a choice... they can go to of milk annually from Fonterra under Fonterra. On the other hand, Fonterra the Dairy Industry Restructuring

Act (DIRA) processed 12m kgMS last season, an increase of 4.2% over the previous year. Allen says demand for product remained firm throughout 2010/11 and product mix returns were favourable versus milkpowder. Foreign exchange management remained a challenge

Feds pan Auditor General water report P E T E R BU R K E

FEDERATED FARMERS has panned as “disappointing” and “nothing new” a report by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) on regional councils’ performance on improving fresh water quality. OAG has defended its work but Feds president Bruce Wills says he’s unhappy the report doesn’t sufficiently recognise work already being done on water quality issues by farmers, councils and communities. “We were disappointed it didn’t look at point source issues and that it

focused on the diffuse issue of stock effluent finding its way into waterways,” he told Rural News. “But the biggest thing for me was that there was nothing new in the report that added to the debate over water quality issues.” Wills says most farmers are aware of the issues and are well down the track in dealing with them. He was “intrigued” that an area (water quality) needing a lot of expertise to sift the science and emotion on this subject was done by the OAG. “We just have a question mark against the experience and capability of that office conducting this report.”

Wills says he would have expected a report of this nature to be done by the TO PAGE 3


The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust lauds Gallagher Group chairman Bill Gallagher’s contribution to dairy. More on page 13.


Ask your local INGHAM’S representative about the Pastoral Support Programme and see how, by simply balancing what you already have with the current stage of the production cycle, can impact your bottom line.

and its hedging policies mitigated the impact of this to a large extent. Tatua’s gearing ratio (debt divided by debt-plusequity) was stable at 28%. Allen says the $7m retained from the payout will partially help fund a $25m expansion underway. • More from Westland p8

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NEWS 3 ISSUE 501 Meat plant closure expected – Feds


NEWS���������������������������� 1-17 WORLD���������������������� 18-19 AGRIBUSINESS��������� 20-21 MARKETS������������������ 22-23 HOUND, EDNA�����������������24 CONTACTS�����������������������24 OPINION��������������������� 24-27 MANAGEMENT���������29-32 ANIMAL HEALTH������33-37 MACHINERY AND PRODUCTS��������������� 38-43 RURAL LIFE�������������� 44-45 RURAL TRADER��������46-47

FARMERS ARE not surprised at news Alliance plans to close its Sockburn, Christchurch, plant next year. The plant is old and, given the overcapacity in the industry, everyone expected it, says Federated Farmers Meat and Fibre chairperson Jeanette Maxwell. “No one is particularly surprised. The land use has also changed around the plant so it’s quite logical,” she told Rural News. Farmers supplying Sockburn won’t be affected, she says. Trading arrangements between Alliance and farmers will change to another plant once the beef and venison plant closes. Alliance livestock agents were last week asking farmers for feedback on the proposed closure. Alliance chief executive Grant Cuff says farmers won’t end up paying higher transport costs. “Cattle is often transported reasonable distances and based

Southland struck by tough spring again SOME FARMS hammered last September by storms in Southland have again had a tough spring with a few reporting even worse losses this year. While the weather didn’t hit the national headlines this time, it was persistently and extremely wet until late last month, says Federated Farmers Southland Meat and Fibre chairman Andrew Morrison. “This year it has been insidiously wet and really challenging,” he told Rural News. “It’s been difficult and frustrating especially for people who went through it last year.” But by last week things were looking up. “The guys lambing early got hit but luckily not everyone was lambing. Most people are reasonably happy at the moment, but we did have snow [the last

Phone: 09-307 0399 Fax: 09-307 0122 POSTAL ADDRESS PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 Published by: Rural News Group Printed by: PMP Print CONTACTS Editorial: Advertising material: Rural News online: Subscriptions: ABC audited circulation 80,327 as at 30.6.2011

weekend of September] which made it hard for people in the hills.” Morrison couldn’t put firm figures on losses at this stage but he has spoken with one farmer who says he has fewer lambs this year than last. “That’s only one guy; many are disillusioned.” Local Beef + Lamb New Zealand director, Leon Black, echoes Morrison’s comments. “I can confirm we’ve had very wet ground conditions especially in midSeptember, and it’s been very hard and trying especially for those hit last year. It has been very difficult for many farmers.” Morrison is urging people to remain positive and suggests focussing on what were great prices last year and predictions they’ll still be reasonable for the year ahead. “We will have to wait until tailing time to really see what the situation is.”

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Cuff says there is no connection between the Christchurch earthquakes and the proposal to close Sockburn. “Many employees are now making decisions about their future and it is important they are informed of the company’s proposal as early as possible.” If the proposal is confirmed the company will offer its 250 employees transfers to jobs at other Alliance Group plants where that is practicable. Financial help would be provided. Employees not wishing to transfer, or where a suitable position is not available, will get redundancy compensation according to the appropriate agreement.

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Jeanette Maxwell

Employees will have several months to make up their minds. Consultation on the proposal will take four weeks.

Feds pan OAG report FROM PAGE 1


HEAD OFFICE Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622

on nearby works in Christchurch, transport costs would not change.” The company will increase capacity at other plants. Cuff says Sockburn has not operated profitably in recent years and the company has explored ways to address this. Closing the plant will reduce fixed costs, increase the company’s overall processing capacity and enhance profitability. Beef processing will transfer to the company’s Mataura, Southland and Pukeuri, North Otago plants where capacity is being expanded. This will increase the company’s total capacity. Venison processing will go to a new facility to be built at Smithfield, Timaru. Sockburn also processes pigs on behalf of Porkcorp New Zealand which is making alternative arrangements with Ashburton Meat Processors. Alliance is consulting staff and unions on closing Sockburn at the end of the 2012 processing season.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) not the OAG. “Farmers can rightly be excused for being confused as to where this report has come from and why the OAG was involved. Some parts of it read as though some issues raised are new whereas they’re not. “Farmers are well versed in the environmental responsibilities they need to front up to and we at Feds have a strong water policy group with a couple of people with PhD’s trying to untangle and solve environmental issues.” Wills says the report appears to come from left field and raises more questions than answers. The OAG says its review of the work of regional councils and in particular their performance on managing fresh water quality does fall within its role. Bruce Robertson, assistant auditor general – local government, says the role of the OAG is broad and that under section 16 of the OAG Act it has an important role to look at the efficiency and effectiveness of public

entities such as regional councils – their financial performance and whether they provide value for money to ratepayers. The OAG report took about a year to produce, in-house and with NIWA contracted to do some scientific work. Councils were consulted and Robertson says the councils have since acknowledged the value of the interface. “The report has [spotlighted] a bunch of areas... especially in the enforcement area… and in approach and policy,” Robertson says. “Yes it’s arguable it’s shown nothing new, but our report reinforces the view that all parts of the community, including farmers, are part of the solution.” He says the report tries to reflect a balance of the development of the economy with protection of the freshwater values New Zealanders hold. “That is clearly the key debate and benefit of this report in refreshing the issue. “The second big issue is whether the policy responses by regional councils are working.”



NZ dairy nutrition central? SU D ES H K I SSU N

FONTERRA’S NEW chief executive Theo Spierings says the co-op can make New Zealand the dairy nutrition capital of the world. Meeting news media for the first time last week the Dutch dairy industry

veteran noted Fonterra was blessed with “a grass to glass integrated model and a fantastic global customer base.” “If you put those strengths together there’s a fantastic challenge and opportunity and that’s why I call it the envy of the dairy world globally.”

However, the challenge is to build another layer of value in the business. “The vision is a natural source of dairy nutrition for everybody, everywhere, every day. That is a very ambitious and strong vision but I believe Fonterra can really make New Zealand the dairy nutri-

Finance & Administration Manager Central Transport Group, operating eight business units across three companies from its head office in Reporoa, delights its rural sector customers by being “top of its class” in bulk cartage, stock transport and fertiliser spreading.

And furthermore, it’s the only rural transport group in the country that owns its own GPS mapping and tracking company, using technology so advanced that it is also used by industry peers across New Zealand. Now as part of the on-going quality management of the group, a new, more senior position of Finance and Administration Manager has been created, incorporating a wider range of financial management responsibilities across the Group, as well as delivery of all administration functions. As an applicant for this role, you’ll have a strong foundation from your tertiary qualification in finance or business. On top of that, you will have earned your stripes delivering excellent work over five or more years in your career. But of most importance, your personal drive, your demonstrably provable track record, and your quick insights and intelligence will be the attributes that get you to the head of the queue for this position. If you’re up for this role, send us your CV, But more than just your CV, what we really want to read is a personally written letter that tells us in non-CV-speak why you and this responsible position are perfect for each other.

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tion capital of the world... based on its strength and based on the business it’s running at the moment.” Spierings, who led the merger of Dutch co-ops Friesland Foods and Campina, says Fonterra remains the envy of the dairy world. But he points out Fonterra is a small player in the global milk market and faces challenges. The global milk market is expected by 2020 to grow by 160 billion L. New Zealand’s milk supply is expected to grow 5% -- only 3% of the projected increase. Another challenge is meeting the growing needs of customers, consumers and the community. “Fonterra is so big and interwined with New Zealand’s economy. It is the biggest employer and exporter” in the same way as Nokia is to Finland and Nestle to Switzerland. “It brings a responsibility with it.” Spierings says the long-



2 OV





Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings.

term outlook for dairy product demand is bullish. Long term, demand is outpacing supply. But a double-dip recession could cause short-term pain. “If, short term, there a deep recession, the second in three to four years, that could have an impact like it did in 2009. You could see commodity prices coming down for a short while.” Europe’s debt crisis could have been avoided “with the right measures” though the many voices and viewpoints in the region have hampered the process, he says. “ But that’s a job for politicians, not Fonterra. “We’re not politicians; we have to manage what we can manage.”

Back to the drawing board on milk prices SINCE ARRIVING here 10 days ago Theo Spierings has visited a few supermarkets and found “a normal retail scene”. Retailers are running promotions on various dairy products. But Spierings says a public backlash on soaring milk prices is bothering Fonterra. He plans to “go back to the drawing board” on the issue. The price of fresh milk has become a political issue as seen in the inquiry by a parliamentary commerce select. But the co-op is not setting the retail price, Spierings says. “We only sell milk to the retailers. But the perception is the prices are too high and that is bothering us. Fonterra wants to make sure milk consumption per capita is growing, not declining.”

Economy strong despite US, EU difficulties PET E R BU R K E

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WESTPAC’S HEAD of agribusiness, David Jones, has joined the chorus of commentators talking up the future of the New Zealand economy despite the difficulties of Europe and the USA. Jones says Westpac is quietly optimistic about the future of the farming sector and says the fact New Zealand has shifted its exports from wealthy western countries to emerging economies mainly in Asia has cushioned impacts from further afield. “If you look at our ag sector, the operators are relatively smart. They’ve seen the opportunities and they’ve looked for new markets to evolve into. When you look at the urbanisation in Asia, with people becoming wealthier and looking for quality diets, as a country we can fulfill those needs.”

Jones says anyone who wrote off agriculture as a ‘sunset industry’ was pretty naïve given the growing world population that needs feeding. New Zealand is ideally placed to feed the world given the science and production systems that it has in place. But one aspect of the New Zealand agricultural sector not marketed particularly well is its science, whether it’s genetics, soils or pasture, Jones says. “If we could take that to the world market, it would be as good as being in it if not better. “I don’t necessarily think we need to sell our intellectual property (IP); we just need to get more value from our science. Our science in the agricultural industry is our answer to Silicon Valley.” But New Zealand ag science is very underrated and there appears to be a slowness in getting it overseas, Jones says.


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Second vote motion backed by meeting A SECOND shareholder vote on Fonterra’s TAF (trading among farmers) proposal has the backing of a vast majority of suppliers, judging by a show of hands late last month at a packed meeting at Ashburton. Only one shareholder among the 200 or so present opposed a motion calling for such a vote once Fonterra has thrashed out the detail of the proposal. A show of hands found 145 in favour. While most attending were local, some came from Southland, others the North Island. They represented 57.6mkg of milksolids production/ year, at least 4% of Fonterra’s total supply. The meeting was called by Methven farmer Eddie Glass and others in light of concerns that transfer of share titles to a custodian, as now proposed under TAF, would give investor institutions a foot in the door on the way to controlling Fonterra (Rural News, Aug 23). The way that could happen was explained to the meeting by cooperative law expert David Stock. While the share custodian would be a wholly owned subsidiary of Fonterra, with a manager appointed by the cooperative, outside investors buying units giving them the dividend benefits of the shares would, under Section 50 of the Trustee Act, be able to

demand a new custodian be appointed. “Where the title to the share rests is the key to this,” Stock told the meeting. “There are a lot of shareholder rights the unit trust can get... by asking the custodian to step into the constitutional issues to protect and look after their [dividend] rights for them. “You may have a situation where total control of this transfers to the institutions and when they do that, they can really start to flex their muscles.” Meetings with Fonterra have, to date, failed to provide an explanation of how this threat would be overcome, he said. “There is a raft of technical issues in this which may well be overcome. But they did not come up initially because the title did not transfer to the custodian [in TAF as originally proposed].” Stock speculated the board of Fonterra was worried the concerns being raised would upset negotiations with the Government because the board had probably been telling regulators “this is in the bag.” Many questions followed Stock’s presentation, such as did it matter if investor institutions gained control of a 20% shareholding. Stock replied it did, because such a block would usually carry the day on key votes because smaller shareholders often don’t bother to

vote, either by proxy or in person. Questions were also asked about the Shareholders Council’s role in the development of TAF. South Canterbury ward representative Desiree Reid told the meeting councillors were unable to discuss the detail of the proposal with shareholders because they were bound by a confidentiality agreement. However, she

was able to explain that the council’s final vote on whether TAF should proceed was to be assessed against four criteria: that a viable farmers’ market for share trading be set up; that the fund for investors would work; that the legislation to allow TAF was in place; and that stakeholders had been adequately consulted. Meeting chair Leonie Guiney, Fairlie, warned if

All those in favour...

those four pre-conditions were met, TAF would go through. “It’s a done deal, and none of those are about ownership and control.” Stock said he didn’t believe shareholders

No second vote requests yet - van der Heyden

had been given the full story and that investor influence had probably prompted the custodian proposal. He also said he believes the Government will be looking at legislation to allow TAF and the

milk pricing and DIRA reviews, “as a total package.” “This is all part of the trade-off with the Government for allowing Fonterra to continue in a dominant position.”




HALF WAY into last week’s series of Fonterra shareholder meetings farmers were asking about the role of the custodian in TAF, but none had called for a second vote, chairman Henry van der Heyden told Rural News. “There has been no talk so far on another vote. However, there are questions on the custodian so [we need to] find agreement on this issue,” van der Heyden said last Thursday morning prior to Fonterra’s shareholder meeting in Ashburton which came a week after the Glass/Guiney meeting (main story). There is widespread support for TAF: farmers and the board are on the same page on that, as they are on 100% ownership and control, the chairman says. Fonterra is taking farmer questions on board and will go back with answers. When the co-op first began designing TAF, the thinking was farmers would continue to own the shares and transfer the underlying financial rights to a fund. “But as we looked at it, it became clear the custodian was a better solution.” Fonterra stresses the custodian will be a 100% subsidiary, not an entity outside the corporation. In essence, the custodian represents a ‘locked box’ in which shares placed with the fund are kept, the director says. “It’s the best way of keeping track to ensure that for every Fund unit on issue, there is a contract over a Fonterra share.”


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DEER FARMERS’ incomes shouldn’t drop as a result of the collapse of a consortium set up as single entity to sell velvet, say a sector leader and one of the firms involved. Deer Farmers Association president Ed Noonan says the concept of the consortium was good and had been sought by farmers to get some discipline into the market. “But the practicality involved in New Zealand velvet marketing was an amalgamation of differ-

ent companies and cultures didn’t mix in reality. It is unfortunate they were unable to make it work,” he told Rural News. Noonan says there are still options for deer farmers with existing companies including PGW and ProVelco and it’s in the interests of all parties that the price at least holds or moves up during the season. He believes the remaining entities will sell responsibly. Though determining the price of velvet is complicated by the different grades, Noonan predicts

the average price for the season will be $87/kg, not including levies. PGG Wrightson’s national velvet manager Tony Cochrane says they’re going back to square one. PGW put a lot of effort into setting up the ‘single seller’ type con-

Venison season going well THE DEER Farmers Association says the outlook for venison short- to medium-term is good, despite economic difficulties in Europe and to a lesser degree in the US. Chief executive Mark O’Connor says New Zealand is now producing venison for the chilled season mainly in Europe – a critical time of the year for the industry.

“Demand for New Zealand venison in European markets remains firm and stocks are not in too bad shape in New Zealand and Europe. Consumer demand is also good despite the economic crisis.” Deer farmers are doing well given this is the fourth year of good prices for venison in export and the domestic market,

he adds. The venison schedule price is now over $9/kg, up nearly a dollar on last year. “Prices to producers are reasonable, but they need to be. One point in our favour is that prices have tracked up and have remained strong for a few years now which is good.” O’Connor says medium-term prospects are also good.

sortium to get some stability and discipline into the industry. The partnership didn’t work because of fundamental differences between the parties, Cochrane says. One was the system whereby the selling season for velvet extended almost year round with sellers being paid in instalments. “That didn’t fit well with everyone because there are a lot of spot sellers who want their money on the day and it became a case of money in the hand. Also for some deer farmers velvet is a by-product of venison so in many cases there was an attitude of ‘just get it sold’.” For the past two years PGW hasn’t sold velvet, selling what is procured under the consolidated model instead. Now the

firm is on its own – procurement, grading, exporting, selling. A direct-sales option via contract, private sale or tender is being rolled out, all with the aim of enhancing cash flow for farmers, Cochrane says. “We’ll be offering suppliers a weekly schedule of sale dates with sales in a managed but free-flowing way [as opposed to] the previous spread sales systems with instalments. This should improve supplier cash flow while making velvet more accessible to buyers.” PGW lost some market share as a result of the single-seller venture and Cochrane says they are now working to regain that. China is the emerging market and the amount of velvet sold there and price is increasing every year.



Minister mulls council inquiry call P E T E R BU R K E

THE MANAWATU River is again proving a lightning rod for regional council handling of environmental issues. Environment Minister Nick Smith is seeking advice from officials on whether or not to hold an inquiry into the way Horizons Regional Council (HRC) and the Palmerston North City Council (PNCC) have dealt with pollution issues in the river. This stems from an allegation the PNCC has breached parts of its consent to discharge effluent from its waste water treatment plant into the river without prosecution. National’s candidate for the Palmerston North electorate – Leone Hapeta – has written to Dr Smith suggesting an inquiry into the activities of both councils. She told Rural News she wanted the minister made aware of the issues. She asked Smith for an independent investigation of reports into alleged resource consent breaches by PNCC and the failure of HRC to prosecute. “Neither myself nor the Palmerston North public have sufficient expertise to judge definitely whether the councils’ actions have been appropriate. I believe that should be judged by inde-

pendent inquiry… [to] get the facts.” Hapeta’s main concern relates to the Manawatu River Leaders Accord involving farmers, councils, iwi and envi-

Nick Smith

ronmental groups, all in agreement that any breaches of the accord would be followed up. Rural News understands the Ministry for the Environment will make a

recommendation to the minister. HRC chairman Bruce Gordon says he’s disappointed Leone Hapeta acted before learning facts on non-compliance issues on discharge to the river. He claims Hapeta withdrew her call for an inquiry after speaking to Horizons’ chief executive. But Hapeta insists her call for an inquiry stands. Gordon has told Smith any inquiry now would be premature. He urges waiting until HRC has decided what action it will take against PNCC. Anything about the Manawatu River has become emotive, Gordon says, given false claims last year that it was one of the world’s dirtiest rivers. Though it appears some aspects of PNCC’s activities comply with

its consent, those on the effects of the discharge on the river do not comply. “The matter is going to the HRC strategy and policy committee on October 11 and that committee will decide what action to take. My guess is PNCC will get a notice of significant non-compliance and an abatement notice which will give them a period of time to fix the matter.” Gordon says he’s disappointed at claims the council is keen to prosecute farmers but reluctant to prosecute a local authority. In the past year only two farmers in the region have been prosecuted, and the council helps farmers comply, he says. Two rural advisers

are assigned to this role. Local farming leader Andrew Hoggard, Federted Farmers’ provincial president, says while in the past there’s been

a perception HRC has been quick to ‘ping’ farmers, in the last year things have changed. Farmers no longer appear to be prosecuted for minor technical

breaches of their consents and only the major breaches go to court, he says. “All we want is for all parties to be treated fairly and equitably.”


One Plan architect departs A HIGH profile Horizons employee, Greg Carlyon, in late September announced his resignation. Carlyon, who heads the council’s regulatory and policy group, was a chief architect and driver of HRC’s controversial ‘One Plan’. Carlyon was not on the Christmas card list of many farmers in the region because of his perceived tough stance against those alleged to have breached their resource consents. Rural News understands Carlyon will leave in weeks and has no job to go to now. Chief executive Michael McCartney emailed all councilors not to talk to news media about Carlyon’s resignation.

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Cereals 14-19 Maize 20-27 Pasture 28-39 Brushweeds 40-41 Adjuvants 42-44 Fertiliser 45-47 Land Production Planner 48-51

Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No. P8162

Land Production Planner 48-51

Index 52

Contact Information Back Cover

Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No. P3873



Westland weighs in with $7.80/kgMS SU D ES H K I SSU N & A N D R EW SWA L LOW

Forsyth Barr pitch a world-first BEEN WATCHING the rugby? Ever paused to think what grass the pitch might be, especially under the roof of Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr stadium? Well it’s grass, and it’s a worldfirst to have a natural grass playing surface in a totally enclosed ground, says the seed and agrichemical sup-

plier responsible for its establishment, PGG Wrightson. It was sown at 400kg/ha with a blend of three turf ryegrasses: one New Zealand bred winter active type called Colosseum, and two imported American summer active types called Fiesta Four and SR 4600.

It’s constantly over-seeded at varying rates with up to 2000kg/ year going on. Artificial grass fibres stitched into the sward aid stability. PGW says the mix was trialled for two years to check it would perform in the enclosed environment.



DESPITE TRAILING Fonterra and Tatua’s payouts, South Island West Coast dairy cooperative Westland Milk Products was last week upbeat over its $7.80/kgMS payout news. “A record year for milk collection and revenue, and our second-highest payout on record,” chief executive Rod Quin told Rural News. Comparisons with Fonterra’s $8.25/kg package need to be put in perspective, and allow for Westland’s $1.50 share price, he says. “If you make the comparison on a net cash payout you’ll realise the return on investment [in Westland] is highly competitive.” And though the cooperative’s performance is broken down for shareholders, it’s not “deconstructed in the same way as Fonterra’s.” Colostrum was a “star performer” adding 12c/kg to the payout, the yoghurt business EasiYo 3c/kg, and the sale of Westland’s Farmcentre retail store 2c/kg. In milk powder products, the best returns are in protein and nutritional product powders but fats are making a comeback. “We’ve changed our fat-to-protein payment ratio [from] the start of this season.” Co-op chairman Matt O’Regan says the

2010/11 result was strong given shareholders were operating in a challenging climatic and economic environment. “The 2011 year has been described by many shareholders as one of the toughest years yet experienced with a remarkably wet spring and a dry spell in the summer presenting difficult farming conditions year-round. It is therefore a credit to Westland Milk Products, including shareholders and staff, that we’ve been able to deliver a strong payout.” During the year Westland focused heavily on maximising value and efficiency, building on existing and new relationships with global customers and expanding milk processing capability, O’Regan says. “These efficiencies have delivered strong financial results for our shareholders.” The result is 21% up on last year’s total payout of $6.45/kgMS. Turnover, at $525m, was $100m up on 2009/10’s $422m. Quin says Westland finished the financial year with a strong balance sheet and “favourable equity position of 54%, enabling us to negotiate advantageous finance rates heading into the 2012 season. “Lean principles have been applied to all facets of the business, resulting in many successful cost saving initiatives that have improved the bottom line.” Operational efficiencies continue to be a high priority this season. • Infant and GUMP move: p21


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Animal welfare climbing the agenda worldwide P E T E R BU R K E

THE PUBLIC worldwide are increasingly interested in animal welfare issues, says animal welfare expert Prof David Mellor, of Massey University. He returned recently from UK where he presented a paper on production animal welfare at the first international conference on veterinary and animal ethics, organised by the Royal Veterinarian College and attended by 100 people from 20 countries. He told Rural News the conference put an ‘ethical’ stake in the ground regarding veterinary thinking and practice. “This is not to say veterinarians have been unethical. It’s more about the etiquette that operates in a profession rather than the fundamental ethics of what veterinarians are doing.” Animal welfare is a ‘top two’ topic of letters to politicians in New Zealand and UK, Mellor says. The public are very responsive to negative stories

about animal welfare in the media. Affluent consumers tend to look at how food is produced and how animals are managed and this influences their purchasing decisions. But for the less affluent it’s different, he says. “People having trouble every week paying the food bill and buying shoes for their kids... have to go for the cheapest food so they don’t make decisions on animal welfare criteria.”

In the UK big changes have occurred in egg buying. For example nine or ten years ago 95% of the eggs came from cage layers; now free range is much higher. “That’s got some interesting difficulties: free range isn’t a bowl of cherries; some birds are victimized and cannibalised and disease issues persist. But the public thinks free range is better, so they buy free range even though in some

animal welfare terms they may be misguided,” he says. But Mellor acknowledges aspects of free range farming are positive. One fact emerging in the UK is that well-to-do people look more closely at labels on food and unless they can be certain of its origin they may not buy it. • More from Mellor: p24

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Quayle quits as Fieldays general manager NATIONAL FIELDAYS Society and Mystery Creek Events Centre is on the hunt for a new general manager following the resignation last month of Barry Quayle (left). After 20 years with the organisations Quayle says he feels the time is right to step

down as they are “now well established with a healthy balance sheet as well as being home to some of New Zealand’s leading events.” National Fieldays is the largest exhibition of its kind in Australasia, attracting 115,000 visitors/year and $500m in

economic benefit to the country, says the society. Other events hosted at Mystery Creek Events Centre take the visitor tally to 220,000/year. “We’ve added significant value to the local economy,” Quayle says. “Mystery Creek

Events Centre is also the only events centre in New Zealand with no local or central government funding.” Quayle remains as director of Stream EAM, Fieldays’ wholly owned subsidiary specialising in event access management and ticketing.


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Time right for standard carcass trim scheme P E T E R BU R K E

A STANDARDISED carcass trim scheme could save farmers millions of dollars, says Beef + Lamb

New Zealand. The levy body is in talks with meat companies to try to get them to adopt Suretrim, a scheme designed to set a consis-

tent standard for trimming carcasses in all meat processing plants before weighing for payment. “We think in lambs the difference could be up to

“This is one problem you have with such a competitive interface between the farmer and the meat companies.” Mike Petersen

200g/head and with cattle 8kg,” BLNZ chairman Mike Petersen told Rural News. “If you look at 8kg on a cattle beast that amounts to a difference of about $30 dollars a head between one plant and another. On lambs it’s only 200 grams, but that’s still about $1.50 a head which can mean a lot of money lost to farmers.” Petersen says they hoped to have the scheme operating by October, but a realistic target might now be the end of the year. Inconsistent trimming now taking place could be costing farmers millions of dollars. Suretrim is designed to replace a compulsory system and standard of trimming run by the Meat Classification Authority in the days of the former Meat Producers Board. But various changes to the Meat Board Act have seen this disappear so BLNZ is trying to introduce a new

scheme. But it cannot be compulsory for meat companies and requires their voluntary compliance. Most farmers probably wouldn’t be able to pick up a 200g difference between processors’ yield returns, Petersen says. But inconsistent trim standards can severely distort returns to farmers. “For example a farmer getting paid $4/kg for a cattle beast may be getting less on a per-head basis than a farmer being $3.90/kg because of differences in trimming policies.” All the meat companies see merit in Suretrim, Petersen says. But if one company chose to sit outside the scheme and gain a commercial advantage by trimming harder, that would make it hard for the others to be in the scheme. “This is one problem you have with such a competitive interface between the farmer and the meat companies.”

NZ-EU farmer talks start to deliver BLNZ CHAIRMAN Mike Petersen says five years of developing a relationship with French and Irish sheep farming representatives is finally starting to pay off. All farmers want to see prices remain high and they are at last recognising New Zealand is helping not hindering their industry. “I’ve spent a lot of time up there talking them through the issues. The key message I’ve been giving is New Zealand can’t be a threat in Europe. “We supply different production windows with 70% of our product going there when the domestic product is not available.” Imported lamb is needed in Europe to sustain the market and demand, Petersen says. Without it, lamb would become a seasonal niche product. “No one wants to sell product cheaply in the market. We all want to sell at the best possible price. It seems our messages are now starting to get some traction in Europe especially with our main protagonists the Irish and the French.” • Irish perspective: p18-19.



RRMS spawns lambing % tool P E T E R BU R K E

COMPARING A farm’s performance against those of peers should be much easier for sheep and beef farmers with a new web tool launched by Beef + Lamb New Zealand. The need to lift performance on many farms was identified in the Red Meat Sector Strategy (RMSS), but the problem is most don’t know how they are performing in the sector, says BLNZ chair Mike Petersen. “So the first tool we’re coming up with is going to be a lambing percentage calculator,” he told Rural News. “That will allow farmers to compare their own performance against farms within their region, farms on their land class and also farms throughout New Zealand to see how they stack up. We hope to roll this out over the next few months.” The calculator will draw on high quality data held by BLNZ’s Economic Service. Petersen says it’s surprising a good benchmarking system hasn’t been developed before. “There’s a lot of talk about lambing percentages and in particular

‘pub lambing percentages’ which seem to be a lot higher than the industry is achieving. We think many farmers are looking for more information about how they are performing in key areas of their business,” he says. Despite their best efforts, BLNZ is struggling to get all farmers along to extension field days so as to lift their performance. Petersen says they can’t drag farmers along. He admits at least 40% of farmers have no desire to lift their performance. This he concedes is disappointing, but says attitudes in the beef and lamb sector are no different from others sectors. “Farmers have to want to improve the performance of their business so one of the key things we’re trying to look at is the sort of incentives farmers need to start them taking the tools and technology that will make their businesses perform better. We will focus on the top 60% of farmers, then hope they will drag along the rest of the industry.” Another issue concerning Petersen and others is the difficulty in implementing one of the themes from the RMSS – efficient

aligned procurement. The market is now very competitive: stock are in short supply and this and other matters are making it difficult to achieve the goal.

Farmers need better benchmarks than pub-talk percentages, says BLNZ chair Mike Petersen.

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Dairy awards return to Auckland THE DAIRY industry awards are coming to Auckland with a message for urban New Zealanders: ‘dairy farmers respect the environment.’ The 2012 awards were launched last week at Gordonton, Waikato, on the farm run by the 2011 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmers of the Year – Jason and Lisa

Suisted. The contest finals will be on March 12 next year at a dinner in Auckland. The finals were last held in Auckland 10 years ago. Awards executive committee chair Matthew Richards says it aims to change some urban perceptions of the country’s dairy farmers and the industry. Richards said at the launch that most dairy farmers respect the environment. “A majority of dairy farmers are a hardworking bunch but we get blamed for the bad work of a minority group. “We want Auckland and the rest of the country to witness the bright, talented and well presented individuals working hard on this country’s dairy farms to drive the industry forward as the global leader it is. “Many past winners have gone on to leadership roles in the industry and we expect many current winners will be the industry’s future leaders.” The awards have three categories: Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Farm Manager of the Year and Dairy Trainee of the Year. Jason Suisted says they initially entered the awards to “stand out from the pack” when applying for sharemilking positions. They have gained considerably more. “What we did not know at the time was how much we were going to learn about ourselves and our business. We’ve been able to fine tune some of our farm systems and the awards also allowed us to work side by side, highlighting the strengths we both bring to the business.” The awards challenged them and forced them to take a brutal and critical look at their business. “The benefits from this have paid off immensely.” Changes were made last year to awards, in particular enabling equity farmers to enter the sharemilker contest and restricting the age group in the dairy trainee contest. The changes were well received, Matthew Richards says. “One of our equity farmer entrants won one of the 12 regional competitions and restricting the age had the effect of increasing the standard and making the contest tighter within the dairy trainee competition.” About 200 of the 500 award entries received in each of the past two years have been for the dairy trainee contest. The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown and RD1, along with industry partner AgITO.

Wednesday 9 - Friday 11 November 2011 Canterbury Agricultural Park, Christchurch. Country comes to town for the legendary Canterbury A&P Show with three full days of entertainment and attractions, thousands of livestock, top Kiwi chefs, competitions from gourmet oils to wines, great live music, and all the unique sights, smells and sounds…it’s New Zealand’s largest A&P Show! Three days of livestock and equestrian judging  Lumberjack Show ‘Bushwacker Bonanza’  Clydesdale 100th Anniversary Displays  Winning couple from Wedding On Show hitched at the Show  600 trade exhibitors  Food & Wine NZ Pavilion  Cooking demonstrations by top kiwi chefs including MasterChef’s Jax Hamilton  Tui BaaBaa Bar featuring comedian Heath Franklin and his alter ego Chopper  Non stop woodchopping action  Shearing Championships and much more. 

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Lifetime award for Gallagher SU D ES H K I SSU N

WHEN JOE the horse in the early 1930s used the Gallagher family car as a scratching post, the horse could not have known what his annoying habit would lead to. To break the horse’s habit, Bill Gallagher senior set up an electrical device that gave the horse a hard lesson; this was the start of Gallagher Group, Hamilton. In 1937 Gallaghers made its first electric fence. Now this icon for Kiwi ingenuity is used on dairy farms around the world. And the man credited with this success – chairman Sir William Gallagher –has been formally recognised for it, last week gaining a lifetime achievement award from the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust.

New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards Trust chair Barbara Kuriger presenting the award to William Gallagher in Gordonton last week.

Gallagher Group employs 650 people in New Zealand and 400 overseas. Sales are now $US160 million, about 50% from farming, 25% from petrol pumps and 25% from security control. Accepting the award on a Gordonton dairy farm, Gallagher said it honours

the family. His father, Bill Gallagher senior, started as a dairy farmer in Horotiu. Gallagher proudly refers to New Zealand agriculture as granting the country with “western style living based on unsubsidised agriculture,” the only country to do so.

Agriculture is an important part of Gallagher Group’s business, which is now “a little more than fencing”. Traceability and animal identification are the new buzzwords. Though New Zealand is behind Australia and other countries in implementing traceability, this technology is the way to go, he says. “Traceability is important. The good news is New Zealand is embracing animal traceability. Those who do will get a premium for their products.” Trust chair Barbara Kuriger says Gallagher’s contribution to New Zealand farming systems has been huge. “Sir William is a natural leader whose communication skills and business influence is nationally and internationally

recognised. He has created a work environment that encourages personal empowerment and independent thinking. “A true entrepreneur, he has a sense of urgency and controlled risk taking, supported and managed by the positive team he works with.” Gallagher has a strong and active commitment to the environment he lives and works in: he is a major sponsor of the Rescue Helicopter, Waikato Stadium, Mounted Police, Gallagher Family Hospice, Gallagher Hockey Centre and the establishment of the Performing Arts centre at Waikato University. He is only the second recipient of the trust’s lifetime achievement award. Retired Massey University professor Colin Holmes in 2009 received the first award.

NZ farm support OECD lowest ALAN HARMAN

HIGH COMMODITY prices caused government support for agriculture in the 34 OECD countries to fall last year to a record low 18% of total farm receipts. New Zealand had the lowest level of support to farm receipts at 1% of farm income, followed by Australia (3%), and Chile (4%). The US (9%), Israel and Mexico (12%), and Canada (16%) were also below the OECD average. The OECD says support to producers stood at US$227 billion, confirming a longstanding trend toward falling farm support. Most government support is still given in ways that distort production and trade while doing relatively little to improve productivity and competitiveness, ensure sustainable resource use or help farmers cope with risk. OECD trade and agriculture director Ken Ash says the time is ripe for reforming farm support. “With tighter government budgets and farmers getting top prices for their crops, governments should begin to shift from payments that further support farm incomes and move to policies that have long-term benefits for the global food economy,” Ash says. The OECD says the European Union reduced its level of support to 22% of farm income, but remains above the OECD average. At the other end of the scale, support to farmers remains high in South Korea (47%), Iceland (48%), Japan (49%), Switzerland (56%) and Norway (60%). Farm support in emerging countries is generally well below OECD levels, but also varies over time and across countries.

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HBRC goes for one dam not two VIVIENNE HALDANE


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A TWO-DAM irrigation scheme in Hawkes Bay now looks like being based on just one reservoir. Months of preliminary investigations on water storage options for the Ruataniwha Plains lead to a proposal to dam both the Makaretu and Makaroro rivers. Now, expert advice from engineering consultants Tonkin & Taylor has prompted Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to rule out the Makaretu dam, near Waipawa – the smaller of the two proposed sites. Climate change predictions for the Eastern North Island and specifically Hawkes Bay are for a drying climate longterm. Consequently, pressure on water resources will increase and storage is seen as vital for the region’s future. Feasibility studies on the larger Makaroro River dam site west of Tikokino suggest the site, although complex, is technically feasible. Further geotechnical investigations are under way. Although the size and scale of the dam hasn’t been closely defined, Graeme Hansen, HBRC water initiatives group manager, says its capacity is likely to be 75m cubic metres over an area of 400ha and six farms.Estimated cost is $180 million. The intention is for the dam to be built at the bottom of the Ruahine Ranges, using the Makaroro and Waipawa

Rivers as a conduit. Water would flow to the upper end of the flood plain then be taken out of the river and reticulated through races or pipes. “The goal is to provide certainty and security to existing irrigation and consent holders and takers,” Hansen says. “At the moment we have sustainability and allocation issues to deal with in this area. Equally, we have huge greenfield (non-irrigated land) potential; we currently have 6000ha under irrigation and another possible 20,000ha or more we can service. We are looking to unlock that potential and to do that we have to have secure water. “We are keen to see a mosaic of land uses. Stor-

age water will be for landowners on the Ruataniwha Plains. We see a range of opportunities in dairying, cropping and mixed arable farming. We are not focusing on one land use.” Water security would mean the opportunity to increase cropping and would encourage processors to invest in future developments. “There’s already some innovative thinking going on by the bigger players,” says Hansen. “The knock-on effects in the regional and national economy are significant. It could be a transformation for Hawkes Bay in what we are doing and what we produce and to local processors and industry. “We are thinking care-

fully about benefits to Hawkes Bay in processing crops that also have a process industry here. And being owners of the port we are also keen to see initiatives that support the region. We are looking at the whole cross-section of potential benefits.” The regional council is working with leadership and stakeholders’ groups to ensure community involvement in the investigation and options. Landowners and group members have been told of this latest decision. The study includes refining geotechnical information, dam design, assessment and costings, assessing environmental costs and benefits, and looking at financial viability and economic benefits.

HBRC engineer Graeme Hansen overlooks the 400ha, $180m Makaroro dam site.

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BLNZ launches lucerne tips by txt service AN D R EW SWA L LOW

MANAGEMENT TIPS by text is the latest tool Beef and Lamb New Zealand is trialling to help raise farm productivity. Lucerne is the pilot topic but Central South Island extension manager Aaron Meikle says if that works, services geared to other areas of sheep and beef farm management could be offered. “This is a first,” he told Rural News. “We’ve used texting before for example around the time of the referendum to get feedback and raise awareness and we’ve played with reminders for field days, but this is the first time we’ve used it like this.” Effective extension means using a range of tools to get messages across as different mediums work for different people, and subjects. Email is great for some things, but it requires the recipient to be at their computer. A text will reach them any time,

If the lucerne service is a success, other text tip topics may follow, says BLNZ Central South Island extension manager Aaron Meikle.

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pretty much wherever they are. “Just about every farmer has a mobile phone these days and you don’t need much reception to get a text through.” Lucerne management is a hot topic and an ideal “stand alone” subject to trial the idea with, especially as Lincoln-based lucerne specialist Derrick Moot has agreed to provide the material. “Anyone, anywhere can subscribe, but we intend to make the messages quite region-specific. There’s no point someone in Central Otago being alerted to a pest that’s posing a problem in Marlborough,” says Meikle. There will be opportunities to request more information, and Lincoln University is building a website BLNZ says will be the one-stop-shop for dryland pasture and forage management. Past messages will be recorded online as an archive for growers to refer too. See!/BLNZ_Lucerne

Ballance bags big PGP package Solid Bale Forks Optional High Back

BETTER FARM nutrient and pest management is the aim of a $9.75m Primary Growth Partnership allocation announced late last month to Ballance Agri-Nutrients. The Government money will be matched by Ballance over the scheme’s seven years. Fully realised, the project is expected to benefit New Zealand pastoral farming by $340 million by 2025, says MAF. Ballance chief executive Larry Bilodeau says the scale of investment, on top of the co-op’s anticipated regular $12.5m R&D spend over the same period, is a measure of its confidence in the scheme. “Through more efficient use of agri-nutrients, farmers will be able to pro-

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duce more with less. This is a win-win for farmers, the environment and for New Zealand as a whole.” Up to 60% of New Zealand’s primary production depends on fertiliser but by reducing reliance on traditional fertilisers and targeting the nutrient losses that have environmental impacts, pastoral farming’s productive future can be safeguarded, he maintains. “By 2025 we envisage a pastoral sector operating with a lower chemical load thanks to new biological forms of pest control and we will see both yield and economic gains. Nutrient efficiency will be much higher and there will be a reduced impact on our waterways.” The PGP announce-

ment preceded Ballance’s annual meeting on September 21 at Napier, where a change in the board from eight farmer directors and two independents to a sixand-three structure was passed. PGP grants awarded now total $227m in nine schemes. Including industry contributions, the tally is $493 million, a figure illustrating the huge potential in New Zealand’s primary sector, says MAF director general Wayne McNee. “PGP is investing in visionary business plans [to] transform our primary sectors.” Information sharing, particularly on nutrient management, between this and other PGP schemes will enhance the benefits of each, he says.


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Wetlands provide $ms benefits SU E E D M O N DS

PUTTING AN economic benefit value on the restoration and preservation of wetlands produces startling figures, which few take into account. The ability of wetlands to control floods, store water, filter pollutants and trap sediments has only recently filtered through to the general consciousness, in New Zealand and many other countries. From being ‘bogs to be drained’ in the past, wetlands are now seen as providing ‘ecosystem services’ with multiple values to the human community. Calculations in 2003 gave an economic benefit value of $10m to the Whangamarino Wetland, a Waikato site nominated under the Ramsar Convention, and more recently an estimated value of up to $18m for the Pekapeka Swamp in Southland. Since 1995 there have been eleven serious floods around Whangamarino and flood control savings have been estimated at $5m in that time. A recent one day symposium, part of the 15th International Diffuse Pollution Conference in Rotorua, focused on wetland ecosystem services in agricultural landscapes. Shona Myers, an ecologist working for Wildland Consultants in Auckland,

looked at New Zealand’s history and experience of wetlands. For a country once replete with wetlands, we now have only 1% of the land mass (249,776ha) still with wetland areas. A huge 264,000ha of wetlands were drained in 1954-76 and the process continued into the 1980s. Most of what remain are smaller than 10ha, and only 6% of lowland land still contains swamp areas. What is left contains 20% of our endangered species. Myers points out that wetland preservation had been seen as a matter of national importance and priority since we signed up to the Ramsar Convention in 1976. Since then legislation and strategies such as the Resource Management Act, the Biodiversity Strategy, a National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management, and the Clean Streams Accord had come into effect. However, actual improvements from all of these were still patchy. Says Myers, “The problem is many councils have different requirements for permission and consent and most of the land involved is in private ownership. So first there is a need to persuade the landowner to take some suitable land out of production, and then find funding to fence and plant

the wetlands themselves and indigenous planting of buffer zones to allow them to work properly.” This variety of rules causes yet more land clearance, drainage and unsuitable subdivision and land use to continue. In the three years to 2010 the MfE and Doc Biodiversity Advice and Condition Fund gave out $1.1m for 56 wetland projects, and the QE11 National Trust continues to work with landowners on private land.

Wetlands were the focus of a recent one day symposiom in Rotorua.

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Farming leader sees parallels with NZ Rural News reporter Peter Burke visited Ireland recently and found farmer attitudes to New Zealand much more positive than 20 years ago, with many common issues emerging. He talked to Irish Farmers Association deputy president Eddie Downey.

Downey checks a crop of barley on his Co. Meath farm.

in Europe, and has since risen through the ranks. As chairman of the IFA’s farm business committee he persuaded the Irish government of the day to make taxation changes that benefited farmers. Today he’s the association’s deputy president and believes there’s great potential for New Zealand and Ireland to work together, not least to try to ensure international commodity prices are held at levels which benefit farmers. “We are both small players in the world in the quantity of the food we produce but we are major players in the export market because there is such a small quantity traded on the world market. “We have to find some way to control or manage that market so we’re not going to end up with peaks and troughs in prices. We need some system that will give back to farmers some form of decent

returns and remove the volatility from the marketplace.” The fact New Zealand is selling product into China, Ireland, the rest of Europe and the US shows the world has become a smaller place and Ireland and New Zealand face similar challenges in that environment. Like New Zealand farmers, Irish farmers are deeply concerned at the high prices consumers are paying for food not being reflected in the returns on farm, he says. Farmers’ share of the profit has been constantly shrinking due to pressure from supermarkets. It’s a worldwide problem, he notes. “We have supermarkets here such as Tesco. They’ve become huge operations with massive power: the power of a small country.” Downey says there are four pillars in the food industry: farmers; processors; distributors; and retailers.

“In my view the farmer, the processor and the distributor have been weakened by the power of the supermarkets. We need to balance this out otherwise this whole system could fall apart. If you keep pushing the pressures down on profit levels on farms to create output you’ll have people starting to chase output and standards could drop.” For him the biggest worry about supermarkets is their own brand ‘yellow packs’. “We’ve insulted food enough…. It’s time to stop insulting it with such brands.” The IFA has regular contact with New Zealand, notably with Beef + Lamb New Zealand, though Downey himself has never been here. He says with both countries aiming to obtain premium prices it’s important they align marketing strategies. The last thing they need is each other dumping product on world markets, as has hap-

e weed


er -



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IT WOULD be disastrous if New Zealand and Ireland, two countries with top grass growth, start to compete, says a leading Irish farmer. Eddie Downey and his wife Mary farm 48ha on the beautiful rolling countryside of County Meath, north of Dublin. Downey has been a farmer all his life. Aged 18 he and his brother took over the family farm when his father died. They ran sheep and beef cattle but have had to make changes as market forces and the European Union dictated. Some beef cattle remain, but the main income today is from hatching eggs for the broiler market. He has 25,000 hens and sells eggs to Denmark and the UK. He also grows barley, wheat and oats for animal feed. He became involved in the Irish Farmers Association after he got caught out by not understanding what was happening

s in




Irish farmers Mary and Eddie Downey.






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WORLD 19 FARM'S HISTORIC SETTING DOWNEY’S HOUSE was once the farm’s main barn. He restored it for a mere $40,000 and it blends in beautifully with the surrounding historic landscape. The nearest village is Slane and the farm is adjacent to Newgrange, a world heritage site with tombs of an ancient civilization dating back to 3200 BC; older than Stonehenge. On a hill overlooking Slane, and just a few kilometres from the farm, is the place where St Patrick began his mission to bring the Christian message to the Irish. The River Boyne, across which, in July 1690, the armies of King James (Catholic) and King William (Protestant) fought, is also just a stone’s throw away.

pened in the past. “In the lamb market we both need to focus on the high prices. The Irish sheep flock is expanding for the first time in 10 years and I think it will continue to expand, but it’s a measured expansion…. The only guys looking at increasing sheep numbers at the moment are those who’ve been in it for the long haul.” Downey says it would be “pure stupidity” if Ire-

land and New Zealand compete on price with lamb in markets such as the UK and Europe. As for dairy, in something of an understatement he says abolition of EU milk quota in 2015 will see an expansion “and some movement in the cattle market.” In this changing European environment farming leaders have to be much smarter than they were, he says. Anyone can carry

The barn that Eddie converted to a house.

placards and march in protest but farm leaders today must focus on the positive contribution agriculture makes to their respective economies and not highlight or moan about problems, he believes. Downey’s been in the deputy role with the IFA for two years and has two more to run before he’ll stand for president. Between now and then don’t be surprised if you hear he’s in New Zealand.


Pakistan inundated again tation coordinator. “These animals often represent a family’s entire life savings. It is vital to reach animals with emergency feed rations, fodder seed, vaccination and de-worming supplies.” At least 5 million surviving animals are at risk. Destruction of crops has wiped out farmers’ present and future sources of food and income, with spiralling humanitarian consequences unless immediate assistance is provided. “Delayed assistance will lead to heightened food insecurity, increased public health threats, loss of land tenure agreements due to farmers’ inability to pay their debts, population displacement and longer-term dependence on food aid,” says FAO’s representative in Pakistan, Kevin Gallagher. FAO’s response to last year’s floods reached 7 million people with vital farming inputs, livestock support and repair of irrigation systems.

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FARMERS IN southern Pakistan face worse flooding than last year, says the UN. Its Food and Agriculture Organisation is seeking $US18.9m of immediate aid in the rural Sindh and Balochistan provinces. FAO’s call for funds is part of the latest UN appeal for Pakistan, and aims to provide emergency livestock support and critical agriculture packages to 300,000 needy families. Heavy monsoon rains began mid-August and 73% of crops and 67% of food stocks are destroyed or damaged in affected districts of Sindh. Nearly 78,000 livestock have been lost. Millions are destitute and face an uncertain and food-insecure future as the region hadn’t recovered from last year’s flooding. “Around 80% of people in the affected area depend on agriculture — including livestock — for a living,” says Luigi Damiani, FAO senior emergency and rehabili-


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Got a great idea? A grant could bring it to life. Ravensdown is confident its diversification from the core fertiliser business will pay.

AGMARDT is now allocating grants for agribusiness innovation projects. Funding will be awarded for the development or commercialisation of an idea, or to get a project to a stage where it can attract further funding. Grants of up to $120,000 are available. Eligible groups include farmers/growers, farm consultants, vets and research groups, companies involved in agribusiness or technology providers. Grants of up to $20,000 are also available for pre-trial or demonstration purposes. In usual circumstances farm/industry support in cash, equating to at least 40% of the total project costs, is required to demonstrate commitment. Project inquiries for the next funding round must be submitted by 30 October 2011.

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Seed deal ‘last plank’ in Ravensdown farm inputs strategy ANDREW SWALLOW


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The traditional approach to transferring a farm to the next generation no longer applies. From the work we’ve been doing with farming families throughout New Zealand, we’ve identified some key insights in implementing a generational transfer plan and developing successful family enterprises. For those interested in understanding some of these keys to success, we have updated our Special Report for 2011. It is free and without obligation. For a free copy of our 2011 Special Report, email Cooney Lees Morgan: Mid-Sized Law Firm of the Year in the 2010 New Zealand Law Awards.

RAVENSDOWN HAS announced an agreement that will see its shareholders able to order Cropmark’s seeds through it. “It makes us more of a one-stop shop for our customers,” chief executive Rodney Green told Rural News ahead of the cooperative’s annual meeting last week. “And of course any profits on that business go back to our shareholders.” It is the cooperative’s first move into seed but far from its first diversification from its fertiliser roots. It has sold generic animal health and agrochemical products since the mid 2000s and earlier this year branched into pasture monitoring by buying C-Dax. “It gives an extremely important link between the nutrients we supply and are applied and the pasture grown,” says Green. Asked about reported reliability problems with some of the pasture monitors, Green says now the tool is in-house, Ravensdown will be able to “get in close conversations about them and sort them out.” One seen on a visit to a dairy farm in Golden Bay before the annual meeting had done about 7000km so far, he points out. “The cost is about 1c/kg of

Eco-n farm formulation ECO-N MARKETED in a soluble bag, to allow farmers to apply their own mix of the nitrification inhibitor, was unveiled at the annual meeting. “A lot of farmers have always said they want to apply it themselves,” notes Green. A soluble bag formulation of Express, a giberellic acid product “at least as good as the competition and offering a margin back to shareholders” was also launched at the annual meeting.

milksolids and the farmer relies on it for many of the farms.” Ravensdown’s meeting was held near Nelson this year and about 200 shareholders and staff attended, Green says. Media were excluded. Chairman Bill McLeod told Rural News the meeting “had a very good feel”. “Of course there were some questions on what we’ve been doing, for example should we be sticking to the core [fertiliser] business. But we explained we’ve been able to maintain prices comparable with our competitor which I think is a good gauge of success.” McLeod says the Cropmark agreement is “one of the last planks in our strategy to get into farm inputs that we laid out a few years back.” Ravensdown has not so far invested cash in Cropmark but that

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is “a strong possibility.” Green says a review of the year’s performance leading to the $71.6m profit was planned for the annual meeting and there was to be a “quite open presentation” about why its second year in Australia had again resulted in a loss, albeit reduced to $1.6m from $11.2m in 2009/10. “The situation in Western Australia was quite ugly, caused by a significant drought.” Meanwhile in Queensland floods hit sales. “Northern Queensland was profitable before rebate and this year both sides of Australia are looking very, very strong.” Back home, he doesn’t believe Ravensdown has missed out in light of Ballance’s $9.75m PGP award (see p16). “We have one applied for but it is actually with Ballance.” Ravensdown has already invested enormously in nutrient environmental effect management by way of econ-n, he adds. “Look at all the information coming out of Southland on waterways, and Canterbury and Waikato. I’d say we were five years ahead of that [with econ-n] and have made major investments in these areas already. We’ve got a mature product on the market when farmers really need it.”



Paediatric product move at Westland A N D R EW SWA L LOW

WESTLAND SUPPLIERS can look forward to their processor moving more of their milk up the value chain from next season. The Hokitika-based cooperative last week announced a multi-million dollar investment in a state-of-the-art paediatric nutritional product plant. “It’s principally about adding more value,” chief executive Rod Quin told Rural News. The work, which will involve modifying one of Westland’s four dryers, increases capacity but how much depends on the products to be made. Infant milk powders, which can be as little as 20-30% milk solids, are the slowest and require more batching, while growingup milk product (GUMP) is typically 60-70% milk so allows a higher throughput. “The reality is these products are reasonably slow compared to processing raw whole milk powder.... We produced 90,000t of finished product in the season just gone. This year with that plus milk growth we’ll be looking at close to 100,000t.” The modified dryer should be ready for next season’s production. This latest announcement is hot on the heels of additional drying capacity being commissioned at

Hokitika, and the cooperative’s expansion into Canterbury. Last month a reverse osmosis plant next door to its office at Rolleston came on stream. The plant will take roughly half the water out of what are its first season’s collections in Canterbury before they’re railed over the Southern Alps to Hokitika. Quin is coy about the volume of supply Westland has picked up in Canterbury but says it is already sufficient to justify the osmosis plant. A proposal to build processing capacity at Rolleston hasn’t been approved by the board yet. “We are delighted with the outcome of the Rolleston and Hokitika projects which were completed on time and budget and have positioned us well to take the next step in our growth phase.” The paediatric formula plant is that next step, giving the co-op capacity to market its new nutritional product capabilities at scale before considering a dedicated plant, Quin says. “If we’re successful at Hokitika it will give us the confidence to move forward with a dedicated plant.” Whether or not that will be at Rolleston remains to be seen. Rolleston is just 17km up SH1 from Synlait’s Dunsandel site. Synlait’s second dryer there, a spe-


cialist unit capable of making infant formula among other mixes, was commissioned last month. Quin says Westland’s investment will help trans-

form it from a medium sized commodity dairy company into a growth oriented, value added and higher margin dairy product manufacturer.

Bright future: Westland’s reverse osmosis plant at Rolleston was completed on time and budget, says chief executive Rod Quin.



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Market Snapshot

Lamb Market Trends

Meat North Island

South Island

Lamb Prices

Beef Prices Change

Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year


Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

P2 Steer - 300kg





M2 Bull - 300kg






P2 Cow - 230kg







M Cow - 200kg








Local Trade - 230kg





Change c/kg

Last Week

Change c/kg

Last Week





Lamb - PM 16.0kg





PM - 16.0kg





Steer - P2 300kg





PX - 19.0kg




PH - 22.0kg



MX1 - 21kg


YM - 13.5kg


Bull - M2 300kg





Venison - AP 60kg





c/kgCWT NI Lamb

YM - 13.5kg

Mutton SI Lamb






P2 Steer - 300kg









M2 Bull - 300kg





5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$4.5 $3.5 Jul











P2 Cow - 230kg








M Cow - 200kg





MX1 - 21kg





Local Trade - 230kg





NZ Slaughter

Estimated Weekly Kill


2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave









Cattle NI








Cattle SI






Lamb NZ






Cattle NZ






Mutton NZ






Bull NI






Bull SI






Str & Hfr NI






Str & Hfr SI







Cows NI







Cows SI






Last Year This Year

0 Jun









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20 0 Jun






Export Market Demand

This Year

Last Week

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Change 95CL US$/lb NZ$/kg



Demand Indicator - US 95CL Beef £1.50

South Island 300kg Steer Price


This Year

Last Year


$2.5 Jul

Last Year


Demand Indicator - UK Leg Price


NZ Weekly Beef Kill

80 60

Export Market Demand

UK Leg £/lb

5yr Ave Last Year This Year





5yr Ave


North Island 300kg Bull Price


Last Year


$3.5 Jul

3 Wks Ago


150 5yr Ave Last Year This Year


2Wks Ago





Lamb SI

NZ Weekly Lamb Kill



Estimated Weekly Kill

Lamb NI

South Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price



PX - 19.0kg




PM - 16.0kg

NZ Slaughter



PH - 22.0kg

North Island 16.0kg M Lamb Price $8.5 $7.5

Beef Market Trends







$2.00 $1.80


Procurement Indicator




5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$3.0 $2.5 Jul







2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

% Returned NI






% Returned SI













2Wks Ago

3 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

% Returned NI






% Returned SI






Last Year This Year






North Island 60kg Stag Price

This Year


Procurement Indicator

Procurement Indicator - North I.


Last Year




Procurement Indicator - North I.

90% 85%


80% 75%


5yr Ave Last Year This Year

Procurement Indicator - South I.

$6.0 Jul






South Island 60kg Stag Price


70% 60%

65% 55%

This Year Jul



Last Year

Procurement Indicator - South I.

This Year

45% Jul


Last Year







Venison Prices $7.5

5yr Ave Last Year This Year

$6.5 Jul








Last Week

2 Wks Ago

Last Year

5yr Ave

NI Stag - 60kg






SI Stag - 60kg






Last Year This Year

55% Jul




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.

‘It’s available when I need it, and that’s good for my business’. John Wood, Sheep and Beef Farmer, Northland

, ’.



Beef Wool Price Watch South Island cattle prices firm Export cattle prices in the North Island held steady last week. A 300kg cwt bull is averaging $4.27/kg with 300kg cwt steers earning $4.50/kg. Slaughter numbers continue to fluctuate week on week with the latest weekly slaughter statistics showing a 13% drop on just a fortnight ago. Tight supplies and an easing of the kiwi dollar should help to underpin North Island returns in the weeks ahead. Export cattle prices in the South Island firmed again last week. This takes the price of a 300kg cwt bull to $4.05/kg while 300kg cwt steer prices have firmed to an average of $4.35/kg. The volume of cattle for slaughter has picked back up according to the latest estimated slaughter statistics and this could be put down to the improved demand from processors but there are indications that some plants are set to close for maintenance in the coming weeks. US imported beef market not so flash US imported beef prices look set to remain under pressure which will likely have a negative influence on manufacturing beef prices back here. The heavy offload of cows for slaughter combined with record numbers of cattle being placed on feed in the US as a result of the drought will see beef production surge in early 2012. It is expected that the US domestic market will be well supplied with cattle into next April. The mass offload of beef cows in the US will continue to boost overall manufacturing beef supplies, limiting the need and price for imported beef. Any decline in production will not show up until next May at the earliest according to US industry analysts. From there demand for imported beef is likely to improve.


Dairy Price Watch

Indicators in NZ$



15-Sep Last Year

Indicators in NZ$/T

Coarse Xbred Indic.














Skim Milk Powder





Lamb Indicator





Whole Milk Powder





Mid Micron Indic.










Wool Indicator Trends









250 Sep





SMP But.



3,000 Oct



Coarse Xbred Indicator




WMP Ched.



Whole Milk Powder Price (NZ$) Last Year

650 550

Last Year This


This Year


450 350 250

3,500 Jul







Overseas Price Indicators Indicators in US$/kg






Overseas Price Indicators



15-Sep Last Year

Indicators in US$/T


Last 2 Wks

Prev. 2 Last Year Wks














Skim Milk Powder





Lamb Indicator





Whole Milk Powder





Mid Micron Indicator










Coarse Xbred Indicator Fine Xbred Indicator


Wool Indicator in US$

Venison prices lift by 20c/kg through September Demand to fill the lucrative spring chilled venison orders to our overseas markets has prompted strong upward movements in slaughter prices over the last month. The increase in prices offered has also lifted slaughter rates. Indicator prices for an AP 60kg stag in the South Island last week were averaging $9.20/kg. This price is $1.15/kg higher than this time last year. In the North Island prices firmed to an average of $8.85/kg last week, 80c/kg stronger than a year ago.


Dairy Prices Trends





Prev. 2 Last Year Wks

Fine Xbred Indicator

Dairy Prices in US$/Tonne

High supplies fail to dent prices 585 Export lamb prices in the North Island remained 485 unchanged at $7.82/kg nett last week despite a dramatic 385 surge in the number of lambs coming forward for 285 CXI FXI LI slaughter. The latest kill statistics shows a 19% (or 185 19,000 head) jump on the previous week as farmers Sep Nov Jan Mar May Jul finally decide to push the offload button. Some are heeding the warning from plants that they are going to be Coarse Xbred Indictor in US$ 750 tough on hoggets teeth this year with others worried Last Year about a further possible hike in the discount for heavy This Year 550 end lambs. Export lamb prices in the South Island also held last week with a 16kg cwt lamb netting $7.57/kg on 350 the hooks. Slaughter numbers remain well above normal for this time of the year but prices have yet to see any 150 Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec downwards pressure from the additional supplies. This is perhaps an indication that volumes could drop off soon. Set to push over the 19 million head mark With the 2010-11 slaughter season drawing to a close, the national lamb Currency Watch Last 2 Wks 4 Wks kill looks on track to scrape past 19 million head. The latest statistics vs. NZ Dollar Week Ago Ago show 18.8 million lambs have been slaughtered. Season to date slaughter US dollar 0.782 0.824 0.831 rates are still trailing last season by over 1.7 million lambs. But the tighter Euro 0.578 0.595 0.577 supply situation becomes a lot clearer when the current season’s kill is UK pound 0.508 0.522 0.510 compared to five-year average slaughter rates. Historically by this time of Aus dollar 0.799 0.798 0.793 the season New Zealand has normally slaughtered close to 24 million Japan yen 59.66 63.26 64.21 lambs.


Last 2 Wks




3,500 SMP But.

2,500 Oct


This Year

3,600 3,400 3,200 3,000 Jul

Last Year




0.546 0.465 0.766


Last Year This Year






UK Pound





US Dollar














Last Year





Last Year This Year



Whole Milk Powder Price in US$/T





WMP Ched.

Last Year This Year Jul


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Farming for fresh water THE PAST fortnight has seen water, and farming’s influence on it, back in the headlines. Rotorua hosted a week-long International Diffuse Pollution Conference and then the auditorgeneral, Lyn Provost, released a report on four regional councils’ management of freshwater. On the face of it, the news isn’t good. Many fingers are pointing at farming as the source of the problems, particularly through non pointsource or diffuse pollution of water by nitrates, phosphates, sediment and bacteria. But is it really news? In New Zealand farming’s been the fall guy for water quality problems for decades. And not without justification. The industry is facing up to this, identifying the practices we now know to be causing problems. Unfortunately, the benefits will take time to show up, and when they do, they’re unlikely to make front-page news in the mainstream media. NIWA principal scientist Bob Wilcock says the institute’s ten-year study of dairy farming’s effect on water quality – he relayed the findings at Rotorua – is the only robust study available. Funding for the work “will stop just as we are getting to see further benefits of best practice being adopted by farmers and new approaches to environmental management,” he told Rural News. Those approaches include the National Freshwater Policy Statement, and audited selfmanagement such as the Clean Streams Accord and Fonterra’s Every Farm, Every Year. At the same conference, other speakers explained how wetlands can work wonders, either restoring already-degraded water quality, or preventing deterioration in the first place. Wilcock’s NIWA colleague Chris Tanner showed that as little as 1-5% of a river or lake catchment in wetland can reduce nitrogen content of the waterway by 20-50%. Wetlands, or at least riparian plantings, are also great for trapping faecal matter, phosphate and sediment in surface run-off from farmland. Decades of development have destroyed most of these natural filtering and flood mitigating mediums. The farmer-bashing fraternity take this as another opportunity to have a dig, but in truth much of the development was Government driven. Today’s Government needs to take the initiative and reverse the process by incentivising landowners in targeted areas accordingly: buy them out, or compensate them for lost production and pay a fee to see the wetland reinstated and managed to deliver desired results. Regional councils threatening to regulate farmers in problem catchments to the point of insolvency need to be stopped and shown a better way.

RURAL NEWS HEAD OFFICE POSTAL ADDRESS: PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland 1140 PUBLISHER: Brian Hight...................................................... Ph 09 307 0399 GENERAL MANAGER: Adam Fricker.................................................... Ph 09 913 9632 EDITOR: Andrew Swallow............................................. Ph 03 688 2080 Ph 021 745 183

“So what sort of lambing percentage are you expecting from your electorate sheep?”

THE HOUND Jersey jerky anyone? MCDONALD’S AND Angus Pure’s burger marketing success – not to mention Merino NZ’s and SFF’s moves with Silere – got your old mate pondering what other meaty marketing tricks might we be missing: Romney ribs? Simmental steak? Or even Jersey jerky? Let’s face it, by the time those skinny old girls reach the slab they’d probably produce chewiest jerky ever. New Zealand Pure Jersey Jerky, the toughest taste sensation in town. How’s that for a sales’ pitch?

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

Far-flung annual meetings WHAT’S THIS trend to rotating annual meetings? We’ve had Ballance in Napier, Ravensdown in Nelson, and Fonterra is off to Whangerei. The argument is they’re more accessible to shareholders. True, but only once every ten years or so when the cooperative comes to you. Otherwise it’s twice as difficult to reach the meeting as it would be in a main centre. It’s a convenient ploy for boards who don’t want to face too much flak from farmer shareholders. Maybe a conference centre at Fox Glacier, or perhaps the Chathams, would prove popular.

Korda Mentha content to wait

Better put out the RWC begging buckets

NEWS THAT Crafar Farms receiver Korda Mentha is content to wait for the Overseas Investment Office to rule on Pengxin’s offer for the farms came as no surprise to this old dog. Every month that goes by means more management fees for the receiver, so what’s the rush? What would be really interesting is if Sir Michael Fay’s offer had beaten the Pengxin bid. What would KM’s response have been then?

WHAT WAS the New Zealand Rugby Union thinking about last week when it announced New Zealand might not be able to afford to go to the next Rugby World Cup? It prompts the question how many managerial leeches are the All Blacks having to support? Next NZRU will be putting begging buckets out at the quarter-finals. With countries like Rumania, Namibia and Georgia having made it halfway round the world to play here, the NZRU should button it, and learn to cut its cloth accordingly. It was not a good look.

Dirty old king Coles A MUCKER of your old mate’s recently returned from Queensland’s dairy farmers’ annual conference where a man from supermarket giant Coles was among speakers. Coles is in the gun across the ditch for marketing milk as a $A1/litre loss leader. It’s forcing cockies off the land. Tensions were high and after fielding some abuse, Coles’ man quickly exited stage right, straight into a waiting media scrum. Fair go to Coles’ man for fronting, but New Zealand’s dairy farmers, particularly those not supplying Fonterra, take note. Coles screws Aussie farmers because they can.

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ABC audited circulation 80,327 as at 30.6.2011

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.


OPINION/LETTERS 25 SCHOOL BUS SITUATION LUDICROUS THE SITUATION with school bus regulation and observance by motorists is ludicrous and dangerous. Anyone who has lived or driven in the US knows school buses there are painted bright orange. New Zealand buses are poorly identified with a variable and usually small sign. Supposedly there is now a provision buses may be painted yellow. Secondly, US buses have large lights back and front which flash orange as they slow down and red when they stop. All traffic – in both directions – must stop, except on a divided highway. In my experience this regulation is well obeyed. Again NZTA has

approved flashing lights that bus companies may put on their buses. Is there any solid evidence that the 20km/h speed limit in New Zealand is less likely to result in injury? We know anecdotally that this rule is poorly observed here. Data published by NZTA show that since 1980 seven persons have been killed and 55 seriously injured in school bus incidents. What is wrong with Kiwi drivers if they can’t spend a couple of extra seconds and actually stop when a school bus is loading or unloading passengers? Ashley Robinson Woodend, Canterbury


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

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

ag twits Rural News’ irreverent and hypothetical look at what’s happening in the farming world Top Bleats view all aferrierexfonterra: My work at Fonterra is done and the thing I’m most proud of is the record payout. That’s the $20-odd million in salary I earned during the past 8 years. #creamedit dnicolsonact2@drdonbrash: I thought I was joining ACT not the bloody Greens. I know you’re in favour of growing the economy... just not that growing economy! #dopeymove fonterrapr@henryfonterra: Mr Chair, only talk positives when discussing former chief executives’ tenure. No mention of San Lu, the 2006 capital-raising debacle, milk price inquiries, dirty dairying or PKE imports. #spiningit drdonbrash: Ahhhhhhh, I believe it is both fiscally prudent and electoral palatable for ACT to support legalising marijuana. Frankly, our polls numbers are so low we really need a high. #desperate henryfonterra@aferrierexfontera: Andrew, this just goes to show how Fonterra is truly a wealth-producing international company: we make international executives wealthy! #bigbikkies dcarterminofag: Popular agriculture minister hopes to be even more popular with farmers after Government’s recent ETS announcement to leave ag sector out. #goodmove rnormangreenmp: Whinging Aussie exunionist predictably whines about imminent destruction of earth and end of humankind following recent Government ETS announcement on ag sector. #yadayada profarobb: Long-forgotten New Zealand academic of some unknown overseas university relishes chance to rehash his decade-old claims about the demise of Fonterra’s co-op structure #sameoldstory mfaymultimillionaire: Former well-known flogger of New Zealand’s strategic assets keeps a straight face during failed attempt to secure Crafar farms by playing the nationalist card. #worthacrack

GREEN VOTER NOT ANTI-FARMING IN RESPONSE to Jacqui Dean, MP for Waitaki (‘Give dairying a break’, Rural News, Sept 20), I can’t speak for Labour or the Greens but I vote Green and I am certainly not anti-farming as you assert. Food and its clean and healthy production are dear to my heart and stomach. I can’t think of another person who wouldn’t feel the same

way. Your comments that the Greens are antifarming are old, tired and incorrect.  Time for a new campaign strategy perhaps? I live rurally, I vote Green with pride, and I support the many farmers who actively and thoughtfully work to improve the environment by sustainable farming practices, as

does the Green Party with its ‘Good Farm Stories’ ( nz) launched 2009 and praised by Federated Farmers chief executive Connor English. What I don’t support is industry of any sort knowingly polluting the environment that feeds us all, and as an MP neither should you. Leanne Steel Pukeatua, Waikato

SUPPORTING TAF CONCERNS AS A Fonterra supplying dairy farmer I write in support of farmers raising concerns regarding TAF (trading among farmers). I believe strongly that Fonterra is a co-operative with all suppliers equal and treated equally. I am concerned, however, that farmer trading of shares means not all farmers will be equal as existing farmers will potentially face a loss on share value due to no co-operative regulation. This will impose a barrier within the co-operative, in my view, and erode the good faith of co-operative members. I am also concerned the Prime Minister indicated the potential listing of the cooperative on the sharemarket. Any nonsupplier ownership of Fonterra shares threatens the principles of the co-operative, and this is a step in the wrong direction. Joy Burke, Waimate



Pigs, chooks vital to island economy EIGHT DAYS in Nuku’alofa during the buildup to the opening of the Rugby World Cup left our group of rural women in no doubt about the importance of rugby in the Kingdom of Tonga. There for a South Pacific area conference of the Associated Countrywomen of the World (ACWW), our last day coincided with the first day of the tournament. A holi-

day was declared for the people of Tonga. On the main island of Tongatapu, whether in town or country, decorated cars and vans roared round the streets all day. Early the following morning as we made our way to the airport, there were still remnants of revellers and fans wandering about. But the pigs, chickens and dogs, which confidently roam free especially


in the rural areas, were undisturbed as they ambled down the road in search of food from rubbish piles and vegeta-

ble patches. At low tide, even the pigs go fishing in Tonga, but these are not wild animals: they belong to families and everyone knows who owns what. The ACWW official Sunday church service, which also served as a farewell exhortation to the Ikale Tahi [Tongan] team, took two hours and was attended by hundreds, including members of the royal family. Even



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Our group were left in no doubt about the importance of rugby in the Kingdom of Tonga.

though most of the service was in Tongan, it was obvious when the minister was particularly anxious to drive home a point to the players – his arm waving , fist pumping and the stirring singing of ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ leaving no doubt as to what was expected. The women of Tonga also have significiant influence and play a pivotal role in Tongan society. At the conference, attended by 230 rural women from New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Timor L’est, Fiji, Kiribati, Niue, Tuvalu, Cook Islands and Western Samoa, speakers included the former Tongan Minister of Justice, the former Minister for Communications and Information and other high ranking officials from the Ministries of Education and Health – all Tongan women. A food and nutrition workshop was hosted by the Women’s Division of the Ministry of Agricul-

ture, Food, Forestry and Fisheries. Pacific Island delegates joined with scientists from the Australian CSIRO to discuss climate change and compare experiences of what was happening with the weather, sea levels and impacts on their agricultural projects at home. There was a lost opportunity here because there were no statistics made available as to what impacts climate change is having on individual islands, if any. The information from delegates was anecdotal and focussed on individual perceptions of flood and drought; why crops grew well one year but not the next. There was doubt about the reality of climate change. Unlike in New Zealand, where the debate has moved on to how we are going to pay for it, it seems many in the Pacific are still not sure there is any significant or unusual change at all. And, any funding


available would be better spent on growing agriculture and exporting. ACWW is a worldwide organisation which promotes rural women in business – whether that be by funding a small sewing project in Papua New Guinea, or larger health and education related endeavours, such as refurbishing a boarding school in Fiji. The plan for the project has to come from the women who present their case for financial or technical input themselves. Rural Women New Zealand members have recently given money for water tanks so that village families can store clean water and given seeding money for micro-lending facilities to get self-help projects started. Fencing out the roaming pigs and chickens makes a big difference to the food growing capability of a rural family in Tonga. Fencing in the pigs and chickens makes a meat business.



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CHINA’S AVERAGE annual per-person consumption of meat increased from 20kg to 50kg between 1985 and 2000. By 2030 it is estimated the figure will be 120kg per person (similar to that of Americans and New Zealanders) for the urban population, but rural people will still be eating only 40kg; the Chinese average will be 85kg per person per year. Milk consumption is currently no more than 10 litres per capita per year, in comparison with 84 litres for the average American and 90 litres for the average New Zealander. The Chinese consumption of butter and cheese is negligible whereas in the US 2.1kg of butter and 16kg of cheese are consumed per person per year, and New Zealanders consume 6.3kg butter and 7.1kg cheese each. If the Chinese westernisation of diet continues to dairy products in the same way that it has in meat, an awful lot of cows will be needed. China is already concerned about environmental pollution and impact of agricultural production systems on waterways. Its constitution stipulates that “the state protects and improves the living environment and eco-

logical environment, prevents pollution and other public hazard,” but it has a population increase of 13 million people a year. Urbanisation is increasing as well, increasing pressures on the peri-urban productive land that provides about 70% of current dairy and vegetable needs. Now at least 900 local rules and regulations apply to environmental protection and management of resources. However, enforcing the regulations is difficult. The government has acknowledged the rapid growth of the economy has been at the expense of even faster damage to resources and the environment; China’s environmental problem is actually a crisis, and immediate action is required. The government’s goal is to increase agricultural production sustainably and control pollution at source. This is possible with the increasing number of modern housed-animal facilities such as those being developed by Fonterra near Beijing. For these dairies greenhouse gas (GHG) emission per kg of milk solid are best practice and point sources of pollution can be captured. For the traditional small dairy herd, however, GHGs are three times greater than best practice, and the potential for contamination of waterways with effluent is high. The case is similar for piggeries; although there are some efficient production houses.

At least part of the problem is that farmers in China are regarded as ‘peasants’. They are mostly poorly educated and because children have been encouraged to seek education in cities, and not come back, the rural population is ageing. Corporate farming with housed animals is

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if sustainable methods of bringing in fodder and managing effluent can be developed. In the meantime, animal protein for human consumption can still be exported to China with a small GHG footprint – and the food is known to be ‘safe’. The New Zealand brand continues to be the

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Whole farm focus for nationwide tree days A THREE year programme of Sustainable Farming Fund-supported workshops on the role of trees on farms will start in November. Organised through New Zealand Farm Forestry Association branches, the workshops break new ground with their ‘whole farm’ approach and region-specific content, says the sssociation. Project manager Ian Nicholas says nearly every farm in New Zealand has land difficult to farm or marginal in some way. “In these situations trees can provide better returns than traditional farming, as well as creating an onfarm asset that, when mature, will provide farmers with a range of financial options.” But farmers need more information about the multiple benefits, short and long term, of tree planting, as well as the practical specifics of tree species selection, planting and management, he says. “Many have put the idea of planting trees in the too-hard basket, partly

because of lack of knowledge of the best tree species to plant, and where, and also because in recent years many farmers have been in survival mode and tree planting has not been on their radar. “More fundamentally they haven’t been able to see where trees fit in their particular farming operation and how they can contribute directly to the bottom line.” The ETS is creating renewed interest in tree planting amongst land owners throughout New Zealand, says Nicholas. “For farmers, planting woodlots is an excellent way to offset on-farm carbon emissions, but to gain the maximum benefit from these woodlots, and for optimum establishment, the right species need to be sited in the right areas – where the land will benefit most from trees, and where returns from stock are marginal. “Farmers need targeted information in a forum and style that best suits their business and decision making processes. They want to know

how to site trees most effectively within their particular farm landscape to augment farm income and address land management issues such as erosion-prone land, offset carbon emissions and to comply with local government requirements.” Each day-long workshop will include local case studies, Agfirst experience including use of Farmax modelling, panel discussions and field trips. Video clips of successful farm foresters from the local NZFFA branch will show local farm tree successes. Written information and hard copies of presentations will be provided, plus a CD of workshop presentations, interviews with local farm foresters, and electronic handbooks outlining best practice growing and management of the major farm forestry timber species: redwood, cypresses, eucalypts and blackwoods. Tane’s Trees Trust, Agfirst and regional and unitary councils are also supporting the planned 25 workshop/ hui programme.

Workshop themes Key themes to be addressed during the workshops include: • Trees in the farm business: integrated land use strategies generating diverse revenue streams – spreading risk and cash flow, and enabling short-term and inter-generational/succession planning. • Trees as a land management tool: fit-for-purpose planting – erosion control, riparian management/ water quality, weed control, managing trouble spots and protecting valuable soils. • Integrating trees with livestock: trees for shelter and fodder, animal welfare issues, impacts on animal health, productivity and profitability. • Trees and ETS: planting to offset on-farm emissions.

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Crop irrigation tool tuned-up ANDREW SWALLOW

FAR’s Rob Craige helps South Canterbury grower Colin Hurst get to grips with the Aquatrac package at a recent workshop.

AQUATRAC, THE crop irrigation scheduling tool developed by Plant & Food with FAR funding, has had an upgrade. About 35 growers attended workshops late last month to learn how to run the new model which predicts the water requirements for 10 different species.

“It’s got all the main crops, but we don’t have some of the niche ones,” FAR’s Rob Craige told Rural News. The main change from the original launched last year is it now downloads weather data from NIWA instead of users having to copy and rekey records. Weather data is also more accurate now, tuned to paddock location with NIWA’s virtual climate station calculation which looks at the nearest two or three weather stations and works out what was likely to have happened at the grower’s grid reference.

“Using a range of tools will give you a better idea of where the whole paddock is at.” Another upgrade is a screen shot facility showing the priority order to irrigate paddocks. Paddocks can be blocked according to irrigation system, so a centre pivot area can be managed separately from a block with rain guns, for example. Craige says feedback on the system last year was that it was good on crops with full canopy but needed some interpretation for later sown spring crops where ground cover wasn’t complete. “Now the grower can input an estimate of crop cover and it will adjust the evapotranspiration accordingly.” Even growers who’ve been irrigating for years, and have soil moisture sensors, could benefit from using the tool, he believes. “It’s a learning tool as well as an irrigation scheduling tool. You might use Aquaflex as one guideline [when to irrigate]; this is another. “Also, soil moisture sensors like Aquaflex only measure the moisture in the one or two paddocks where they are, and at the point in the paddock where they are. Using a range of tools will give you a better idea of where the whole paddock is at.”

invites all levy payers to their

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING 3pm Thursday 13 October Golden Gate Lodge, Cromwell An opportunity to hear about the new direction for the council and ask any questions you have about activities planned for your region in the coming year. Nominations are open for Farmer Council positions for Upper Waitaki/Mackenzie Country, Millers Flat/Roxburgh, Maniototo, and East Otago regions. Please contact Aaron Meikle Beef + Lamb New Zealand, 03 4331392, for a nomination form. Nominations close 11 October. Elections will be held at the AGM. Contact: Bill Wright, CSI Farmer Council Chairman, 03 6143751



Catches remain now gift duty gone OW E N CO O N EY

LEGISLATION PASSED recently by Parliament abolished gift duty effective October 1. This effectively means the old limit of $27,000/ year no longer applies and gifts of more than this can be made without there being any liability for gift duty taxes. (Note this relates only to gifts between ‘natural persons’ including family trusts and where the ‘natural love and affection’ requirement is satisfied.)

have on their ability to get a residential care subsidy. Section 346 Property Law Act 2007 makes it clear that a disposition by gift or without receiving “reasonably equivalent value in exchange” by someone who is insolvent can be set aside. Accordingly, before any gift or other such disposition is made, a review of that person’s solvency situation (both before and after the gift) needs to be taken into account. Section 344 Property Law Act 2007 provides

cumstances before undertaking any gifting, whether they fall into one of the above categories or not. • Owen Cooney is a partner

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that the court can set aside certain dispositions of property that “prejudice” creditors. This includes certain transfers of property to a trust. Property is defined as everything capable of being owned, whether it is real property or personal, tangible or intangible property and includes the proceeds of any property. Recent court decisions indicate the courts are willing to utilise these provisions to satisfy a creditor’s claim. If a spouse or partner has received an inheritance and loaned the inheritance money to a trust, it is likely to be in their interest to retain the advance by way of loan. Whilst the inheritance is a loan to the trust, it is possible for it to have retained its status as separate property. However if the loan is forgiven, then it may be difficult to argue that the amount continues to be separate property in the event of a relationship breakup. The above is merely a summary of some key issues arising from the proposed change to the gift duty legislation. It is important for anybody to get detailed advice in relation to their own cir-

The information in this article is general and cannot be relied on as specific advice. Contact your advisor before taking any action.

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If a spouse or partner has received an inheritance and loaned the inheritance money to a trust, it is likely to be in their interest to retain the advance by way of loan People might now assume it will be in their interests to simply go to their lawyer and forgive all indebtedness they have with any family trust formed by them. But this issue must be treated with caution. For instance: in respect of residential resthome subsidies, the previous policy of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) was to focus on the ‘gifting period’ of five years immediately before an application was made. However, MSD now intends to police situations which fall into the definition ‘deprivation’ of property or income. Included in the definition of deprivation is gifts of more than $30,000 in total during the five years immediately prior to a resthome subsidy application; or if (at any time) before the ‘gifting period’ gifting occurs above $27,000 in any one twelvemonth period. This is to be calculated on a per-application basis, so it is therefore effectively per couple. The definition of deprivation covers other situations as well as the above and, accordingly, anyone considering making a gift should seek advice on what effect this might

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Think yield not cost when drilling crops IF YOU ask a farmer harvesting a no-tillage crop how much the process costs he may not know or even care because he expects the crop return to more than cover the harvesting cost. But ask the same farmer when he’s drilling his crop how much that’s costing and he could probably tell you to the last cent. At harvest, he is thinking about returns, at drilling he is thinking about costs. The reasons are understandable. At drilling, returns are at least three months away and yield is expected to be more affected by weather and things other than the drill. But is this really the case? In conventional tillage it nearly always is but in no-tillage it is another matter. Everyone knows poor tillage affects final yield but with no-tillage everything a range of tools would have done is now done by just two: the sprayer and drill. No-tillage drill openers have a big influence on the microenvironment seeds and seedlings experience,

whereas in tillage, the cultivation tools rather than the drills have the most influence.


A seed’s microenvironment is largely determined by how the drill manages the surface residues. Since there are no surface residues in tillage, they play virtually no role at all. In no-tillage, the more crop residue left the better, as it improves soil structure and carbon content. This demands drill openers that can handle and manage lying residues. Many can’t. Seed microenvironment also influences how seeds derive water for germination. In dry conditions no-tillage gets the benefit of vapour-phase soil water as well as liquidphase water. Tilled soils rely almost entirely on liquid soil water as vapour

Every cultivation cuts soil moisture.

water escapes each time the soil is disturbed. No-tillage drill openers also influence aeration around seeds and seedling roots in wet soils, as do tillage tools in conventionally cultivated seedbeds. The openers are key to the consistency of seeding depth in no-tillage, which is more of a challenge than on cultivated ground which should be soft and smooth. Compaction by some no-tillage openers adversely affects seedling root development, and openers influence seed cover and fertiliser placement. Consequently the opener design is pivotal, whereas in tillage it is

much less so. All no-tillage practices, and minimum tillage to a lesser extent, reduce establishment costs to well below conventional tillage. The key question is: should a farmer aim for the cheapest no-tillage drill or a more sophisticated and therefore more expensive model that will improve crop yield? The US Department of Agriculture created a special calculator to answer that specific question. Based on two machines – one costing twice as much as the other to buy – and sowing 200ha of wheat/ year or 100ha of turnips, for the two machines to have the same net costs

of operation there would only have to be about a 2% difference in yield of wheat at $400/t or a 9% better output of turnips valued at 20c/kg DM. Not surprisingly, increasing the annual area drilled, as a contractor might, reduces the percentage differences required between the two machines. Practice shows some sophisticated no-tillage drills sometimes achieve 100% increases in crop yield, and 20-50% gains are common. When notillers think returns, not costs, they will almost always find it is a false economy to simply choose the cheapest drill.



Think yield not cost when drilling crops IF YOU ask a farmer harvesting a no-tillage crop how much the process costs he may not know or even care because he expects the crop return to more than cover the harvesting cost. But ask the same farmer when he’s drilling his crop how much that’s costing and he could probably tell you to the last cent.


At harvest, he is thinking about returns, at drilling he is thinking about costs. The reasons are understandable. At drilling, returns are at least three months away and yield is expected to be more affected by weather and things other than the drill. But is this really the case? In conventional tillage it nearly always is but in no-tillage it is another matter. Everyone knows poor tillage affects final yield but with no-tillage everything a range of tools would have done is now done by just two: the sprayer and drill. No-tillage drill openers have a big influence on the microenvironment seeds and seedlings experience, whereas in tillage, the cultivation tools rather than the drills have the most influence.

Every cultivation cuts soil moisture.

A seed’s microenvironment is largely determined by how the drill manages the surface residues. Since there are no surface residues in tillage, they play virtually no role at all. In no-tillage, the more crop residue left the better, as it improves soil structure and carbon content. This demands drill openers that can handle and manage lying residues. Many can’t. Seed microenvironment also influences how seeds derive water for germination. In dry conditions no-tillage gets the benefit of vapour-phase soil water as well as liquidphase water. Tilled soils rely almost entirely on

liquid soil water as vapour water escapes each time the soil is disturbed. No-tillage drill openers also influence aeration around seeds and seedling roots in wet soils, as do tillage tools in conventionally cultivated seedbeds. The openers are key to the consistency of seeding depth in no-tillage, which is more of a challenge than on cultivated ground which should be soft and smooth. Compaction by some no-tillage openers adversely affects seedling root development, and openers influence seed cover and fertiliser placement. Consequently the opener design is pivotal, whereas in tillage it is

much less so. All no-tillage practices, and minimum tillage to a lesser extent, reduce establishment costs to well below conventional tillage. The key question is: should a farmer aim for the cheapest no-tillage drill or a more sophisticated and therefore more expensive model that will improve crop yield? The US Department of Agriculture created a special calculator to answer that specific question. Based on two machines – one costing twice as much as the other to buy – and sowing 200ha of wheat/ year or 100ha of turnips, for the two machines to have the same net costs

of operation there would only have to be about a 2% difference in yield of wheat at $400/t or a 9% better output of turnips valued at 20c/kg DM. Not surprisingly, increasing the annual area drilled, as a contractor might, reduces the percentage differences required between the two machines. Practice shows some sophisticated no-tillage drills sometimes achieve 100% increases in crop yield, and 20-50% gains are common. When no-tillers think returns, not costs, they will almost always find it is a false economy to simply choose the cheapest drill.



Unnecessary copper costs dearly BA R BA RA G I L L HAM

TEST FOR copper deficiency to avoid causing toxicity with unnecessary supplementation. That’s the headline message in recently published research by Richard Laven, senior lecturer in production animal health at Massey and fellow Massey University scientist Peter Wilson. In a monitored study, year-old stags were

just an example species used at the time, but there is definite evidence to show over-supplementation of Cu has toxicity problems associated with it, whether it is with deer, sheep or cattle. “Probably the toxicity in cattle is a bigger concern but certainly from a deer point of view there is a big issue with people using copper unnecessarily and it is more toxic in deer than in

Treated animals also showed decreased liveweight gain compared with those untreated during the 17 day period. divided into two groups and injected simultaneously with either 0.8 or 1.6 mg of mg/kg Cu or no copper at all. Blood samples and liver biopsies collected 1-17 days later showed those injected with the higher dosage had elevated activities of gamma-glutamyl transferase and glutamate dehydrogenase which indicated injecting with copper induced a moderate degree of subclinical hepatopathy. Both groups of treated animals also showed decreased liveweight gain compared with those untreated during the 17 day period. Laven says deer were

dairy cattle. “It’s not that they are getting too much copper; it’s because the copper is being absorbed too quickly. It goes straight from the [injection] site to the liver.” In cows the same thing can happen but because they are less sensitive it’s only when a high copper feed is being used and an injection is given that problems tend to be seen. High copper in palm kernel can cause the liver to get overloaded with copper but “it’s more of a chronic problem than an acute one,” he notes. “With our deer study we took some animals that

change what I am doing? “If you have been spending a lot of money on supplements, the simple thing to do is get a liver biopsy done at the abattoir. That will tell you how much copper you’ve got and can tell you if you need to be doing what you’re doing.

Deer are particularly sensitive to copper overdosing says Massey vet Richard Laven.

were normal for copper so they had no evidence of any deficiency and it was part of a trial for testing a copper product. We gave it to them and the animals that got the double dose lost significant weight and showed evidence of renal damage which copper causes.

“The conclusion we got from that is if you are going to supplement deer with copper you need to work out how much you are supplementing already, check the deer and the nature of their status, and if their status is reasonable you don’t need to do it.”

Laven has no doubts many farmers are oversupplementing stock with copper which could be avoided by more accurately assessing feed content and the copper status of the animals. “Seek professional advice and ask: is this sufficient? Do I need to

“If you find you’ve got copper toxicity, that can be costing you thousands of dollars. “It’s a lot of money [which] you can easily recoup for a small amount spent on testing.” • Laven and Wilson’s paper is published in New Zealand Veterinary Journal, July.


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COPPER (Cu) deficiency is not as common as many think, says Laven. “A lot of people think copper is this ‘magic thing’ so they give their stock more, but it isn’t and we are seeing more cases of copper toxicity as a result. “A lot of people out there are supplementing copper because that is what they have always done and they want to prevent copper deficiency, but they can and should do testing because their animals are probably never going to get it.” Increased use of palm kernel which “contains quite a bit of copper” is a change in practice that should be taken into account. “Where it gets complicated is if you have high molybdenum,” says Laven. The molybdenum prevents copper absorption from feed. Some farms that have identified a copper deficiency will be wasting money on oral supplements as a result, he warns. There’s also an issue with advisers telling farmers certain mineral levels should be attained without evidence it’s really necessary. A study by former AgResearch scientist Neville Grace of stock on farms in Waikato found many had no need for supplement. Grace echoes Laven’s comments about copper, and also urges testing and monitoring, particularly in autumn.

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27/09/11 6:12 PM



More not always better: paradigm shift needed? P E T E R BU R K E

THE PRODUCTIONIST paradigm ‘more is better’ can have animal welfare downsides and in some circumstances will need a rethink, says a Massey

University expert. Prof David Mellor, a speaker at a recent international conference on veterinary and animal ethics in UK, says the production philosophy is now understood to have some

undesirable effects on animal behaviour, physiology, health and welfare, genetic diversity and the environment. With animal welfare science emerging as a discipline in its own right,

there is general interest in exploring how ethical considerations may inform decisions on what are and not acceptable farming practices, Mellor says. “Farmers will need to show they are aware of

It’s normal for some young to die, says Massey animal welfare expert David Mellor.

such multidimensional thinking on these matters if they wish to retain public support for their methods. “Images of debilitated, dying or dead newborn animals presented with increasing regularity by the media are particularly potent. “They heighten public concern about neonatal suffering on farms.” Mellor says calf induction, now in the public spotlight, has dwindled to low numbers, but the very nature of the practice concerns the public. In particular this applies to suffering a calf may experience after it has been induced. “The fact calves cannot suffer if they never successfully breathe air, and therefore remain unconscious, gives little assurance to those observers strongly affected by seeing those calves as they are dying,” he says. Such images have been an issue in the dairy industry phas-

ing out ‘non-therapeutic’ inductions. Mellor says giving birth ‘in the wild’ is recognized as hazardous and it’s normal for some young animals to die. Some level of neonatal death is unavoidable even when the best care is provided. But in intensively or semi-intensively managed livestock systems there is a greater opportunity, and possibly an obligation, to practise euthanasia. “For example it may be argued induced calves that are struggling to breathe and clearly will not survive should not be left to die of their own accord, especially if there is any likelihood they may become conscious,” Mellor says. The same criteria should also apply to any conscious lamb, calf or piglet whose survival is unlikely because of “serious functional impairment or debility.” The issue then is what method would be used to euthanase such animals.

Animal research count drops LAST YEAR saw the lowest number of animals used in research, testing and teaching since the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act 1999, says the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee (NAEAC). The total of 242,149 animals in 2010 was a decrease of 18.5% on 2009 and the rolling three year average – a truer reflection of animal use because of the way statistics are reported – was down 0.5% and 2.9% from 2008. The uses were for husbandry and veterinary research, basic biological research, and testing the safety and efficiency of animal health products. The animals most commonly used were rodents, farm animals and fish. “A drop in the number of animals experiencing high or very high impact manipulations – down just over 19% – is always gratifying,” says NAEAC chairperson Dr Virginia Williams. “As a committee we are committed to the ‘three r’s – the reduction, refinement and replacement of the use of animals in life sciences.” Any research, testing or teaching involving live animals in New Zealand must be carried out in accordance with the requirements of Part 6 of the Animal Welfare Act 1999 and must be approved by an Animal Ethics Committee (AEC). NAEAC’s annual report is at or by request from



Prevention key with mastitis A hefty dose of mastitis in an organic dairy herd can be very difficult to treat. So research and advice from Massey University trials presented at a recent Waikato organic farmer and supporter group was welcome. Sue Edmonds reports MASTITIS PREVENTION is better than cure, especially in an organic herd, says Alan Thatcher of Massey University. Thatcher, involved in a five year trial comparing two small farms – one organic, one conventional – says because teat skin has no oil glands, it is prone to drying out. That makes it susceptible to damage, providing homes for bacteria which can invade the milk duct where they breed and multiply. Streptococcus uberis and Staphyloccus aureus, two mastitis-causing bac-

teria, are normal residents in many cows’ gut and faeces. Consequently, keeping the race close to the shed clean will help reduce transfer of bacteria into the shed. Thatcher says ensure the camber on both sides is a slope of 1:12 to allow rain to wash it clean and drain it. Infection from pasture is less of a risk on all but the shortest rounds. “In pasture the bugs don’t live longer than two weeks, so with a longer rotation pastures are ‘clean’ by the next round.” Stress, be it from inadequate feed, bullying, or

DairyNZ view

weather such as persistent rain, can markedly reduce a cow’s immune response. Staph aureus is mostly found on cow skin, and can be passed from cow to cow. Bullying of heifers when introduced to an adult herd can be stressful and allow bugs to

be transferred. When it comes to coping with Strep uberis, teat spraying is very important. Even when cups are rinsed or dunked in disinfectant between cows, bacteria have been proven able to be carried across to the next

nine cows. Not all of these would develop mastitis, Thatcher says, but the threat is there, because any flaw or nick in the liners will retain bacteria. He recommends changing liners every 2500 milkings (every cow milked = one milking) or twice a year. Irregular pulsation leading to backjetting of milk can also cause bugs to be reintroduced to the udder. Inspecting teats, particularly on young cows, could show

up machine inefficiency. Constant vigilance is necessary, identifying and keeping infected cows separate, and milking them last. A long dried-off period can help reduce susceptibility. He recommends post-milking stripping of 50-60ml of any infected quarter, using a clean glove each time. Bugs can’t spread from quarter to quarter internally, so drying off one infected teat can help.


DAIRYNZ ORGANICS expert John Vosper, who has just transferred from Manawatu to South Waikato, says from experience he supports the ‘prevention rather than cure’ concept. “That last 100 metres of the race can be a hazard for introducing the bacteria into the dairy shed,” he says, echoing Thatcher’s point. “Checking teats, lowering stress levels when hunger, behaviour or weather are causing problems for cows, and keeping the milking plant in good order are all good basic ideas which must be followed, particularly by organic farmers who haven’t got antibiotics to fall back on when things go wrong.”


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Synchronised heifers least risk option with sexed semen PROSTAGLANDIN SYNCHRONY is the least-risk option when using sexed semen with heifers, says supplier Liberty Genetics. The Hamilton firm says it is seeking to identify

the most cost effective options for using sex-separated sperm in dairy herds. With Animal Breeding Services it did 4500 trial inseminations in spring 2009 and more in winter

and spring 2010. The 2009 results showed an average 11% depression of conception rate, with a 4-20% range, compared to conventional semen. That result was across

a variety of synchronised and natural mating scenarios from which the project team was able to determine techniques and advice “that should produce satisfactory results at

a sustainable price,” says the firm. “The least risk option is a prostaglandin based synchrony program in the yearling heifers at the start of mating.”

All heifers? They could be if and when sexed semen is available.

A limited commercial release of the technology has been approved by the board. However an LIC injunction has prevented sales. A court decision is expected later this month. Farmers who successfully use heifer synchrony and sexed semen can double genetic gain, says Liberty Genetics. It also means the bottom half of any such herd can be available for higher value beef cross matings, with shorter gestation and much easier calving. The cash flow from the first crop of beef-cross calves will more than cover the heifer AI cost. Extra days in milk and fertility are also likely. Herds in expansion mode can increase replacement availability about 40%. Sexed semen has been marketed in the Northern Hemisphere for ten years and production peaked at

4 million straws per year. However, conception rates are known to be depressed 8-12%. The sexed semen also requires extra care and attention in handling. Liberty Genetics and Animal Breeding Services (2007) received government and industry funding to research and optimise implementation of sexed semen in the New Zealand market. Government funding and an equity deal with ABS provided a sufficient base to encourage Sexing Technologies to set up a lab in Hamilton. Liberty Genetics and ABS say that with support from AgResearch they lead the world in the application of sexed semen as a fresh product. Embryo production with sexed semen to produce preferred-sex calves is another value opportunity, the firm says.

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New welfare policy for trucking stock A NEW code of welfare issued this month lays down recommended best practices for transporting animals. The Animal Welfare (Transport within New Zealand) Code of Welfare 2011 was developed by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC). It encourages all those responsible for animals during transport to adopt the highest standards of husbandry, care and handling. The code came into force on September 16. NAWAC deputy chair Hilton Collier says transport can be a time of great stress for animals. It is important it is done well. “The purpose of this new code of welfare is

to encourage everyone involved to minimise the stress placed on animals by adopting the highest standards before and during transport. “The code covers all animals and all forms of transport within New Zealand – air, land and sea. Minimum standards cover stockmanship, planning, equipment design and maintenance, preparing and selecting animals for transport, loading and unloading, and the provision of food, water and rest.” Collier adds that specific requirements for transport in emergencies and emergency humane destruction are also included. The code was drafted

and reviewed by companies and organisations involved in the commercial transport of animals by road and sea, farmers, veterinarians, animal advocacy groups and environmental agencies.

Agriculture Minister David Carter says animal handlers must become familiar with the relevant codes. He warns failure to meet a minimum standard in a code could lead to legal action.

Keeping animals in transit happy



What is the purpose of this code of welfare? Transport can distress animals. The code describes the minimum standards of care and management for transporting animals and encourages carriers to adopt the highest standards of husbandry, care and handling, and to equal or exceed the minimum standards. The recommendations for best practice are intended to encourage standards of care over and above the minimum. Advice is given to encourage owners and operators to strive for a high level of welfare. Who does this code apply to? All persons transporting live animals within New Zealand by land, air or sea waters (including to and from the Chatham Islands). Under the Act the ‘owner’ and the ‘person in charge’ of an animal are responsible for meeting the legal obligations for welfare. What animals does this code apply to? All live animals (terrestrial and aquatic) being transported within New Zealand on land, air or water (including to and from the Chatham Islands). Greg Hamill: Product Manager, Alpha Nominated

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Italian still taking to the hills TWENTY FIVE years after it was launched – notably with patented, independent front braking –there’s still no hill-country tractor better than the SAME Explorer, says Power Farming’s national product manager Ken Bill. Well-specced, eventually becoming wellregarded, this utility tractor suited New Zealand farming conditions. Now Power Farming is “ramping up the presence of the SAME brand,” Bill says. “The brand has had a positive perception over many years, and the Explorer has long been something of an iconic model for SAME.” With wet and dry clutch options, the Explorer range “offers price points well suited to most farm capital budgets” and the offered gear-

box combinations can make just the right match with the demands typical of farming here, Bill says. Two models are offered: entry-level Explorer 85 naturally aspirated, and Explorer 95 turbo-charged models. The naturally aspirated SDF engines are known to be dependable – they’re simple and durable, Bill says. Of the three patents registered over the tractor, the independent front braking remains the standout. The current Explorer is still the only tractor in its class to offer such a feature, coming today as oil immersed discs on all four wheels, run through a hydraulic braking system. The Explorer’s stability has contributed to its popularity for steep work, Bill says. The key to this is low centre of grav-

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ity, and a wide (2100mm) wheel track front and rear. Tyres are 540/65R34 tyres front, 480/65R24s rear). The machine achieves an aim said to be long-held by SAME designers: even weight distribution across the tyre profile so that soil compaction is minimal. In its dry clutch option the 85 and 95 offer a 20:20 gear selection with mechanical selection. A wet-clutch version (Deutz powered), the Explorer GS 85 (to 110 hp) has a 40:40 gear range through a hi-lo power shift. An ‘overspeed’ feature allows the Explorer to be driven on the open road in economy-mode top gear, or matching the engine to conditions using lower gear ratios. This gives a 12% improvement on fuel economy, Bill says. German Profi magazine has rated Deutz diesels

Independent front braking, on which SAME holds a patent, distinguishes the Explorer.

as leaders for economy, averaging 10% better than other engines in the equivalent class. Bill cites two key design features as the reasons: 1) An individual ‘wet’ fuel pump supplying each injector is driven by the camshaft and lubricated

by the tractor’s oil supply. When a tractor is run on bio-diesel this is critical to eliminate the corrosive effect of such fuel. 2) Short fuel lines minimise resistance and maximise fuel-flow pressure for a higher, constant rate of delivery to the cylinder.

Similarly, the hydraulic system has a pump separate from the power steering – no compromise when the steering is working hard. Rear hydraulics will lift 5.1 tonnes. And a four-speed PTO includes a feature rare on utility tractors, Bill says: an ‘eco’

500rpm and 1000rpm power selection. The ‘eco’ matches power to the task being done; with low demand implements, e.g. spray pumps, the engine can run at a lower crankshaft speed, saving fuel. Tel. 07 902 2284

29/09/11 9:38 AM


Maize yield hits record HUMATE HAS lifted maize yield to a record high on a King Country farm, reports supplier NZ Humates, Mt Maunganui. Humate is a ‘supercompost’ applied in the base fertiliser dressing. The company says Fertco customers Graeme and Ellie Voyce, Piopio, recently won the Pioneer Maize for Grain Yield award for greatest yield in the 38P05 variety. NZ Humates says the yield of 15.2 tonne/ha – with moisture of 21.6% – is an

Graeme and Ellie Voyce, King Country.

but the crop didn’t seem to suffer.” Voyce applied humate at 100kg/ha with dicalcic phosphate and potash. Their Fertco rep says the farm used dicalcic phos-

Dressing make-up • Soil tested, use lime to alter the pH to 6.0. • Base fertiliser: 200kg/ha Dical8, 100kg/ha humate,100kg/ha muriate of potash. • Starter fertiliser: 200kg/ha 12, 10, 10. • Side dressing fertiliser: 100kg/ha of urea humate mix at 4-leaf stage.

outstanding yield for the cooler district and 50% higher than the expected norm. Another impressive yield on the Voyce’s property was that of newer variety P9400, which yielded 17.2 tonne/ha. The area on which the maize was grown is predominantly miroa ash soil, used for maize grain for the past five years. Says Graeme Voyce, “The inclusion of humate in the base fertiliser dressing seems to have been the icing on the cake of a good growing season. We did get dry in early summer

50kg less potash than normally recommend. NZ Humates says humate is super-concentrated compost. “But volumes much smaller than compost are required and it can be blended with any fertiliser for simple and cost effective application.”

MACHINERY & PRODUCTS 39 ‘Organic, not magic’ ORGANIC CERTIFICATION is expected soon for the BioMagic Ltd soil conditioner EFX, the company says. The product was launched here last year. EFX contains nutrients and 90 trace elements sufficient to sustain the biology for at least a year, BioMagic says. The nutrients include bacillus aerobic bacteria, several fungi, actinomycetes and other aerobic organisms – molasses, fish, kelp, humic acid and fulvic acid. Corn, potatoes and kiwifruit are said to be doing well as a result of the product. And DOC is trialling it in treatment of diseased kauri trees. EFX turns soil aerobic and it is expected the phytofura disease

After (left) and before using EFX.

threatening the kauri will be eliminated because phytofura requires anaerobic conditions. BioMagic says EFX reduces magnesium biologically, ‘balances’ soil and biologically reduces contaminants such as copper or salt. ‘It rapidly restores soil biology eradicated by over use of chemical fertilisers.” As a soil conditioner it

will “biologically release fertiliser to plants.” “EFX is extremely economical and in most cases only 1 L/ha is required. It is easy to apply and can be used as a foliar spray, applied any time of year.” It converts organic matter into plant available nutrients, creating healthy soil and maintaining soil moisture and oxygen levels. Users are said to report

increases in health and new growth of citrus trees and larger crops, and sweeter tasting fruit, cauliflowers, broccoli and cabbages. Peter Bennett, Te Puke, last year used EFX on a horse paddock where the pasture “quickly turned dark green with good grass and clover growth. The horse manure broke down faster than previously and soon disappeared.” And citrus grower Jatinder Singh is reported to have used EFX on citrus trees which “had not put on new growth for two years, but within a few weeks of applying EFX had new shoots. We had the biggest ever crop of sweet fruit.” Tel. 09 418 4575

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phate because it gives a sustained release of phosphate over the growing period. Also, because miroa ash soils have a high phosphate retention the dical suffers less from soil lock up. The humate came about when potash prices increased sharply in 2009 and Voyce was keen to save a few dollars on inputs, not knowing the likely return for his grain. In 2009 they substituted 50kg of potash for 75kg of humate and the results were positive, so last year they applied 100kg of humate and again

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Pride of place for steel yarding BELYNDA NORRISH

AN INCREASING number of cattle farmers are looking at how they can make electronic identification work for them to maximise their herd’s performance. However, regardless of how good the technology is, if working cattle through your yards is one of those man-versus-beast battles you put off until you have to do it, then regular weigh sessions to monitor each animal’s progress is not going to happen. Likewise if the yards need repair or are in the wrong location for convenient use. As with the dairy shed, workshop or shearing shed, the cattle yard is an important work area and on the beef block or dairy runoff is the one opportunity to observe each animal closely. It therefore figures that if working your cows through the yards is a safe, low stress and positive experience then you’ll do it more often. A yard layout that lets you do the handling tasks safely and efficiency is important, as is the method of animal containment (headbail or cattle handler). Equally important is the strength and type of materials used in the yard and its installation.

Wood initially may be cheaper but it lacks the longevity, low maintenance or relocatability of steel yards.

Wood initially may be cheaper but it lacks the longevity, low maintenance or relocatability of steel yards. For steel yards to remain in good working order, with gates swinging freely and panels and linking points straight and in line, the yard components need to be strong enough for the more testing situations likely to arise. Two bulls proving their mettle or a lone animal desperate to return to the mob are obvious scenarios where the yard’s infrastructure may be impacted. But keep in mind other situations that can cause the cattle to move unexpectedly such as a cow bulling, litter flapping in the pen, or a distraction outside the yard.

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All too often the yard’s strength is either overestimated or compromised. As with wood, there are different grades of high steel available. Light panels and gates use a narrower profile of rail and are designed for use in low-pressure holding areas of the yard and for lighter classes of stock (calves and smaller breeds). They are also more convenient to carry for portable yards. For high-pressure handling areas such as gates, lead-in and force pens, loading and drafting pens, and for heavy/larger adult cattle and stock not used to yards or human contact, a heavy panel is more suitable. These panels use heavy-duty rail that has a

thicker wall and wider profile, which also makes it more visible to the stock. All beneficial to the operator and stock. In addition, TechniPharm yards have an unsurpassed 10 year bendit-or-replace-it warranty providing great handling, comfort and protection of the investment. The gateway is a high pressure area of any yard – wood or steel. Gates have to withstand impact and pressure on them when open and closed, and hinges need to be up to the job. Can the gate be opened back fully and fastened flush against the rails? Or does it sit ajar, at risk of damage when the mob press against it or an animal becomes wedged behind it? Gate latches

should be simple to use, accessible from both sides and either of a style or position to reduce the likelihood of an inquisitive cow inadvertently opening the gate. With steel yards, how the gates and panels are aligned and linked with the each other, and how they are anchored to the ground, are important for stability. If the yard is to remain on site for the long term then a concrete base under the force pen, race and handling area are recommended. This ensures a level, easily cleaned work area to bolt the yards to. Tel. 0800 80 90 98

• Belynda Norrish is a cattle handling specialist at Technipharm Ltd, Rotorua.



Even spread to ‘last kilogram’ FRENCH FERTILISERspreader maker Sulky, working in a recently opened plant, has launched three models, reports the New Zealand distributor. The new DPX mounted spreaders are DPX18 (width 9-18m, capacity 1500kg), DPX24 (12-24m, 2100kg) and DPX28 (1228m, 2800kg); this latter model is offered with Vision WPB (on-board continuous weighing). But wait, there’s more, Sulky says. Even larger are the X12-44 spreaders (the X36 and X44 – 36m and 44m) and the Polyvrac XT trailed spreaders (capacity 7200 L and 9500 L, up to 44 m wide). A notable feature is precise spreading width control: the feed chutes accurately regulate the width by modifying the point where the fertiliser drops onto the discs, says Sulky. So the operator

need never change cogs, plates or vanes, even when spreading late during a season. One result is constant flow “practically to the last kilogram of product.” For horizontal distribution, “multi-overlapping is achieved via graduated spreading vanes of different lengths.” Moderate, constant rotation speed, even at the machine’s maximum working width, ensures granules are projected in accordance with their physical characteristics, an essential point for accurate ground distribution, Sulky says. The desired working width can be set logically using the “continuously” adjustable Sulky chutes; the working width is increased by increasing the setting in the graduated quadrant and vice versa. And a device called Tribord (an option on the

DPX18 and DPX24) is controlled electrically from the driver’s cab, ensuring minimal waste when spreading at the edge of a plot. Tel. 06 356 4920


Vintage vision clarified APOLOGIES to Kaipara Vintage Machinery Club and its president Bruce Galloway for the errors bedevilling our story on them last issue – ‘Vintage vision’, p 55. We incorrectly referred to the Dargaville club as Northland Vintage Machinery Club; that club is at Whangarei. And we renamed Bruce Galloway as Bruce Galsworthy.


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FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CELLI SPIKE ROTORS AND PRE RIPPERS AT *Only at participating Celli dealers. Offer applies for September & October 2011 only. Applies to 2011 retail pricing. FOR YOUR NEAREST D E A L E R P L E A S E C O N TA C T Contact your local rural supplies merchant or phone 0800 266 258


NORTH ISLAND : 09 275 5555 SOUTH ISLAND : 03 437 9000


42 MACHINERY & PRODUCTS NEW COMBINED premises at Morrinsville for Piako Mitsubishi and Piako Tractors are reported to be impressing the locals. The opening on September 23 allowed proprieters Darrell and Catherine Russell and staff to show the facility to the region’s customers, farmers, suppliers and others. “We’ve added 3000m2, including 1800m2 of workshop space for the two businesses, so we can handle all the machines we sell and can service them on site,” says Russell. The latest Massey Fergusson tractors, hay and silage machinery, and Mitsubishi cars and utes were on display. Inset: Darrell Russell.


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Stuart Loveday, of Greenwood Heating, with a Frontier.

Only heater you’ll ever need NEIL KEATING

FROM AMERICA’s Pacific Northwest, the home of lumberjacks, treestumps – they call Portland ‘Stumptown’ – and Boeing aircraft, comes a new central-heating wood burner. With a difference. It’s the Greenwood Frontier CX wood ‘gasification’ boiler. It will heat your water and, incidentally, your space, if installed in your basement. Or it may be installed in a garage or shed. Your reporter recalls seeing, inside the front door of a German home, an imposing ceramic-tiled solid fuel burner from a bygone era. The Greenwood could serve in such a location. The maker, in Bellevue, WA, near Seattle, says it will not smoke or require you to haul out the ash more often than monthly. Greenwood Heating, Timaru, holds the distribution rights for New Zealand and the company’s Stuart Loveday displayed the fire at

National Fieldays. Obviously New Zealand is not short of wood burners or • Operating range 9-22kW. wetbacks, but com• Peak output 32kW. bustion efficiency • Delivered output per firebox and low emissions 146.5kWh. now rule, and in these the Green• Min/max supply water temperature wood shines. Effi60oC/90oC. ciency is 89% and • Fuel type: log wood. it meets EPA (Envi• Maximum log length x diameter ronmental Protec530 x 350 mm. tion Agency) Phase 2 emission standards, the benchmark for modern, clean-burning boilers in North Amer- ulate matter to exit as smoke, creoica, says the maker. sote or ash. Combustion gases leave And the winter workload is the furnace at average 175oC. reduced: wood need not be split to The firebox is made of ‘super-duty’ burn and, as said above, the ash dis- cast ceramic refractory with walls posal is less onerous. designed for best efficiency. The key concept is ‘gasification’. Arriving next year is the Frontier Temperatures attained by gasifica- LX model (14.5-38kW) and the Frontion in the ceramic firebox reach tier MX (26-66kW). 1000oC, almost completely burning Tel. 03 684 8440 the wood, and so leaving little partic-




Landy’s cafe cruiser The Evoque can apparently still manage itself well enough off-road though, limited only by its reduced ground clearance, restricted wheel travel and lack of a low-range transmission. Off road ability will be academic though. This car will sell better in the city than the country. Having said that, the wagon version looks like it would be a practical vehicle and it should perform well – it’s powered by the latest common-rail diesel or a turbocharged petrol engine married

to a six-speed automatic. The interior is decked out with the leather and high equipment levels you’d expect from the Landy brand these days. Pricing also reflects the upmarket position of the brand, starting at $79,990. Available in both 5-door and Coupe forms, it will have three specification levels: Pure, Dynamic and Prestige, and extensive personal options such as accessories, equipment and styling packs. Deliveries begin November.


Flagship XJ ‘even more special’ THE 2012 Jaguar luxury ‘flagship’ XJ sports sedan is arriving in New Zealand. For $155,000 buyers can enjoy high specs, including a ‘rear seat comfort pack’ allowing a massage, electric adjustment of the backrest recline angle and four-way lumbar support. The pack is standard on the long wheelbase Supersport model and an option on the others in the XJ range. Increased comfort is also provided by new winged headrests and rear seat footrests. A new interior colour combination reflects buyers’ preferences. The Jet/Ivory option has ivory seating with con-

trast jet stitching, piping and upper surfaces while the headlining is available in either colour, according to customer preference. “An XJ should be the ultimate in comfort, design and refinement. The bespoke interior

changes in the 2012 model make it an even more special car,” says Paul Ricketts, brand manager for Jaguar New Zealand. The original XJ was the last car designed by Jaguar founder Sir William Lyons. “Revolutionary, not

evolutionary, the XJ is truly a product of the 21st century and is the clearest indication yet of the singular sense of purpose behind design director Ian Callum’s vision for the future of Jaguar,” the company says.

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IN A sneak preview, Rural News got to see the first Land Rover Evoques to land in New Zealand. This much-hyped new release is a compact cousin of the Range Rover with the emphasis on style and the style-conscious as its target buyer. The styling is dramatic yet retains enough Land Rover DNA to be instantly recognisable as part of the clan that includes the Freelander, Discovery, Range Rover Sport and Range Rover Vogue. Less obvious is the family connection to the stalwart Defender.



People the heart of rugby clubs As Rugby World Cup fever sweeps New Zealand, Rural News brings you this exclusive extract from the ‘On the Sidelines’ chapter of recently published book Our Game, detailing what makes our rugby clubs tick. ‘WHAT’S THE secret of our club?’ Ask a member of one of New Zealand’s 590 rugby clubs this question, and you won’t hear about their club’s new deck, the hot showers that thaw the frozen, the floodlights that took 10 years to fundraise for, or the new sand-based

field that’s almost too flash to play on. Instead, you’ll hear a variation of the Maori proverb He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! The most important part of our club, you’ll be told, is our people. For a club is a complex and interdependent

ecosystem. The 15 players in the senior team are backed by reserves and a raft of coaches and helpers—trainers, strappers, physios, waterpersons. There are the marshals— referees and linesmen, scorekeepers and groundskeepers—and then, side-

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line, an army of volunteers cooking, cleaning, pouring pints and maintaining club assets—the clubrooms, the finances, the equipment. People like Walter Pease of Whangamomona, which hides off Taranaki’s Lost Highway. Walter’s a local boy and, bar a couple of seasons when he played in the big smoke, for Eketahuna, he’s played for Whanga. Now 36, the contract digger-driver and farmer’s hitting his peak as a clubman. He’s currently treasurer, coach of the U6 Little Rippas and workingbee controller. He wasalso hooker for the seniors

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Stalwarts of Invercargill’s Rugby Park, Martin Muir and Zane Soper.

until the club dropped out of regular competition in 2000: Whanga has been struggling for numbers as the farms get bigger and the farmers fewer. “We still get a team together and have about four games a year,” he says. “You’ll have heard about the Dean Cup? No? Holy hell – it’s the oldest continuously contested rugby trophy in New Zealand. It’s played between us, Strathmore and Toko.” Bull Allen was roped in for a few games, Reuben Thorne (who lived in Whanga briefly as a kid) has been approached. For length of service, you can’t go past Pukekoke’s Owen and Doris Reeve. They’ve been helping out at Wesley College for 40, maybe 50 years; no one knows for sure. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, they open the tuck shop down by the main rugby field. Now in their 80s, this is their last year on the job. “They’re the kaumatua,” the Rev Steve Tema says, “the elder statespersons of the school. They’re cherished. Anyone who does the food in this place… well, let’s just say they’re very close to the

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boys’ hearts. Those hot pies, the chips, the lollies… the boys love them.” Down in Ngongotaha, Hika the Hooker’s old club, Owen Sircombe, 52, is the resident Trojan. “When there’s a job to be done,” club president Mike Beckett tells me, “Owen’s the ‘go-to’ man. “He does everything. He puts the flags out. Cleans the changing sheds. Runs the water on for the premiers.” He’s a Ngongotaha legend and the club, Mike says, are just as proud of him. When Owen returned from the 2007 Shanghai Special Olympics with two golds in 10-pin bowling, the club put on a huge bash. It was the least they

could do. Then last year, Mike presented Owen with the club’s dress shirt at prizegiving. Each shirt has the Ngongotaha logo with the name of the team – say, Senior A – embroidered below. Under Owen’s club logo it simply read, ‘Club Stalwart’. Down in the deep south, in Invercargill, you’ll find Martin Muir and Zane Soper operating Rugby Park’s clock and scoreboard. They’ve been doing it for about 100 years, people say—and it’s only a slight exaggeration. Working out of the ‘new’ hut – it was built in 1960 – the two cover every game played here. Martin, TO PAGE 45


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Good sales for A Good Spread JUST OVER one year ago Rural Women New Zealand launched its chunky cookbook A Good Spread: Recipes from the Kitchens of Rural Women New Zealand. Published by Random House, it has already notched up nearly 13,000 sales, “a great result for any New Zealand book,” an RWNZ spokeswoman

told Rural News. The following baked jam or fruit pudding recipe from the 360-page tome is a favourite with Rural News’ editor Andrew Swallow’s family. “It’s a good way to use up frozen fruit before this year’s starts to come in and it’s quick and easy,” says his wife Imke. “You just mix all the

Baked Jam or Fruit Pudding 3/5cup milk 40g butter 1 teacup sugar 1 large egg 1 heaped cup flour 1 heaped teaspoon baking powder Jam, fresh or tinned fruit Heat milk and butter, beat sugar and egg until creamy. Add flour and baking powder and mix into butter and milk. Grease and spread dish or 20.5cm tin with jam or any fruit in season or tinned fruit. Spread mixture evenly and bake in moderate oven for about 20 minutes. Turn out on a flat dish. Serve with custard sauce or cream.

ingredients and pour them over the top [of the fruit].” • The book is available online, at bookstores, or from RWNZ (Tel. 04 473 5524). RRP $34.99 ISBN 978 1 86979 314 2.

The heart of rugby FROM PAGE 1

slightly older – he’s in his mid 80s – has been involved in rugby for more than 70 years. He and Zane both played, then became refs—Martin’s a past president of the New Zealand Rugby Referees Association—and have moved mountains for their club, Star. You can’t keep them away. “They’ve just lived rugby,” a Southlander tells me. “That’s been their life. They’ve given so much.” Love of the game is a major motivation, love of community another. Putting something—putting others—before yourself. It’s the very definition of

teamwork. It’s what, at its best, is at the heart of the New Zealand game. Ask yourself where else in the world would the president of the national union know most of a club’s junior players by name, help out at their trainings, chip in with team talks, even occasionally put the flags out on Saturday mornings. But for NZRU president Bryan ‘Beegee’ Williams, Ponsonby patriot, it’s all in a week’s work. • Our Game is published by New Zealand Geographic. Order from www. RRP $49.99

Chopping champ at Canty A&P AXEMEN AT Canterbury A&P, Nov 9-11, will be up against the best in the world – literally. World champion lumberjack, Jason Wynyard, is a regular competitor at The Show and recently won his tenth Stihl Timbersports Series Championship, a record in the history of the competition. Wynyard also holds the world record for the standing block at 12.11 seconds, one of the most physically exhausting disciplines requiring a 12-14 inch vertical white pine log to be severed with blows from both sides of the log. Show event director Rae Finlay says the chopping is “a unique combination of when rural life meets sport.”



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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 or for more info go to


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In addition to an abundance of power, BRP created the Can-Am Commander side-by-side vehicle for comfort, safety and convenience. Removable seats with integrated hand rests, adjustable tilt steering, passenger handholds and grab bars, dual-level cargo box, D.E.S.S. key selection to limit speed, and quick-attach side nets. Designed and engineered in Canada using European Rotax V-twin power providing for the best possible combination of work and play!

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FOR 3 GENERATIONS, FEMALE & MALE RANGE Yardmate Soft Toe This is the boot that is designed for heavy duty uses and is perfect for fencers, high country farmers and hunters walking through tough, rugged, country. With an upper constructed from thick full grain leather, an insole and mid-sole, which are brass screwed and stitched, a cleated rubber repairable sole, a tough heel counter for better ankle support and a full bellows tongue for greater water tightness, this boot will handle the tough environment. Yardmate also available in Steel toe. Sizes 4-15 including half sizes.

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Jumbo Buster. Ideal for breaking hard pans, drainage etc. Brand new. $3595.

Jumbo Buster. 9 tine. Optional roller available. Other sizes in stock. $5595.

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Pasture Harrows. Increases growth by spreading manure and rejuvenates tired pasture. Other sizes available $725.

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Stump Grinder. Connects to any standard linkage and suits 20 - 100 HP. 2 sizes. Unit pictured is $10995.

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9/26/11 2:56 PM

Profile for Rural News Group

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