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May 3, 2011 Issue 491

town trained triallist price probe latest page 7

page 31

swiss-made slope master page 37

Pork import saga goes to court

page 32

vet’s bull buying tips

Milestone meat report this week Vivienne Haldane

NZP chief executive Sam McIvor told Rural News that papers were lodged with the High Court last week. The action seeks to force MAF to revert to the previous regulations on the import

permitted and the High Court action will not affect these imports, says McIvor. Before the latest changes to the regulations, pig meat coming from countries which have PRRS

to restaurants and other food outlets or institutions.” NZP’s belief is trimmings NEW ZEALAND Pork (NZP) is from this meat may find their taking MAF to the High Court way to small backyard pig farms in a last ditch bid to stop it relaxor commercial operations, which ing regulations on pig meat take food scraps from resimports. taurants and cafes. The operational arm of This meat could carry the Pork Industry Board’s the PRRS virus. latest move follows a fourMcIvor acknowledges year saga that re-ignited last MAF’s point that the vimonth with MAF’s confirrus does decline at room mation it would allow retail temperature, but points sale of untreated imports up out it takes only a tiny to 3kg. amount of viable virus to NZP’s concerns centre spread an infection. on the risk of raw pork carHe’s particularly conrying Porcine Reproductive cerned about what might and Respiratory Syndrome happen on lifestyle blocks (PRRS). However, it and where people keep pigs. others have also highlighted These people may not be the wider biosecurity imfully aware of the regulaplications the move has for Pig in the middle: the PRRS row has wider biosecurity implications says Feds. tions or sell their produce New Zealand’s livestock inthrough conventional of pig meat, which they say are had to either be cured or cooked channels. dustries as a whole. “The potential for not just better and protect the industry before sale. “In the end, it might be as sim“What MAF is proposing ple as that farmer driving down PRRS but other diseases to be from the risk of PRRS – found carried in raw pork is real,” says in Europe, Canada, the USA and now is that fresh and frozen cuts the road with pigs on the back of from PRRS countries can come a truck and passing a commercial Federated Farmers’ biosecurity Mexico. New Zealand is just one of a in. They don’t have to be cured or semi commercial pig farm and spokesman, John Hartnell. “Pigs are one of the greatest risk vec- handful of countries still PRRS- or cooked. They will now be al- the virus moving in the air to the tors for ruminant diseases and we free. Australia, Finland and Swe- lowed to put the meat into 3kg big pig farm. That’s how some of don’t want to import one disease den are the others. Pork meat ‘retail ready packages’ which the outbreaks around the world imports from these countries are will be distributed to retailers or have occurred.” and get a second one for free.” PETER BURKE

FARMERS AND other industry observers are

looking forward to seeing what’s in the Meat Sector Strategy report – due to be released in Parliament tomorrow (May 4) While meat company chiefs have already seen copies, its content is being eagerly anticipated by the wider industry. “We are looking for a roadmap to achieve sustainable profitability in our industry,” Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre chairman Bruce Wills told Rural News. “For too long we’ve gone through boom and bust phases. We now need stability for these current, better prices.” Wills is hopeful the report will work to strengthen the meat industry and pave the way for a positive future. “I get concerned when I hear some farmers say, ‘we don’t need to worry because it’s all come right.’ My response is, ‘like hell it has’. “It’s only come right, due largely to our past failures; prices this year are up considerably on the back of reduced supply. We’re selling six million lambs less than we did six years ago.” He believes the important thing about the Deloitte strategy is that, an independent, professional party has put it together and, as such farmers, will be much more ready to accept it. “The industry has in the past, unfortunately been characterised by a fair amount of vested interest. My hope is that farmers will engage to put their businesses on a far sounder and more progressive base to go forward, in concert with the rest of the meat industry.” To page 3


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Rural News // may 3, 2011


News In this issue News ....................... 1-12 World .....................13-17

Scours battle far from over

Agribusiness ....... 18-19 Markets ................ 20-21 Hound, Edna ..............22 Contacts......................22 Opinion . ...............24-28 Management ...... 28-31 Animal Health ..... 32-36 Machinery and Products .............. 37-42 Rural Trader .............. 43 Head Office: Top Floor, 29 Northcroft Street, Takapuna, Auckland 0622 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 on-line: Subscriptions:

ABC audited circulation 80,488 as at 30.12.2010



THE BATTLE for the country’s largest wool scouring business is far from over. Cavalier Wool is one step closer to buying Wool Services International’s (WSI) scouring business following a draft ruling by the Commerce Commission. However, WSI says the ruling favours creation of a monopoly in the wool scouring industry. WSI chairman Derek Kirke says the draft ruling will “be a wake-up call and likely trigger a large number of submissions from the wool industry in the next round of deliberations... “This is only a preliminary view, and step one of the process, but it is extraordinary that they have been persuaded that a lessening of competition would be in the public interest. “The decision is quite contrary to previous Commerce Commission decisions which have required a very high level of proof from the applicant before

Spreading the reach: The owner of carpet manufacturer Cavalier Bremworth is inching towards buying two wool scouring businesses.

authorisation for a monopoly is given.” Kirke claims Cavalier is spending a lot of money on the application “be-

cause the company stands to make a lot of money with a monopoly control of the industry.”

Milestone meat report due From page 1

Wills cautioned against allowing the report ‘to sit on a shelf.’ “I hope farmers read it, act on it and the whole industry grabs the strategy by the scruff of the neck and takes the action we need to for the long-term good of the industry. We need to put more fundamental structures in place; shorten our supply chain and work more closely with our export and processing partners.” Mike Petersen (pictured left), Beef & Lamb New Zealand chairman, agrees that action is paramount. “All this will become meaningless unless people take on board what’s in the report and take action. A report is one thing, but implementation is another. Our focus is on how behavioural change can lead to improved profitability for all.” Petersen says while it’s too

early to tell exactly what the report holds, there will be a things that individuals don’t agree with but “we’ll disseminate the varied viewpoints and see what we need to do collectively.” He adds that some old chestnuts, such as quota allocation, have been dealt with. “We’ve asked Deloitte’s to look at issues like this and see if it really is highlighted.” Petersen is confident that the report’s scope will satisfy a wide range of people. “I’m confident there’ll be enough information for those who want to make changes and for those who just want to improve their profitability. We’ve seen good performers kick up to another level – good prices are just a double kick.” Bill Falconer, Meat Industry Association chairman says his organisation is feeling good about the report. “Embargoed copies were sent to the media yesterday (May 2). This will be followed by an announcement in Parliament on Wednesday (May 4). Mike Petersen and I will then be available for interviews the same afternoon.”

Cavalier went to the commission in February seeking approval to acquire WSI’s two wool scours. Submissions on the commission’s preliminary view closed last week. A conference will be held in Wellington this week before a final decision is made on May 31. Cavalier Wool is 50% owned by Cavalier Bremworth, which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of the publicly listed Cavalier Corporation Ltd. The remaining 50% of the shares in Cavalier Wool are owned in equal parts by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) and Direct Capital Investments Ltd. The Cavalier Group is involved in the manufacture of carpets and wool procurement. WSI is a listed company whose major shareholders, Plum Duff Ltd and Woolpak Holdings Ltd are in receivership. WSI exports over 45% of all New Zealand’s coarse wool and is continuing to expand its market share in over 30 countries. Wool Partners latest: page 9

Gent says goodbye to Fonterra LONG-SERVING Fonterra di-

rector Greg Gent will not be standing for re-election. Gent, previously chairman of Northland Dairy and Kiwi Dairies, is a founding Fonterra director and played a key role in the formation of Fonterra, says chairman Henry van der Heyden. “Greg has given 18 years of service to our industry. He is a strong believer in the development of fresh farmer-leaders and is keen to see the next generation coming through.” Gent will leave Fonterra at the co-operative’s annual meeting on November 17.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011


Horizons prosecutes councillor PETER BURKE

AN HORIZONS regional

councillor is facing the possibility of being dumped if he’s found guilty of breaching a resource consent on the amount of water he’s entitled to take for his

dairy farm. After a two-hour behind closed doors discussion, councillors unanimously decided to allow staff to prosecute Cr John Barrow for breaching his consent on his Dannevirke property – a decision Barrow strongly disputes. Horizons chairman,

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Bruce Gordon says based on the evidence put to them by staff; councillors had little choice but to sanction the prosecution. He says the material put before council showed ‘serious non compliance’ with the consent. “I am disappointed that it’s come to this. The council had offered to help John sort out the problems of meeting the conditions of his consent, but he went public over the issue and effectively forced our hand. It is not up to the council to judge whether Cr Barrow is right or wrong, only to judge that there is sufficient evidence to warrant

There are two sides to the story and the councillors only heard one side – that of staff. prosecution.” Gordon says the offence carries a potential penalty of up to two years imprisonment and anyone convicted of an offence at that level is automatically disqualified from holding public office at a council. But Barrow has hit out at the move describing it as ‘disgusting’. He says

there are two sides to the story and the councillors only heard one side – that of staff. He says he wasn’t allowed to put his case to council and was excluded from the meeting. Barrow claims he’s been trying to sort the issue for a long time. “I have kept council staff up-to-date with all the dramas of trying to sort out these problems. They knew what was happening and the problems that were occurring. “All the councillors saw was the daily volume of the water take being exceeded without any of the technical informa-

tion that I could have provided.” Barrow accepts that fellow councillors had little choice but to sanction the prosecution and says he will defend the case. Before being elected to the Council, Barrow was an outspoken critic of the organisation and played a key role in getting major modifications made to the controversial One Plan. He says a lot of farmers are still unhappy about the way Horizons does business. Gordon says he’s

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MOVES ARE underway

to lure Kiwi farmers home from across the ditch. Five rural real estate agents will be in Australia next week to update ex-pat New Zealand farmers on the availability of rural property. PGG Wrightson Real Estate Limited Canterbury sales manager, Peter Crean and his colleagues from Northland, Waikato, Mid Canterbury and Southland will visit Tasmania and Victoria from May 9 to 13. “Prior to the global credit crisis in September 2008, a significant number of New Zealand farmers sold their farms on this side of the Tasman and relocated to Australia,” says Crean. “Currency exchange rates, present and projected dairy returns, and emerging trends in the New Zealand rural property market over the past two


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years are all factors that would favour many of these farmers returning to New Zealand, or at least diversifying their property ownership to include farms here,” he says. “We are going to Australia to discuss those opportunities with them.” According to Crean, many ex-pat farmers now in Australia may not be aware of how the local property market has changed in New Zealand. “Since most of them left, there has been a change in the way farm purchases are financed, with equity funding competing with debt funding from banks. “Many of the farmers we will be speaking to will have accrued a reasonable asset base and will be well-placed to acquire medium to larger farms, either on their own or in partnership with others.”

Bumper turnout for Beef Expo NEIL KEATING

ENTRIES ARE 20% up on last year for the Performance Beef Breeds Expo (PBBNZ) being held on May 14-17 at Feilding. Event manager Mark Stevens says at least 200 exhibitors will show, including those in the Future Beef category on the Saturday and Sunday. Gaining attention are the Lead Steer contest and the new Claas Queen of Hearts event, sponsored by the Claas tractor and machinery distributor who will fund $2000 in prizes.

Queen of Hearts offers bidders participation in a prize draw, each drawing a card with opportunity to win $500 cash, accommodation, a V8 ‘hot lap’ at Manfeild race track, and one year’s supply of dog biscuits. Organisers also see the Lead Heifer calf sale as a key feature, offering an alternative buying opportunity to bulls. “It used to be difficult to get females but we’re working on changing that,” says Stevens. Hereford looks set to dominate the livestock turnout with entry numbers on par with 2010, but Angus entries will be up.


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heard of accusations that Horizons staff had deliberately tried to target farmers who opposed some of their rules, but he says so far he’s found no truth to such claims.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011



Feds: Scrub plan puts pasture second SUDESH KISSUN


to oppose a new government plan to manage native biodiversity. Federated Farmers says its members are worried by the proposed national policy statement (NPS) as it “makes the importance of farm pasture a distant second to regenerating native scrubland”. Recent farmer meetings in the lower North Island have voted to take their message “directly to the Government”. Federated Farmers Gisborne-Wairoa provincial president Hamish

Cave says the plan will affect farmers recovering from several seasons of drought. “Farmers care about biodiversity but what

al councils to introduce rules limiting farmers’ ability to clear regenerating scrubland. “I’m not being melodramatic, but this could

species are not just found in national parks, but rare and threatened habitats, such as wetlands and lowland native forests, and occur on private land

“I’m not being melodramatic, but this could shut down farming not just on the East Coast, but in other parts of New Zealand.” – Hamish Cave we’re up against is poor policy making that [puts] the importance of farm pasture a distant second to regenerating native scrubland.” Cave says the Ministry for the Environment’s proposed NPS on managing native biodiversity sounds innocent enough, but it would force region-

shut down farming not just on the East Coast, but in other parts of New Zealand.” Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson says the plan delivers on National’s 2008 election promise and commitment to the Maori Party. She claims it recognises rare and threatened

Getting the balance right THE MINISTRY of Environment says

it’s talking to stakeholders on the national policy statement (NPS) on indigenous biodiversity and wants feedback. “This feedback is important to ensure the Ministry gets the proposed NPS’s balance right,” director natural and built environment Mark Sowden told Rural News. “Ministry for the Environment staff are on the ground speaking with

farmers, councils and other interested parties.” Sowden says in public meetings, to date, both support and concerns have been raised. Submissions closed on Monday. Feedback from these public meetings and submissions will be fed into a ministry report with recommendations for Environment Minister Nick Smith. There is no date set for a final decision on the policy.

throughout the country. Indigenous biodiversity is not only vital to the environment, but also to agricultural, horticultural and tourism industries, Wilkinson maintains. “Many of our native plants and animals are found only in New Zealand. Once a species is gone, it is gone forever. This proposed Biodiversity NPS provides a flexible approach for councils, recognising that specific regions will have

Regeneration rather than clearance would hit local rural economies, says Feds.

their own unique issues to address.” But Cave says the policy won’t just hit farming, it will have a knock-on effect to support businesses and local economies which could be significant over time, leading to further depopulation of rural towns. “While we hear about supporting an export led recovery from one part of Government, another part seems hell-bent on shutting down farming. Farmers care about protecting quality native vegetation but quality and

not quantity is the key word here.” The Ministry of Environment admits the plan may identify clearing new vegetation and habitats as controlled activities. Federated Farmers says it has been doing its share to protect native flora and fauna and points out it was a driving force behind the QEII National Trust’s formation 34 years ago. That now has more than 111,000 hectares voluntarily protected – not far off Egmont and Tongariro National Parks’


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Big canty dairy deal ONE OF the biggest farm sales in New Zealand since the 2008 boom has been completed with a Mid Canterbury dairy farm making $17.1 million. The 525ha farm at Dorie was sold by tender. PGG Wrightson Real Estate general manager Stuart Cooper says sales of such large rural properties are picking up after a two-and-a-

half year hiatus. Only nine deals over $10m were done in 2010 and five of those were in December, compared to 62 throughout 2008. “New lending from banks is scarce, so equity investors are coming to the fore in higher value farm sales, which was the case with this property.”

combined area. “Policy makers have to understand that farms, just like cities, are modified working landscapes.  We must balance protection with productive sustainable farming,” says Cave. “It’s time ministry officials put on their gumboots and talked to farmers about what will work and what won’t.  “It’s also time we get due recognition for being the front line fighting weed and animal pests that provides real benefits to our native fauna and flora.”

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FAST, EFFECTIVE POUR-ON FOR LICE CONTROL IN SHEEP Younger delegates target for deer conference IF YOU’RE young and interested in deer, make plans to be in Timaru from May 17-19, say Deer Industry Conference organisers. “There are lots of very skilled young people working on Landcorp and family farms and we’d like to see them at the conference,” says DINZ’s Tony Pearce. “They tend to have their heads down and we don’t seem to see them at industry events such as this.” Pearce says this year’s programme for the ‘Who Deers Wins’

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ers on that panel.” One of the biggest challenges for the deer industry is competitive land use and maintaining productivity, notes Pearce. “Land use competition is a major issue for us. Certainly there are some signs that deer farming is moving from the flat more intensive country that is now deemed more suitable for dairy back into the hill and high country. Deer do particularly well here and profitability is very strong.” See for more.

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conference has been put together with young people in mind, including a dedicated forum. “We’re attempting to focus on the future and the need for succession planning. “This involves either people working on farms or having an interest in deer by becoming involved in the family farm, corporate farming or farm management. “At the forum we’ll have bankers and other experts from the industry, as well as young people and also some experienced deer farm-

Peter Burke

NEW ZEALaND’S export returns could be increased significantly if all farmers improved their financial management skills says a leading banker. Graham Turley, managing director commercial and agri for ANZ National Bank, told Rural News that over the years the average farm size has increased and they now are big businesses. As such, they need to be managed like businesses with the emphasis on profitability “Farmers in the upper quartile make about $3600/ha, but the average is only $2200,” he says. “If everyone was making $3600/ha we could increase the profitability of the farming sector by 50%.” Turley believes there needs to be a shift towards better financial management skills and dairy, sheep and beef farmers need more focus on profitability. He says farmers need to be aware that increasing production does not necessarily equate with increased profitability. “The difference between the guys that are doing well and the others is better financial management. This means good strategic business planning, good cashflow

forecasting, good management against actuals, and understanding the variances. “There are a lot of farmers who have really good farming practices, but don’t put the financial discipline in and this undoes all their good farming practices.” Turley says adopting good financial management practices is not a big thing, but it’s something many people don’t like doing. “This is not a problem that we just find in the rural sector it is actually a problem right across all New Zealand businesses. It doesn’t take much time once you’ve set up a system and have discipline to do the work.” He says if better financial management could be applied to the sheep and beef Graham Turley industry it would give flexHe is upbeat about the future ibility to sustain some variin terms of markets and points to ances in market returns. “More importantly farmers the development of new markets in would then be in a much stronger Asia, such as China and India. Turley says Asia is a boomposition to support the upstream industries of agriculture such as the ing market, but New Zealand has got to ensure it meets the needs of freezing works,” he says. Turley believes if New Zealand consumers there who want to know can get greater profitability on- that the food they are eating is safe. farm the country will have a much He notes that New Zealand is genmore sustainable industry from the erally doing a very job in respect of these matters. paddock to the plate.

Rural News // may 3, 2011



Milk price probe decision in June SUDESH KISSUN

A COMMERCE Commission probe into milk pricing will release its findings next month. The commission is talking to Fonterra and the two main milk retailers, Foodstuffs and Progressive Enterprises to assess whether a milk price control inquiry is needed. A commission spokeswoman says findings of its assessment will be released early next month. An examination of the price of milk would encompass the price paid by processors for raw milk, the wholesale prices charged by processors, and the retail prices. The commission received several calls to initiate a price control inquiry and was questioned by the parliamentary

commerce select committee on the issue. It says based on its current knowledge of the relevant markets there is no appropriate basis for the commencement of a Part 4 inquiry. “However, the Commission says it’s prepared to reconsider its preliminary view if evidence warrants it. “The Commission has decided to revisit this preliminary view in light of material which has recently been submitted to it.” Consumer NZ has backed the call for an inquiry. It says 91% of respondents to a recent survey think they are paying a high price for milk compared with other supermarket staples and 79% percent want a government inquiry. Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier says the system of pricing milk is clear.

“Milk prices always track the world market and at times when they go up consumers feel the squeeze,” he told Rural News’ sister paper Dairy News last month. But Consumer NZ chief executive Sue Chetwin says its survey showed 50% of people thought pricing was unclear and 76% were concerned at the price they paid. Fonterra claimed New Zealanders are paying international prices for milk and other dairy products, but there was a concern that in fact New Zealanders might be paying even more than international prices because of the lack of competition here, says Chetwin. “The only major com-

Demand strong despite price FONTERRA’S RECORD exports last month show de-

petitor in the local market is Goodman Fielder, which has to buy its milk from Fonterra,” she says. The Commission says it will make enquiries of both retailers. “Competition at this level of the market also comes from oil companies, convenience stores, and individual dairies. Any competition concerns at this functional level of the market would manifest themselves in the prices for all products sold in supermarkets, not just milk.”

mand for dairy remains strong despite a higher global production, says farming leader Lachlan McKenzie. The Federated Farmers Dairy section chairman says it also allays fears high milk prices are forcing consumers to turn to “other nasty stuff instead of nutritious dairy foods”. Fonterra exported 229,000 tonnes of dairy product in March. The co-op’s managing director trade & operations Gary Romano says the record shipments are the result of continued growth in global demand for high quality New Zealand dairy products. “Our supply chain team were effectively closing the door on an export container every 2.6 minutes. That’s equivalent to 560 containers a day,” he says. Strong demand is coming from China, South East Asia and the Middle East. McKenzie notes milk production in the US also reached record levels in March. “In the same month we have notched record shipments so this is good for the industry going forward.” “We are recording high production and high sales and this tells me demand is not being overtaken by supply. It’s the news farmers want to hear.” Fonterra’s record shipment in March will inject $1.2 billion into the New Zealand economy. While it was a tough start to the dairying season with drought, floods and snow storms, recent warm wet weather has boosted production says Romano. “But the real driver for the export record is the ongoing strong demand from China, South East Asia and the Middle East,” he says.



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Rural News // may 3, 2011



Plan B within fortnight – WPI Tony Benny

THE SHAPE of “Plan B” for a producer-

owned wool company should be known within the next fortnight, says Wool Partners International board member Mark Shadbolt. An establishment board met on Thursday (April 28) to thrash out a new structure and prospectus to take to growers in the wake of the failure of the Wool Partners Co-operative to get the green light. “We’ve had strong support, both in the last capital raise effort and by way of two surveys that Mark Shadbolt

we’ve conducted since then,” Shadbolt says. “The feedback is ‘get on with it, we really support it, we need a 100 percent grower-owned co-operative and that’s what we want to be offered as growers’. “We’ve taken that clear message on board and we put together this establishment board with a strong group of advisors. I can’t disclose who the members of the board or the advisors are just yet, but I hope to be able to within the next week to ten days.” Shadbolt says although the original WPC proposal failed to reach the 55 million kilograms of wool target, there is still a will among growers to form a co-operative.

“We had 33% who were prepared to stump up with between 38.5 and 40m kg of wool, as well as capital over time. I think that’s significant and why we’re continuing on with a new capital raise and prospectus.” “If we’d started with 35 million, we’d be underway today and we’d be making significant changes to the wool industry. So we’ll start with a lower threshold that’s realistic and then move through over time to more than 50% of the clip.” Shadbolt says lessons have been learned from the first attempt to launch a co-op and these will be reflected in the new prospectus. In the new model, wool will be taken from both shareholders and non-shareholders and the valuation of shares and the entry and exit of those shares will be changed. “It was a dollar in and a dollar out and I think that’s probably an old fashioned method in hindsight. Growers want to see fair value for their investment so if the company really performs, it will show up in the share value within that company,” Shadbolt says. He says there wasn’t a Plan B until the original proposal foundered and everyone on the board was committed to that. But since then growers have made it clear they want a co-op. “As soon as we can get a name that is attractive and ideally without “wool” in it then we’ll talk to that name rather than ‘Plan B’.” The intention is to work with other entities in the wool industry, including Wool Services International, though Shadbolt won’t say much more than “we’re very interested in WPI”. “It is partly-owned by growers currently and it was 100% owned by growers in the past. It’s an indication of how our models have failed us and how

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we’ve got to be more determined and more organised and more capitalised in what we put together for the future.” Shadbolt is reluctant to commit to a timeline – but says work like this always seems to take longer than anticipated. “I will say that May and June in the wool industry will be a signifi-

cant time because we’ll see DisCo (Wool Board Disestablishment Company Limited) payout and that’ll go back to the growers to decide where they put that money. “There will also be Wool Service’s Plum Duff’s shareholding decided by the receiver and what happens with the Commerce Commission around Cavalier’s interest

in Wool Services and then ultimately what we do alongside Wool Equities, Elders, Primary Wool Services and the other players in the industry. “We’re working hard at it all together and we all know what the ultimate goal needs to be in the wool industry and I think the timing’s never been better.”

Plan A problems addressed THERE WERE ‘probably six or

eight clear reasons’ why the original capital raising efforts by Wool Partners Co-operative failed, but the new co-op model will address those, says WPI board member Mark Shadbolt. “There’s some anti feeling towards PGW, people thought we were paying them too much,” he says. “I think it’s clear now that PGW fully support grower ownership and George Gould’s made that quite obvious.”

Shadbolt also believes the entry and exit value of shares was another major concern among growers, along with what he calls confusion created by other people in the industry opposed to WPC. A surge in wool prices also impacted on support for the proposal, he says, with some growers believing their price problems were over so there was no need for change. He believes that view is short-sighted. “The signal that we get from the market is that there is concern

about the rapid rise of the price and the instability it’s creating and the difficulty it’s creating for manufacturers to set prices and to make money. “We’re seeing some manufacturers who’ve been very passionate producing 100% woollen products now moving to 50/50 and in some cases as far out as 90/10. They’re using the 10% of wool to claim it’s a woollen product and that’s not good for the long term stability of our industry.”

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Look to means to make cultivar choices – FAR ANDREW SWALLOW


mean data when making cereal sowing decisions will be more important than ever this year, says the Foundation of Arable Research. FAR released its 2011 Cultivar Performance

Booklet online late last month and hard copies should be arriving in levy-payers’ post this week. “The results we’ve seen this year are quite unusual because of the weather we had during the growing season,” explains FAR’s Rob Craigie. “It wasn’t an easy season

for our trials.” Some top performing cultivars, such as winter wheat Wakanui, still ranked highly but others which have been stalwarts over the years succumbed to the unusual conditions. Craigie says it would be wrong to write them off because of one bad year and urges growers to base

decisions on four-year mean data. “That’s one of the key messages really.” Strong winds in December caused lodging and slashed yields in cultivars such as Savannah and Claire, while warmer weather than usual in November and December rushed crops through

Don’t just look at last year’s data when making sowing decisions this season, says FAR.

their growth stages, disadvantaging later maturing cultivars. “Einstein and Excede performed a little better because the season suited them. When you look at

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[top yielders] Wakanui, Phoenix and Richmond, there’s not that gap there has been in the past.” In the barleys for autumn sowing stalwart Tavern did well while

relative newcomer Booma – coded as CRVA125 in last year’s booklet – did well too. “It’s similar to Tavern but a bit more resistant to leaf rust and net blotch.”

Tough season say contractors AGRICULTURAL CONTRACTORS are hoping next

season will be kinder to them after one of the toughest seasons in years, says their association executive director, Roger Parton. “I think those involved with either hay or balage and grass cutting have found the weather particularly difficult getting the crop dry and ready.

“The season seems to have gone on longer than normal and that has been because the weather has delayed the planting of crops in particular,” he told Rural News. The economic recession caused problems too, with many contractors having to wait longer to get paid. Paton says like every sector of agriculture, contractors are used to good and bad times and try to make provision in the good times to cope with years like this one. There’s been no drop in overall numbers of contractors, and possibly a slight increase, he adds.

Tractor maker rides out tsunami ripples ECONOMIC RIPPLES caused by Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami have impacted on tractor manufacturer Case New Holland. Despite predicting component supply disruption caused by the catastrophes would cut revenue $US300 million to $US500 million and operating profit $US40-60m, the group still predicts 10% revenue growth this year. The supply disruption is mainly expected in construction equipment, which made up $US700m of CNH’s $US3.8bn turnover during the first quarter of this year Agricultural equipment sales of $US3bn for the quarter were 17% ahead of the same period last year – a 28% rise in Europe and the former Soviet Union off-setting the near standstill in Latin America.

Rural News // may 3, 2011



Questions raised over online organic cert Vivienne Haldane

ORGANIC FARMERS have another option for certification, but serious questions have been raised about its validity. Taranaki-based Barbara McPhillips set up Organics Online earlier this year aiming to provide a low-cost alternative to existing organic certification. “I’ve heard many people say they’d like to gain organic certification, but thought it too costly,” McPhillips told Rural News. “I wanted to create an achievable alternative.” McPhillips runs an organic farm and retail business near New Plymouth and sees Organics Online as cutting through what she views as ‘unnecessary red tape’— enabling people to more easily gain organic status. Organics Online uses a selection panel to oversee the certi-

fication process. Currently the panel is McPhillips and commercial agriculturist Jodi Roebuck. The organisation also has a team of four advisors. Having attained Organics Online certification, producers can use its logo on their products and in approved forms of advertising. Instead of auditors and peer reviews, producers will be only required to supply two referees. On going support will be provided by on-line advisors. Referees, plus the selectors, will have authority to go on to a property at any time to ensure producers are complying with organic standards. Organics Online presently has just one fully- fledged member, but McPhillips is optimistic that more will come on board. “It’s early days and I see it as provid-

ing an opportunity for people who may not achieve organic status through existing agencies.” However, industry body Organics Aotearoa New Zealand

(OANZ) says it has serious concerns about Organics Online’s certification process, specifically the apparent absence of any production standards that licensees are required to meet and the lack of robust and independent audit process. In a recent OANZ newslet-



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ter, board member John Kembell says he is “strongly in favour of as many people as possible getting involved in organics” and would welcome the new group, but first he’d like to know more about what the certification entails. “Looking at their website gives no indication of what they understand by organics or what their certification means. I hope I’m wrong, but it seems to be a case of another group reinventing the wheel.” McPhillips says Kembell’s points have been taken on board. “I will clarify a few points on my website. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he said, but I found him very supportive. After all, it’s not a competition: it’s simply making organics available to more people.”




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THE EMISSION Trading Scheme (ETS) is not well understood by many farmers yet it could be worth thousands of dollars to them, says Alexandra-based accountant George Collier. He has teamed up with the New Zealand Institute of Accountants to organise nationwide seminars to bring their members and other rural advisors up to speed with the implications of the ETS on farm forestry. “We think these professionals have an opportunity to add value to their clients,” Collier says. “It’s about bringing that understanding up so that’s why we’ve approached not only accounting members but also bankers, valuers, farm consultants and the Institute of Forestry – and I’d like to include some real estate agents too.” The seminars will particularly target pre-1990 forests and the $1.1 billion in carbon credits available for them up until November 30. The aim of the seminars is to simplify the scheme, demonstrate what the opportunities are and how to go about it. “We’re demonstrating the bankability, the financial models with and without ETS forestry and the legal obligations,” he says. For more information go to


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Rural News // may 3, 2011


Nine BEFA winners to go national THIS YEAR’S winners

from the nine regions participating in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards have been announced, but the 2011 competition is far from over, say organisers. The search is now on for a national winner with all supreme title

holders heading for a final interview and showcase dinner in Hastings in June. New Zealand Farm Environment Award (NZFEA) Trust general manager David Natzke says this year’s competition drew another outstanding line-up of

entrants from a broad range of enterprises. Interest in the national winner award is running high “and all the supreme winners have welcomed the opportunity to be part of this new award”. This year’s winning enterprises included four dairy farms, two sheep

David Natzke

and beef enterprises, one arable as well as two horticultural properties. Natzke says an interesting feature of this year’s awards is the rise in the number of dairy farm entrants, particularly in Waikato and Northland. “Dairy farming cops

a lot of negative press, but many dairy farmers are doing a great job and they want to show the wider community that they are proud of what they do.” Peter and Helen Gilder, managers of Landcorp’s Waitepeka Farm, southeast of Balclutha, were named winners of the 2011 Otago Ballance Farm Environment Awards, and Tauranga kiwifruit growers, Graham and Mavis Dyer, won the Bay of Plenty title. Eric and Maxine Watson, who run a 490ha arable farm, east of Ashburton, won Canterbury’s award, while Eketahuna dairy farmers, Rickie Morrison and Sharleen Hutching, were winners for the Horizons region. The top award in the inaugural East Coast Ballance Farm Environment Awards went to Takapau sheep and beef farmers, Steve and Jane WynHarris, while Sue and Shane Culham, who run Puripak Avocados Ltd, east of Whangarei, won the Northland title. Waimea Valley sheep

and beef farmers, Grant and Bernie Weller, took the Southland award, and Carterton dairy farmers, Ray and Lyn Craig, won in the Greater Wellington region. Tirau dairy farmers, Gordon and Pamela Blake and their son, Grant, and his wife, Lindsay, won the Waikato Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Natzke says the awards celebrate those people who use best practises to farm in a manner that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. Entries for the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards open later this year. Key sponsors include Ballance Agri-Nutrients, LIC, Hill Laboratories, Beef+Lamb New Zealand, Massey University and PGG Wrightson. The awards are also backed by regional councils. Support for the showcase is from trust partners, Fonterra, MAF, QE2 Trust, Federated Farmers of New Zealand and DairyNZ.

Smoking gun wins the game GOING HUNTING? Want to know how to dress,

skin and butcher your kill? Then Rural News has a couple of copies of the ideal book for you, or your partner. The Game Butcher: Wild about Meat is a new book by well known game hunter and butcher Darran Meates. Publisher Huia says it’s packed with over 250 colour photos and easy to understand instructions on how to deal with pigs and deer, including caping techniques, food safety information for game hunters, and recipes for venison and wild pork. Meates is the presenter of the DVDs Field Dressing Game Meat Made Easy and The Game Butcher’s Classic Step-by-Step Guide to ‘Hot Smokin’. He’s also appears on the online Internet programme, Outdoor Country TV, and has appeared on Campbell Live and in several newspapers and magazines. His new book went on sale in stores this week and online from at $45/copy. To go in the draw for one of Rural News’ copies, e-mail with “Book draw” in the subject line, or write to Rural News, PO Box 3855, Shortland Street, Auckland, 1140 and mark the envelope “Book draw”. The draw will be held May 11 and the winners announced in the May 17 edition.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011

world The NFU’s demands

UK dairy farmers lobby MPs and milk buyers BRITAIN’S NATIONAL

Farmers Union says it is “vital” dairy farmers lobby their MPs and milk buyers to ensure fairer contract terms and eliminate unfair commercial practices in the supply chain. “I want to make this quite clear – the dairy market in this country

is not working, which means that dairy farmers are losing out,” says NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond. “The British dairy industry should possess many advantages ranging from growing demand to efficient milk producers and a good climate for producing milk.”

Raymond says despite this the industry lurches from crisis to crisis and has suffered over a decade of underinvestment and low profitability. “For dairy farmers like me, undoubtedly the biggest problem is the one-sided milk contracts that we are obliged to sign with our milk buy-

ers. These contracts offer little to no certainty or clarity on the way milk prices are calculated. “They lock dairy farmers in for long notice periods of up to 18 months, provide no ability to supply milk to any other buyer and have no exit clauses to get out of a contract if the price

drops to an unsustainable level.” The European Commission recognises that contractual relationships between milk producers and purchasers are fundamental to ensuring fairness in the dairy supply chain, and has come forward with a package of measures, which




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unfair commercial practices and improve milk contracts. “A ‘do nothing’ approach will see dairy farmers continue to be deprived of their fair share of profits in the food chain.” That will perpetuate underinvestment, lower milk production and dairy farmers’ exodus from the sector, he adds. “This is a unique opportunity to bring about much needed change, and dairy farmers should seize it with both hands.”

AUSTRALIAN DAIRY farmers continue to voice their

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“For dairy farmers like me, undoubtedly the biggest problem is the one-sided milk contracts that we are obliged to sign with our milk buyers.” include improvements to milk contracts. Raymond believes they could make a real difference to the way farmers sell milk and negotiate with buyers. “There are some exciting proposals on the table which would strengthen dairy farmers’ position in the food chain and introduce new minimum standards for milk contracts across the EU. “It is vital that farmers call on their MPs and dairy companies to take action now to eliminate

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frustration with delays to a Senate inquiry into retail milk prices (Rural News, April 19). The Senate committee looking into the ongoing supermarket milk price war says it will now present a final report on October 1. Committee chairman Senator Alan Eggleston says it is aware the inquiry has generated considerable interest and understands many parties are awaiting the report. However, timeliness has to be balanced by quality of analysis. “Many of the issues which are the subject of this inquiry require ongoing scrutiny. “There are complex interactions between farmers, processors and retailers; and short-term effects may differ significantly from medium-term effects.” The committee also wants the Government to respond to a previous inquiry, which tabled its report on May 13 last year. Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation president Brian Tessmann says the industry is extremely frustrated by the delays in implementing solutions to the milk price war, which was started by supermarket chain, Coles. “We understand that the Senators have an extremely difficult task with this inquiry... [but] the longer the delay the greater the impact on dairy farmers and their families.”

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Rural News // may 3, 2011


Uncle Sam’s beef gaining market share in Korea “The success we’re seeing in South Korea for US beef is extremely US BEEF is making in- gratifying,” says USMEF roads into Australia’s president Philip Seng. stranglehold in the South “It wasn’t that long Korean market. ago that public sentiment In 2009, Australia’s was very unfavorable market share of Korea’s for US beef,” he notes. imported beef, based on “But, with the support value, stood at 51.8% ver- of Checkoff dollars and sus 33.9% for the US. the USDA Market AcThis year, Australia cess Program (MAP), holds a narrow lead of we have devoted signifi45.6% to 42.6%, accord- cant resources to an aging to latest figures from gressive “Trust” imagthe US Meat Export Fed- ing campaign – now in eration (USMEF). It says its second phase – and South Korea consumers proactive partnerships continue to show their with prominent Korean growing acceptance of retailers and foodservice US beef by boosting outlets. We’re seeing the their purchases by 121% fruits of those efforts.” in volume and 142% in South Korea banned value for the first two US beef in 2003 after a months of 2011, reaching case of BSE or mad cow 28,150 metric tons val- disease was discovered ued at $US120.2 million.  on a US farm.  At the Sudesh Kissun


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massive protests in Korea initially but consumers are slowly re-embracing the products. According to USMEF, the boost in US beef exports for the first

failed US attempts at reopening the Korean market imports resumed in July 2008. The re-entry of US beef triggered

two months this year has been recorded in “every significant export market” compared to 2010. It says US beef exports in

February reached 89,787 metric tons valued at $US371.7m. For the first two months of 2011, those totals are 179,460 metric tons valued at $US727.3m, increases of 24% in volume and 45% in value. Mexico, South Korea, Canada, the Middle East and Japan are the top five export markets. Mexico leads the way in volume and value, importing 40,542 metric tons valued at $US151.6m, increases of 3% in volume and 22% in value over last year. USMEF says this key market continues its rebound from the global economic slump that affected it more profoundly and for a longer period than many nations. 

Farmers’ unions form new global body ALAN HARMAN

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time, South Korea was the third-largest purchaser of US beef exports – with an estimated market value of $A815 million/ year. After a number of

more than 40 countries are linking to create a World Farmers Organisation (WFO). The aim is to bring farmers and co-operatives together to exchange ideas, find solutions to global food security issues and focus attention on – and protect – farmers’ interests around the globe. WFO will be based in Rome to build a strong relationship with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation. A WFO general assembly will convene later this

year to discuss food security, environmental, trade, and education and research issues. Britain’s National Farmers’ Union policy director Martin Haworth, a key player in the discussions to form the organisation, says farmers worldwide are faced with huge challenges to increase food production but to impact less on the environment. “Their return from the market is also shrinking given the huge buying power of the retailers and rapidly rising input costs,” he says. “We need to improve farmers’ economic viability and positioning in the food chain in order to

ensure a dynamic and competitive agriculture sector throughout the world. “We can help do this by working together to find a common voice, finding solutions through improved knowledge transfer and embracing new technologies.” The Washington-based National Farmers Union is also a founding member with its president Roger Johnson saying many farmers in other countries are facing severe difficulties resulting from climate change and misguided government policies. “Farmers around the world need to come together as a group to ensure conditions do not get

worse for these producers,” Johnson says. “We will need as many family farmers and ranchers as we can get to meet world food demand.” Federated Farmers president Don Nicolson told Rural News he was surprised by the latest WFO development. “There’s been no recent approach to be part of any organisation,” says Nicolson. “It does look to be all Northern Hemisphere nations at present.” Provided the WFO’s costs are kept reasonable, and the organisation’s objectives agreeable, then there is no reason why Feds wouldn’t join, he adds.

Rural News // may 3, 2011



MLA moves to boost lamb sales marketing, Glen Feist, says with lamb prices holding firm, now is the time to educate and inspire chefs, butchers and consumers on how to get the most out of lamb us-

ing less expensive cuts, to ensure the Australian love affair with lamb continues. “We want to inspire people with ideas from around the world where they are great at turning less expensive cuts - like shoulder, neck, rump,

mince and ribs - into delicious meals,” says Feist. “Most Australians are hesitant about cooking cuts they are unfamiliar with, like lamb shoulder and rump, preferring to

cook tried and true traditional Australian favourites such as lamb legs, chops and cutlets. Feist says most Australians are generally unaware of what can be created from the less expensive non-loin cuts. He says the Lamb Master-

pieces and Racking up your profits are a great step in educating chefs and butchers that cuts such as neck can make a delicious lamb ragu or lamb moussaka at an affordable price for consumers. “We are targeting chefs and retailers initially, as we know consumer home-cooking habits are influenced by what they eat when they’re out and what they can buy at their local butcher or supermarket. “We hope the programme will continue the success of previous MLA foodservice marketing initiatives, such as those that helped promote the lamb shank - a cut once known by many as a bone for the dog - to a popular lamb cut at foodservice and now at home.” He says as these cuts and meals become more popular and widely available at foodservice and retail, consumer marketing efforts will be ramped up accordingly. Lamb Masterpieces is currently being rolled out

Aussies hike farm spending AUSTRALIAN FARMERS are spending up large with National Australia Bank (NAB) reporting a 10% surge in asset finance for the first quarter of this year, compared to 2010. “Improved production conditions, high commodity prices and the strong Australian dollar reducing input costs have put farmers in a strong position to upgrade machinery and equipment,” says NAB agribusiness

general manager Khan Horne. “We’re expecting even more capital expenditure activity in the lead up to the end of financial year.” Horne says avoiding the weather-induced difficulties of last summer’s harvest, when contractor delays left many with grain in the field, is also driving sales. Buying equipment outright is not the only option. Horne urges

farmers to consider lease or hire purchase, as well as borrowing. “It’s also essential to explore the pros and cons of locking in interest rates prior to delivery, hedging currency movements and matching payment cycles against cashflow. “For many operations this could also mean prioritising debt reduction, topping up superannuation and contributing to Farm Management Deposits.”

to chefs across Australia, educating the foodservice industry on getting the best cooking outcomes from less expensive lamb

cuts, while Racking up your profits is helping butchers maximise their returns by adding value to different cuts.


“There is a wide range of cuts that can be turned into fantastic meals to suit different tastes, occasions and budgets.”



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WITH LAMB prices rising steadily, there are moves to raise awareness of affordable cuts available to secure lamb’s place on Australian menus. Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) is rolling out new programmes designed to keep lamb consumption going. MLA says beyond its borders lamb necks are used make a moussaka or a lamb shoulder for an aromatic lamb pasanda. Locally, the popularity of non-loin cuts such as lamb shoulder, neck and rump is gaining momentum with two new initiatives from MLA aiming to keep lamb on the table at homes and in restaurants, despite strengthening prices. It is looking to global flavours to inspire Australian butchers and chefs to venture beyond lamb back strap and cutlets to other equally tasty, less expensive cuts, through its ‘Lamb Masterpieces’ and ‘Racking up your profits’ programmes. MLA general manager


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Rural News // may 3, 2011


NZFSU – Olam aiming for outright ownership

(Vacancy 11-18)

six-member board, Graham Wong, says shareholders should await receipt of the target company statement before making any decision. “Under the Takeovers Code, Olam is expected to send to shareholders the offer in the next two weeks, and NZFSU will then issue a target company statement,” he says. “The target company statement will include an independent appraisal report on the merits of the offer, or a summary of that report.” Olam says its offer will be unconditional on opening. NZFSU

The Department of Agricultural Management and Property Studies in the Faculty of Commerce invites applications for an academic appointment in Agricultural Engineering. We are seeking applicants who can identify, develop and implement innovative solutions to real-world agricultural engineering problems.

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by a New Zealand firm to invest in farming overseas looks like being completely sold offshore itself. Singaporean conglomerate Olam has reinstated

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ness last year comes with a warning that a planned rights issue would dilute shareholding. Olam plans to raise $125 million to fund a new business plan to salvage the business and repay a shareholder loan. One of two independent directors on NZFSU’s

Lecturer in Agricultural Engineering

In order to apply for this position, you will need: • Strong academic credentials, excellent communication skills and preferably teaching experience in agricultural engineering. • The ability to stimulate, encourage, facilitate and supervise student learning. • To demonstrate research capability or potential that contributes to the Department’s research programme and to research that will inform and underpin the teaching programme. • Varied and extensive industry experience and the ability to develop strong and effective working relationships with agricultural engineering and professional organisations. Appointment within the Lecturer range will be commensurate with relevant qualifications, skills and experience. Initial enquiries can be directed to Richard Stevens, Head of Department of Agricultural Management and Property Studies [e:] For further information on this position and how to apply, go to our website or contact Human Resources on +64 03 325 3687. Applications for vacancy 11-18 should be accompanied by a covering letter, application form and CV and must be received by 12pm on 9 May 2011. Lincoln University is committed to a policy of Equal Opportunity in Education and Employment

shareholders will be paid within five days of their acceptance. NZFSU shares, which were trading around 56c before Easter rose 27% to 70c/share after the Olam offer last week. Olam says its offer represents a 25% premium over the 3-month average trading price of 56c. It also points out shareholders have the ability to sell their NZFSU shares in volume. “Trading in NZFSU is very illiquid, with no trading occurring on more than half the trading days in 2011 and an average of less than

IF YOU know what life insur-

ance cover you need – and most farmers should be able to work that out – then a new online brokering service could save you a packet, claims its instigator. Des Morgan, who has 30 years in insurance, launched website earlier this year. He told Rural News he’s targeting farms because they have some of the highest premiums – and hence most to gain from reduced commissions. “The average consumer might pay $2000 to $3000/year in life insurance. A lot of farms are paying $20,000/year premiums.” Morgan says insurance cover is essential for farmers where

On road to foreign ownership... New Zealand Farming Systems Uruguay is facing a full takeover bid by a Singaporean company.

$4,500 worth of shares traded daily over the same period,” it says. “The offer also provides an opportunity to sell their shares before they are called upon to participate in any planned rights issue or face the prospects of being diluted.” NZFSU, which operates Uruguayan dairy farms using New Zealand dairy farming techniques, has struggled in recent years. For the six months

funds may be required to assist children who eventually want to take over the family farm, or buy out siblings who elect not to be actively involved – not to mention cover in case of illness or death. He adds that farm owners may choose to cover key workers too so funds for replacements are readily available should they be incapacitated. On a $300/month life insurance premium most brokers will get $5000-$7000 commission, but by using the internet his costs are slashed so significant savings can be passed onto clients who complete their own needs analysis online, Morgan explains.

He adds that websites like and can help clients work out appropriate cover levels, as can most accountants. “The onus is on the client to complete their own needs analysis and identify the amount of life insurance which meets their own circumstances. In return, we discount the commissions by a minimum 50%.” Morgan uses Pinnacle Life as the first port of call for life insurance quotes, because he says they offer the cheapest term life insurance rates on the market. However, he has agencies with all the major insurers.

I’m ASB and I’m proud to support the backbone of New Zealand’s economy. You. This country was built on the hard work of its farmers, and we pride ourselves on playing our part in supporting the rural community. It’s where our rural teams live too, and you’ll see us all over the country at local events: Field Days in Northland, Central Districts, Lincoln, the Wanaka Show and Mystery Creek Fieldays. We’ll be hard at work helping you create the future you want for your rural business. And you can be sure we’ll put our backs into it. See you at the events, or call us today on 0800 787 252 or visit

ASB Bank Limited.

ending December 2010, the company reported a loss of $US1.2m. The poor performance prompted Olam’s takeover bid last year. Since its takeover, Olam controls the board and appointed a new managing director. Under Olam’s new business plan, NZFSU hopes to become profitable in 2012-13. In 2009-10 year, NZFSU farms produced 68 million litres of milk.

Rural News // may 3, 2011



Attitude key to turning a profit profit focus takes considerable effort, but the good news is that it can be a very short journey if they have the right attitude. In fact, if there is one attribute that is the key to being a successful farmer I would say it is “having the right attitude”. OK Floyd, that’s pretty simplistic. What does it actually mean? And does it really matter? Well, I have watched many farmers go from desperation to success and observed the changes they have made. You can almost see their success attitude grow as they tackle the key aspects that I call the Five Ds. At first glance it might seem all five roughly amount to the same thing, but each of these related qualities serve a different purpose in the achievement of success: Desire You have to long for something and be able to visualise achieving it. Desire points you towards identifying your vision – the first step in the eCOGENT Process. Dedication Dedication is your commitment to

the task. It involves devoting your energy to writing down your vision and objectives and ensuring they come about. Determination Determination is about being resolute in the face of the inevitable hurdles that will confront you. Gritting your teeth and keeping your eye fixed firmly on your vision gives the extra strength you will need at times. Diligence Being persistent, keeping up-todate with routine work, being thorough and consistent – these are all essential to your success. Discipline This is the strength not to be swayed from your strategic plan; the critical ability to be strict with yourself so you do not sabotage your longterm objectives by succumbing to short-term fads. Discipline, in this sense, is about being true to yourself and your vision. It is about giving your business the attention it deserves and also ensuring your family gets their fair share of your time. It is about sticking to important and non-urgent chores so they are completed before they become urgent

– servicing the water pump before it breaks down and causes a crisis. It is about keeping to your budget and not splashing out on a new tractor because it is a “bargain”. It is also about sticking to your holiday plans and not reneging because you “can’t afford the time”. Becoming successful using the five Ds may require you to ditch old habits. You need a system to guide you

Rural broadband costly by comparison THERE HAS been a lot of talk in the rural press about broadband and, in particular, the availability of broadband by satellite. Nowhere has cost been mentioned. In my case, I have satellite broadband through Farmside. The cheapest plan is approximately $67 per month, and it has increased 21% this year. For that, you get a 512/256 kbs upload/download speed and 500mb of data per month.

e weed

e ge n

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to new, positive habits that lead you away from the “produce more at any cost and hope you make a profit” culture of the past 20 years. High flyers among eCOGENT members consistently apply the Five Ds, and you can as well. It may sound daunting, but it’s not difficult and you can get plenty of help. • Peter Floyd is the Managing Director of eCOGENT ph 0800 433 276

Letter to the editor




s in




WHAT DOES it take to be a successful farmer today? Working long hours? Lots of P and N fertiliser? Plenty of supplementary feed? More stock? Regular pasture renovation? Heavy investment in technology? A few decades ago, I would probably have answered “Yes” to each of those questions. But not any more. As the current farming season draws to a close, I keep hearing some leading farmers saying they have made yet another loss. These are people who have embraced industrial farming technology with high running costs and lawnmower pastures, and some have even been recognised for that with farmer-of-the-year awards. Yet despite all the technology at their disposal their true profitability is dismal. They tell me they are frustrated and often disgruntled that they’ve been sucked into the production science mindset. Turning this around to a positive

Rural News

Friends in town have 1mbs of speed and 1Gb of data per month for $30. A similar plan by satellite would cost over $102 per month. Satellite broadband may be available in most rural areas, but as you can see, it costs a lot more than what our town cousins’ pay. Alasdair Drew Marlborough

More letters – pages 25 & 26


Rural News // may 3, 2011

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‘Hatuma knows how to get the best results with their product.’ TRACTA HLW37355-RN

Sheldon and Nicola Martin, Sheep and Beef Farmers, Rangiwahia

Rural News // may 3, 2011 

 



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


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  





















        

  


 






  

 

  






 

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Rural News // may 3, 2011

opinion/hound Editorial

Zero risk only standard WHAT IS the point of consultation, review panels, submissions and expert scientific advice when a decision by a Ministry appears to ignore everything that is put before it? Right now that is the question pig farmers will be asking themselves in the wake of MAF’s decision to relax import health standards for pig meat. The other question they will be asking, is why? Talk to overseas pig producers, and they ask the same question, albeit off the record if you own up to the fact you’re a journalist. Why on earth would you take the chance of letting a disease like Porcine Reproductive Respiratory Syndrome, aka PRRS, or worse, get into your country? they ask. In a previously unexposed herd it can cause 75% losses and productivity never recovers to its pre-infection level. It is also highly contagious. Both MAF and Biosecurity Ministers Carter, and Anderton before him, have said time and time again New Zealand has to base its import standards on science. Agreed. What’s not so often mentioned is that import standards are also based on probability, or statistics: in this case the likelihood of a disease like PRRS getting in on the 3kg cuts of imported fresh pork that MAF believes it would be safe to retail without treatment. MAF says the probability of PRRS getting in on such cuts and infecting a pig is “miniscule”. And if everyone plays by the rules, they’re right. The problem is; rules prohibiting the feeding of raw pig meat scraps to pigs cannot be effectively policed, particularly at the lifestyle / backyard porker level. What’s more, many such pig owners will have no idea what the rules or risks are. Even if MAF were to launch a massive publicity campaign to educate them, it would fail to reach some. While others would inadvertently – or knowingly – ignore it, thinking the risk’s so low, it won’t happen to me. But it only takes one of the estimated 50,000 backyard/lifestyle block pigs in the country to chow down on a trimmed piece of meat carrying PRRS and it’s established. From that one pig, every herd in the country would be infected within three years, it has been calculated. The domestic industry would be decimated and never recover. Importers would have a field day. The fact MAF even admits there is a miniscule risk of PRRS getting in is worrying. For such infectious diseases the standard should be zero risk. For the pork industry to have to take the Ministry to court, as beekeepers did before them, to try to make such common sense stick, is a sad and costly day for all concerned.

“His stock firm was just sold to a Chinese company!”

Not such a dog’s life

FROM AUSTRALIA comes news implying women like dogs better than men. Australia’s largest pet survey (see of 80,000 owners reveals “an astonishing 80% of women spend more on their dogs than on their significant other, compared to 63% of men who treated their pup over their partner”. Dogs also get more of their mistresses’ time than do men. What’s new about that, your old mate would like to know? Women are known to like all sorts of things – animate and not – better than men. Mind you, seeing Mr Ogilvie’s attitudes in Rural News’ last issue, Australian women might have more reason than most.

WPC aping the classics?

TOMORROW, AND tomorrow, and tomorrow, wrote Shakespeare in his play Macbeth. In a fortnight, in a fortnight, in a fortnight, say Wool Partners directors with regards to Plan B. But then Plan A had two extensions before it was finally declared dead so I suppose the current delays are true to form.

Fuel move electioneering

SO MINISTER Joyce (pictured) isn’t going to whack us with another 1.5c/litre fuel tax in July after all. Seems despite Labour’s woeful attempt at opposition to Government, National isn’t taking anything for granted when the ballot boxes go out in November. Mind you, I’m not complaining. The cost of the fuel to get to the pub these days is almost more than what your old mate spends on beer when he gets there!

Crash trying to happen

ONE OF the Hound’s mates, driving last week on a country road, followed a “middle-aged, white-haired male” riding an ATV fit to bust. Apparently the elderly adventurer was pulling away from the Hound’s informant – despite the latter cruising at 105km/h. “No amount of regulation will solve this attitude to safety,” my mate mused. But maybe a hefty whack in the pocket by way of an ACC levy would.

Cream receivers

A LITTLE birdie tells the Hound that the receivers of the Crafar estate are creaming thousands of dollars a week in fees out of the farms. For what? Paid security to patrol the perimeter and keep Crafar out? This mutt doubts Korda Mentha big-wig Michael Stiassney is spending much time in the shed milking cows or improving the capital value of the farms by straightening fence posts. The best home for those farms is Landcorp, but Korda Mentha continues to hold out for the big overseas buyer, paying themselves handsomely in the meantime. The sooner they sell the better.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011



Science questions status quo WHETHER YOU call it farming, agriculture or primary production; whether you name it conventional, biological, organic - or whatever other term to try and indicate a point of difference - it is biology… with physics and chemistry. This means that there are natural laws that can be understood whatever the system is called. New Zealand has a comparative advantage in primary production. It has a relatively benign climate (warm, moist and with relatively long growing days) and relatively young soils. These soils tend to be deficient in phosphorous, but once this is corrected (for example with superphosphate) legumes can flourish. Legumes use the energy derived from the sun to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere. Fixed nitrogen is biologically available to MO and animals in amino acids and proteins. Nitrogen fixation is, however, an energy demanding process, and is dependent on environmental

conditions. Nitrogen-based fertilisers (created using electricity) are used in some systems as a more predictable short cut to stimulating energy capture from the sun and providing protein for microorganisms and animals. Management within the environmental conditions has allowed development and maintenance of what, by overseas comparisons, are high organic matter (OM) topsoils (over 8% in pasture, for instance). All systems are a matter of balancing inputs and outputs within the environment. The Government desires productivity growth, as well as a significant reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG, both carbon and nitrogen derived). Analysis of carbon footprints shows that per kilogram of product, efficient use of inputs, in any system, works to mitigate

GHG emissions. Good farmers, whatever their system, have ways to help reduce environmental impact (barring accidents and natural disasters). In New Zealand there is a growing movement suggesting that ‘natural’ is the way to go. Various systems and products are being marketed with success stories of soil, animals and people being ‘better’ and ‘healthier’. Scientists are being accused of being ‘closed-minded’ and ‘refusing to engage in investigation’ of ‘new’ approaches. These claims are not supported by objective evidence. Science questions the status quo. An open mind is a prerequisite, and when new facts are revealed, reinterpretation is required. Scientific research progresses understanding based on the best evidence possible. It requires systemati-

cally controlling variables so that cause and effect can be attributed directly. Biological eco-systems are deeply complex. Furthermore, it takes considerable time for a system that is changed by, for instance, an addition or removal of fertiliser, to re-equilibrate. Research in the 1990s investigating the effect of stopping superphosphate addition showed no effect on production for 3-7 years. The speed of cycling of nutrients within a system can hide what is happening/about to happen. Good research is expensive and public money must be spent with care. Logic suggests that there are no free lunches. Although some alternative systems are providing data to support claims, interpretation requires comparisons with controls (with ‘business as usual’, for instance), an estimate of confidence (variability) in the data, and objective rather than subjective data – animal weight rather than condition score –

for instance. There also needs to be some details of how the research was done, including management (time input and stocking rate) and over what period. Destocking can, for instance, allow soil carbon to increase, reduce pressure on the remaining stock and make life easier for the farmer, but won’t help productivity and might also increase GHG per kg of product. It will also increase the area of land needed to produce food. ‘Natural’ systems in the past developed into the current ones because higher yields were possible. New Zealand could return to older systems, but food costs would increase as yields tend to be significantly lower. More sensibly, we can use the best components of all systems, to sustain the supply of great New Zealand food from a great New Zealand biological environment. • Jacqueline Rowarth is Professor of Pastoral Agriculture, Massey University.

Letter to the editor Biosecurity concerns

IT WAS revealing to read the Minister’s rather petulant reply to Federated Farmers’ comments on biosecurity (Rural News, April 5). What has happened to this Government’s lip service to the principle of “user pays”? Or is it politically correct to classify the victim, the hard-working primary producer who stands to lose his livelihood through the actions of others, as the “user”? Where are the proposals to set up a compulsory levy on all importers, graded according to the risk involved in their activities? Their actions cause the problems. They should fund an insurance scheme to deal with it. John G. Rawson, Whangarei

Let’s get down to business

15-18 June 2011



Rural News // may 3, 2011


Science works! IN RESPONSE to Rural News’ editorial 19 April 2011, “Science needs to step up”. What is biological farming? It is an endeavour to increase the biological life of the soil. However, biology is only one of the four important factors for growth and production. The other three paramount factors are mineral, moisture and sunlight and you need all four functioning together, to achieve the best result. Over the past 20

years I have seen biological and organic farms struggle to produce good quality food due to the lack of mineral input. Feed the “soil-biology” mineral and they will feed the plant, which in turn feeds the animals and humans. That is the science of nature. Talking science, approximately 18 months ago we approached scientists from Ruakura asking if they would be interested to research an anecdotal situation, measured with an impe-

rial ruler, where we had increased the topsoil depth of a Northland farm from 2 inches on a clay base, to 12 inches – over an eight-year period. They said they were unable to do this, because they weren’t interested in “back-fill” science. I already knew the answer was, “plenty of mineral and heaps of microbes.” Attached are the results of a scientific study conducted by independent scientist Dr. Andreas Kurmann,

of Northland, showing our Rok Solid fertiliser yielding 50% more dry matter compared to the chemically fertilised, next door farm. Who said we couldn’t produce scientific results! It’s hard to believe in this day and age, that the chemical fertiliser industry is still pushing a theory which is not only 170 years old, but is also in direct contrast to today’s consumer demands! John K Morris Agrissentials

This preliminary study compares the quality of grass with different fertilisers applied:

Elements measured within different grass samples

Medium range (%)

Levels found with urea & chemical fertilisers

Levels found with Levels found with Rok Solid applied Rok Solid applied for for 4 yrs & Oceans the last 6 yrs 100 with G T Boosta on for 4-6 days

Dry matter





Total organic matter





Crude protein





Digestibility or ME





Soluble Carbohydrate





These preliminary findings suggest the longer the Agrissentials’ programme is in place the bigger the increase in all factors over the chemical programme. (Results printed with permission from Far North Envirolab who are conducting this survey.)

Fertiliser overwhelmingly beneficial JOHN MORRIS’S statements (Rural News, April 5 2011) that, “Dr Doug’s theory is 170 years old” and that “It (one assumes the practice of using chemical fertilisers to correct nutrient deficiencies and increase plant growth) is causing damage to the planet wherever it is applied”, cannot go unchallenged. First, it is not my theory – science does not belong to any person. Second, soil science and plant nutrition have progressed over the last 150 years – it is no longer theory but proven fact that plants need 16 nutrients. And most importantly using fertilisers to enhance and maintain soil fertility is overwhelmingly beneficial. The Broadbalk field trial at Rothamsted, UK, is the longest experiment conducted in soil science. It commenced 161 year ago and shows that wheat yields have increased from about 1 tonne/ha in 1850 up to about 10 tonnes/ha in 1980. This increase is as a result of fertiliser inputs, new cultivars, and improved weed and pest control. It also shows the effect of organic fertilisers (manures) is no better or worse than chemical fertilisers when applied to give the same nutrient inputs. There are other examples from long-term trials which show the same effect (see Edmeades D.C. 2003. The long-term effects of manures and

fertilisers on soil productivity and quality: a review. Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems 66: 165-180). This is called progress through the application of science and technology. It is this same progress that allows people to live longer and healthier lives than ever before in our history. Regretfully the importance and value of science to society is being eroded in our modern PC world, where all opinions must be given equal value irrespective of the scientific evidence. It is this farcical situation which allows unproven alternative medicines to sit on the same shelves as proven medicines. It is this conundrum which allows farming magazines to run ‘stories’ about homeopathy or fertilisers which work via magnetism, both of which science refutes. And of course it also means that Mr Morris can advertise his products as “best on earth fertilisers” even though science says they are not even fertilisers (useful and cost effective sources of plant nutrients). With regard to Rural News’ editorial April 19, I echo that “Science needs to stand up”. Regretfully this is not likely while the CRIs remain a ‘house-divided’ between financial profits and public good research. Doug Edmeades agKnowledge Ltd Hamilton

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Rural News // may 3, 2011


Big bucks to be had from pre-1990 trees Tony Benny


with pre-1990 forests could miss out on tens of thousands of tax free dollars if they don’t apply for compensation payments under the Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), says forestry consultant Stuart Orme. The ETS is not well understood by many farmers and there’s been some very poor advice given, says Orme, a speaker at a forthcoming series of seminars aimed at helping rural professionals get to grips with the scheme. “They forget to tell people that there’s the compensation payment amounting to in excess of $1.1 billion at the mo-

ment and if you’ve got pre-1990 forest, you’re captured by the legislation whether you take the compensation or not.” Under the scheme, landowners who have trees planted since 1990 can claim carbon credits from 2008 onwards. But the rules for pre-1990 plantings are different and if owners want to change the land use – say cut down the trees for a dairy conversion – they’ll be taxed. “The Crown understood that was an impingement on peoples’ rights so they came up with the Forest Allocation Plan (FAP) which offers compensation to landowners,” Orme says. Landowners with less than 50ha in pre-1990 forest have until Sep-

“There are 55 million carbon credits available for compensation. At $20 a pop, that’s $1.1 billion.” tember 30 to apply for an exemption that allows them to cut it down and never replant it. For those who don’t want to harvest their forests, there’s the opportunity to claim compensation. “Because the Crown quite rightly says ‘well, if you’re going to leave that land in trees forever then it probably has a mate-

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rial effect on the price of the land’, so instead of paying out compensation for that perceived loss of capital value in dollars, they’re paying it out in carbon credits.” And those carbon credits are tradeable – farmers can sell them to other businesses. “There are 55 million carbon credits available for compensation. At $20 a pop, that’s $1.1 billion – and we’ve just done a sale this week at $20.25 and the best sale we’ve done in the last six weeks was $21. “Because it’s compensation for perceived loss of capital value, if you sell those credits, the revenue from them is tax free – it’s substantial.” Orme says most farmers underestimate how many trees they have and their potential value in compensation payment. He says one client thought he had only 3ha of pines but once poplar, willow and eucalypt amenity and stabilisation plants were added up, the total was 87ha of pre-90

Landowners could miss out on compensation under the ETS, says consultant Stuart Orme.

forest. “He wasn’t going to do anything because he thought it was a crock but he had 5220 units times $20. The tax free value of that to him if the rules don’t change is $104,000,” Orme says. “He can collect those credits and then he can sell them and he doesn’t ever have to pay the carbon back.” Under the rules, Orme says there haven’t been many clients’ farm homesteads that couldn’t be classified as pre-90 forest and it’s even been possible to include swimming pools and tennis courts.



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“If you choose not to take the compensation for pre-90 forest, it’s your God-given right to be an

idiot – that’s the beauty of living in New Zealand. People just don’t understand what it is worth.”

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

view all

doconnormp: Newsflash gaggle of gays & commie unionists’ foil attempts by middleaged, white, straight, West Coast man from getting on Labour’s list. dcarterminofag: World’s top agriculture minister suggests disgruntled Labour ag spokesman change teams & bat for other side! dnicolsonfedfarmers: Feds used to be an outdated, toothless, useless, irrelevant lobby with a falling membership. Thanks to my efforts now we’re just toothless, useless, irrelevant and with fewer members. rhidemp@donbrash: Hey Don, can you give me back that knife I lent you a while ago? donbrash@rhidemp: Rodney, have a look in your back. Knife duly returned. Warm regards, Don. rnormangreenmp: It is outrageous that Chinese buyers could end up owning NZ farms. It is almost as bad as an Australian, ex-union official leading a political party in this country! wpetersformermp: Unemployed pensioner and long-time beneficiary stirs up wave of xenophobic scaremongering over Chinese intentions for dairy industry in desperate attempt to find re-employment on November 26.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011



Ezicare sheep lambing 150% For some, easycare sheep just means no shepherding at lambing. But to the Morrison family, Rangitikei, it’s a whole lot more. Peter Burke reports FERN FLATS, near Marton, Rangitikei, has been farmed by the Morrison family for six generations. They’re highly successful and well known Hereford breeders but they’ve also developed a unique type of sheep which is increasingly earning them kudos. The business, Morrison Farms, is owned by John Morrison, his cousin Graham, and sons Richard and William. William runs a 500ha

hill country block near Hunterville which complements the main 1000ha property at Marton. It’s stocked with 300 recorded Herefords, 1700 ewes and 550 replacement ewe hoggets. A major focus for him, and indeed his extended family, has been the production of the ‘Ezicare’ sheep. “Our objective is to have a ewe which has no belly or crutch wool and requires no dagging, re-

quires just once a year shearing and which docks at 150% lambing.” The sheep’s genetics are effectively 45% Wilt-

shire, 45% Texel and 10% other, mainly Poll Dorset. “It’s non breed specific. Each year we go to the industry and we buy a high performing ram of no specific breed and these go to our nucleus flock and out of that flock we use the best performing rams over the rest of

our commercial flock,” he explains. The aim is to produce high quality, high value prime lambs that grow quickly and yield well. A key difference to other breeds or composites making such claims is less wool management: there’s none on the face,

legs or belly. The Morrison’s also sell about 150 purebred wiltshire rams. But sending as many 17.5kg rams off to the works before Christmas as possible is the main objective. William finishes about 20% on the hill country and the rest go down to


Fern Flats to reach prime condition. The Hereford bulls are sold almost exclusively to the dairy industry under the Ezicalf brand. “It’s essentially a breeding - finishing operation. We do trade a bit, but only if there is extra feed available.”






Much travelled Massey man William Morrison was schooled at Palmer-

ston North before completing a degree in applied science at Massey University. On his return the family farm at Marton was soon expanded with the purchase of a neighbouring property. He’s spent most of his working life on the farm but has travelled the world to look at farming systems elsewhere, notably in Australia, the US, UK and Europe. “When I was in Australia, I worked as a jakaroo on a property with Hereford cattle in Queensland. When I got there I found that the cattle lived in the bush and we spent most of our time irrigating and making lucerne hay and delivering that.” He did a Kelloggs leadership programme in 2010 and was selected to visit Japan with a group of young farming leaders. He’s also done a New Zealand Institute of Directors’ course and been involved with organising local Beef & Lamb New Zealand events. Having had such a range of opportunities has yielded an excellent insight into the primary sector, he says, which helps him as a farmer and in future may do so with industry leadership roles. But for the moment his primary commitment is to the family farming operation and he’s enjoying the challenges that offers.














Rural News // may 3, 2011


Hooked on Techno farming Beef & Lamb New Zealand has made much of the potential to improve on-farm productivity in the run up to the Red Meat Sector Strategy release later this week. Peter Burke reports from a recent field day it ran in Rangitikei looking at one system which can do that JACK BRICE is hooked on Techno farming. His property near Marton is living proof running what could be called an unconventional system can deliver considerably better than the traditional. His farm is 162ha of flat to rolling country along Fern Flats road just out of Marton. Thirteen years ago he ran a Hereford stud and several other enterprises. “I had an advisor come and he had a look at the farm. There were a lot of small paddocks; some of the fencing was getting old; nothing was

square – it was all odd shapes because it was fenced around creeks,” he recalls. “It was getting to the point that I was running that many different breeds and types of stock that it was a problem. I had polled Herefords and stud sheep, fat lambs, friesian bulls, steers… you name it I had it.” He recognised what he had was just too complicated, and it became obvious a lot of fencing needed renewing. “Strip grazing was difficult because the troughs were not well situated for this type of operation.” When the idea of Techno

farming was initially put to him, he was sceptical. But he soon warmed to the idea and the transformation of the farm from conventional to techno took place over about three years. It was quite a radical move to pull out all the conventional fences: there was no going back. Today, it’s all electric fences which Jack moves every two days throughout the year. There are many advantages. For example, strip grazing is easier because troughs are along the fence line. But there’s more to it than that. Jack says he’s been able to virtually double his stocking rate. The initial set-up cost was about $180/ha. He believes this investment has paid off. He’s retained his Poll Dorset stud, but nowadays trades cattle which are ideally suited to his farm and his Techno system. He runs an all grass system with no supplements and

is a fan of fescue. “Not many other people like fescue but it suits me fine. I can manage it which is an issue for other people.” Conventional systems with maybe one or two paddocks of fescue among ryegrass and whatever else struggle to prevent it going to seed, he ex-

plains. “But with my system I can keep on top of it.” Clover is also big for Jack and he grubs out rather than sprays weeds. His highly modified farm bike is his best mate. It looks a bit like a lunar-landing craft but the various rigs allow him to go over, under and through

his eclectric fences. More importantly, the bike, which is part of the Techno farming package, means he can set and reset his fences with ease. For Jack there’s no going back to the “conventional”: Techno is doing just fine for him.

Super-bike: Jack Brice’s quad is a key element of his farm system.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011



A dog trained without sheep tony hopkinson

Cameron Scott has been dog trialling since the mid 1990s. His early dogs learnt their craft in traditional ways as Scott worked on a range of North Island properties, then some South Island high country stations. However, his current top dog, Bear – which he’ll be taking down to the North Island Championships at Masterton in June – had a very different introduction to the sport: she was trained without sheep on a small suburban section in Tauranga. “I thought having no sheep would be a hindrance, but it was actually a blessing as it made me think outside the square,” Scott told Rural News. Games of fetch replaced hard running on the hill to take the edge off her energy. To make her concentrate on commands to go forward, right or left, these were taught with her on a stool and plank walkways raised off the ground. “I did it all with treats and gentle coaxing. She didn’t get rewarded for stuff I didn’t want her to do.” With those core commands mastered, at about one year old, Bear finally got to drive a few sheep, and Scott set to work combining direction with sound. “It’s tricky but exciting when it all starts to click together.”

These days Bear gets to work with about 350 trading lambs and a few cattle that Scott and wife Tracy have on their 15ha lifestyle block at Whakamarama, north of Tauranga. Her first major success came last year when she won the zig-zag hunt at the Goldfields, Paeroa. And this year she won the zig-zag and was runner up in the straight hunt at Opotiki. When not dog trialling, Scott works for a property development company owned by his father, after giving up the station lifestyle to go on his OE in the early 2000s. On his travels, he caught up with Tracy, a primary school sweetheart. She had moved away to Texas with her parents while still at school, but their families kept in touch and when they met up again, the rest – as they say – is history. They married in 2003 in Texas and six months later returned to settle near Tauranga. Despite leaving the station life, Scott kept his interest in dog trialling and the experience of training a new dog without sheep spawned a sideline business, working with urban dog owners and their pooches. (See www.thedogwhistler. “I jokingly say it is sometimes five minutes with the dog and two hours with the owners.” But he admits he still hankers after the farm lifestyle and could be


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heading back that way soon – subject to finding the right position. He puts his choice of farming as a career down to his grandfather, Harry Strang’s influence. “My Granddad came from that background and he had a big influence on me and my life.” After a couple of

North Island jobs, he moved south and worked on Mount Nicholas, Nokomai and The Muller, among. And it was in the south where he tasted success at Island Championship level – landing third in the zig-zag and fourth in the straight hunt at St Bathans in 2001, followed by a third in the

zig-zag at Blenheim in 2003. Those results were with Bear’s mother, Sam. While Scott is reluctant to admit it, he believes Bear could be just as good. “She’s four-and-a-half and just hitting her straps. But the proof of the pudding is in the results, so we’ll find out in June.”

Cameron Scott and Bear.


Rural News // may 3, 2011

animal health

BVD still being overlooked NEIL KEATING

WITH THE bull sale season about to get into full swing, BVD remains the big animal health issue to watch for when buying, says VetSouth Southland veterinarian Neil Hume. This ‘hidden’ disease especially effects fertility, lowering conception rate, increasing embryo losses and abortions, stretching out calving, and raising empty rates, stillbirths and congenital birth defects. Unless a sure route is taken to get a good animal, the risk is great that bovine viral diahorrea – BVD – will be ‘imported’ into a herd. Hume says the message has still not got through to many farmers. “We have to keep saying it over and over again: BVD can turn up, especially if you haven’t followed the rules when buying.” Carrier bulls are the single biggest cause of

infertility when they introduce the infection at mating. Blood test-positive bulls will be carrier bulls and should be culled. Negative bulls will be ‘clean’ and they should be vaccinated before mating to prevent them being infected by cows carrying the virus. “Bulls need to be blood sampled to establish they’re free of the disease, then vaccinated,” Hume explains. “There are huge implications in not taking a sure route to this expensive and important acquisition.” He says the risk is highest for the farmer who hires two or three bulls from a neighbour. “We see a lot of surprises: outbreaks of aborting heifers and empty heifers. And the worry is you can’t always trace it back to the source. Sometimes a bull will turn out to have been free of BVD, but maybe the virus has come in through faeces or on truck tyres.

“Bulls need to be blood sampled to establish they’re free of the disease, then vaccinated. There are huge implications in not taking a sure route to this expensive and important acquisition.”

AHB recruiting to reduce Tb THE ANIMAL Health

Board says nearly 100 “expressions of interest” in new possum and ferret ground control contractor positions have been received following advertising. “We received a large and diverse range of applications from some highly qualified and promising potential pest control

Buying a bull?

Clean bulls: Make sure your supplier has done the necessary tests and be prepared to vaccinate, says vets.

contractors,” says Robert Allen, AHB Contracts Manager. Allen says the call for contractors complements AHB’s updated TB control strategy, which aims to eradicate the disease from wildlife across 2.5 million hectares known to be inhabited by TB-infected wild animals,

such as possums and ferrets. Already three contractors from the responses have been assigned to possum and ferret ground control programmes. Allen adds that once interest is confirmed from potential new entrants to the industry, the AHB may help them become qualified contractors.


“We know of 3040 farms signed up for BVD monitoring through bulk milk. It can come as a complete surprise when you’ve signed an agreement for [annual monitoring] and the disease comes as a bolt out of the blue,” Hume adds. “In Southland the vast majority of herds have high antibodies. “You might, for example, see a herd of 200 heifers in which 50-60 abort and 40 turn out to be empty. Or you get a higher empty rate than anticipated.” Hume acknowledges the work of Control

Watch also for: • Leptospirosis, bovine tuberculosis and EDL (Escherichia coli 93 3). • Soundness of feet. • And be sure to check the bull’s ‘wedding tackle’: check genital soundness and size. Eve n ask to see a bull serving a cow. Says Neil Hume, “A small percentage of bulls may look fine but can be sub-fertile or infertile.” BVD, a campaign led by Wanganui vet and farmer John Pickering, which was launched in 2005 at a Wellington symposium that drew 100 people: practice vets, animal health industry reps, herd improvement groups and regulators. BVD was then

reckoned to be present in 60% of the country’s dairy and beef herds. Where it’s headed remains to be seen but Pickering says eradicating BVD is believed possible and has nearly been achieved in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011


animal health

AHB calls on farmers to lobby councils councils have set aside the lesser amounts of money, but these can be changed if there is strong

that needs to be done in an area west of Lake Taupo – which is in both THE ANIMAL Health regions. He says a lot of Board has money and effort launched a major has been invest“We are worried that if campaign with ed in eradicating farmers to get we can’t implement a Tb in wildlife in Ecan, Environthe area. full programme in the ment Waikato “We are worand Horizons region then some of that ried that if we regional councils work will be undone and can’t implement to increase their a full prowe’ll risk having higher gramme in the funding of bovine Tb control. region then some numbers of infected The AHB sent of that work herds in the future.” nearly 30,000 will be undone letters to cattle or and we’ll risk public support for an deer owners, including having higher numbers increase. Each council lifestyle farmers, in the of infected herds in the raises money for bovine three regional council future,” he says. Tb control from a levy areas asking them to While McCook says imposed on people who make a submission to the additional amount their respective council’s own land larger than being asked for looks big, Draft Annual Plan to pro- 2ha in the case of EW the fact is rural people and Ecan and 4ha in the vide the level of funding are paying for it and the Horizons region. The requested by the AHB. individual impact on levy applies regardless of landowners will not be It wants Ecan to whether or not landownincrease its proposed great. Last year Horiers own cattle or deer. annual funding from zons did a survey which AHB chief execu$500,000 to $782,000, showed strong support tive William McCook Horizons from $550,000 for the funding. told Rural News that in to $750,000 and Envi“Every dollar conboth Horizons and EW ronment Waikato from tributed by the regional case there is important $650,000 to $864,000. council, it’s matched possum control work Currently the three by about eight or nine peter burke

Deer farmers are among those requested to submit to on their regional councils’ plans by AHB.

dollars from the industry and central government. So in fact it’s a very good investment for the regional councils because it attracts all this other funding and allows the Tb programme in their region to be advanced significantly,” McCook adds. He says the AHB campaign is designed to ensure that farmers are aware of the issue and put in a submission to their council. With each letter sent there is a ready-made submission form and a freepost envelope addressed to the respective councils.

Duck shooters, Farmers – Ensure ALL dogs are dosed for sheep measles at least 48 hours before going on or near sheep pasture For more information contact your veterinarian, phone Ovis management 0800 222 011 or go to

MAF’s dog welfare reminder MAF SAYS the conviction of a Northland dog owner/farmer is a reminder to all dog owners about animal welfare. “When you are responsible for an animal or animals, the obligation to care for them and keep them healthy is yours,” says MAF Compliance and Enforcement Director, Geoff Allen. “It is pretty simple really – feed, water and exercise your dogs, monitor their condition and seek veterinary treatment for their well being if needed.” Allen’s comments follow Joanne Bailey and Waipu Farms Limited being convicted in Whangarei District Court for failing to meet the basic needs of dogs under the Animal Welfare Act 1999. The defendant was disqualified from owning or exercising authority over dogs for two years from the sentence date, March 1, 2011. In July 2009, MAF Animal Welfare Investigators, SPCA inspectors and Police searched Bailey’s family residence in Taipuha, Northland. Five dogs were seized and taken to Whangarei for veterinary examination. One dog’s nose had damage

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consistent with insulation tape being wrapped around the muzzle for a considerable period of time, while similar damage was found on the lips of another dog. The vet said this method of stopping the dogs from opening their jaws would have caused serious and prolonged pain and suffering. The vet also noted, after further physical inspection of the dogs and information from MAF about the property, that there was inadequate

water available to the animals, while food and water bowls were dirty and unhygienic. Shelters were not regularly cleaned, nor were faeces and urine regularly removed. Overall, the environment the dogs were kept in was damp and unkempt, with poor ventilation and access to the outside world, which predisposed them to serious risk of respiratory and intestinal disease. One of the dogs was later euthanized on humane grounds.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011

animal health

Tips to target cow condition FARMERS SHOULD

treat the dry cow period as a time to ensure stock are in optimum condition for next season – not as time off, says a British ruminant nutritionist. Pre-calving weight, nutrition and trace element reserves can have a significant impact on conception, delivery, calf health and lactation, explains Dr Cliff Lister – a speaker at the recent Dairy Business ConCliff Lister ference in Rotorua. Lister says a healthy “To ensure cows get back into calf, the winter fibre intake not only keeps rumen bugs happy, period must be managed but enables the rumen to correctly... spring back after the calf “Cows should be fit is born – reducing the and neither thin nor fat risk of twisted gut. Straw at calving with a body feeding also helps as it is condition score of five,” slowly digested, makhe says. ing cows feel full and Ideally cows should be at that target at drying encouraging microbial activity. off. Thereafter forage Lister adds that quality, not quantity, should be reduced to help trace element status is also vital in increasing maintain appetite and conception rates. But healthy rumen activity.

while many farmers are aware of the importance of nutrients such as magnesium in the lead up to calving, the practicalities of managing intake can be a challenge. “For example, water supply magnesium uptake in winter is often variable due to other water sources such as puddles being available and dusting is often difficult and impractical.” He says nutrient blocks such as summit Quinphos’ Crystalyx Dry Cow molasses block provide magnesium and other minerals in a more effective way, trickle feeding intake – little and often – without risk of overloading. “Replenishing trace element reserves precalving will also help optimise a cow’s immune response...  “Improving immune response means that your cows are better able to


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Quantity, not quality, is the key to nutrition for dry cows already at target condition score 5.

withstand a challenge, be it a disease, or simply the stress of birthing and milking.” Lister adds that under-conditioned cows

going into pregnancy will struggle to make up the deficit and simply won’t perform. “At the other end of the spectrum, fat cows

eat up to 20% less dry matter in late pregnancy and early lactation than fit cows, creating an increased risk of prolonged negative energy balance.

Parasite challenge can be factor too, says Pfizer BE AWARE of the impact – even at sub-clinical levels – that internal parasites can have on body condition, production and conception rates, says animal health specialist Pfizer. Trials show internal parasites can affect appetite and weight gain with consequent milk production and reproduction consequences, says the firm. “It is imperative to get cows up to the correct BCS at calving and removing parasites can aid in this.”

Pfizer cites a trial showing improved parasite control reduced calving to conception intervals in first-calf heifers by 12.9 days, with 19.9% more heifers pregnant at the first service. Other work using Cydectin Pour-On demonstrated increased milk production in the following lactation after either a dry-off or calving treatment. Early lactation weight loss of cows treated at calving was 14kg less than those untreated. It cites the reason for this as

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“Excessive mobilisation of body fat reduces fertility and in early lactation it increases the risk of fatty liver, ketosis and milk fever.”

persistent activity against parasites such as Ostertagia ostertagi and Trichostrongylus axei meaning cows don’t have to fight off ingested infective larval stages. Instead protein and energy that would have been mobilised from cow condition remains on the cow and/or is available for milk production and reproduction, Pfizer explains. Cydectin Pour-On has no meat, milk or bobby calf withholding period, is rainfast and also controls biting and sucking lice.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011


animal health

US research beef respiratory disease ALAN HARMAN


(BRD) and cattle feed efficiency will be targeted in a $US14-million research programme at Texas A&M University. The US Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which awarded the grants, says the two issues are of

vital economic significance to the cattle industry and are priority areas for improving cattle health and production. Scientists at the university’s College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences will lead the research on the $9.2-million BRD project and will be key participants in the University of Missouri led $5-million project aimed at improving feed efficiency.

Nutritionists form new association andrew swallow

CONCERNS THAT ruminant nutrition advice in New Zealand isn’t always what it should be have prompted over a dozen specialists to form a new body, the New Zealand Association of Ruminant Nutritionists (NZARN). “The main concern of the group is making sure there’s a balanced debate,” spokesman and Canterburybased dairy business consultant James Hague told Rural News. “A lot of the information that’s around on the feeding of dairy cows is just wrong.” Despite New Zealand’s reputation for being a leader in pastoral production, average output from grass is pretty poor, says Hague – who has been working in New Zealand for two years following 15 years with leading UK dairy costing organisation, Kingshay. “The majority of farms in New Zealand are not as good at utilising grass as they are in the UK,” he maintains. “Northland can grow 15t DM/ha, but many farms there are only utilising 4-7t/ha.” He says another factor frequently overlooked is the cost of land, which is particularly pertinent on farms with high debt. “Grass is probably one of the most expensive feeds when that’s taken into account.” By balancing the diet with complementary feeds such as maize silage and farming more intensively grass use actually increases on most farms. Meanwhile production leaps by up to 150-200kgMS/cow, spreading the farm’s fixed costs and reducing cost of production per unit output. “We’re about complementary, not supplementary feeding,” Hague stresses. In its inaugural statement, NZARN says it will meet regularly to discuss and seek consensus on topical issues for dissemination to industry, as well as share experiences in the field to raise the standard of practice amongst its members. It also aims to be a reference point for government, industry bodies, commercial companies and to provide a balanced view to address public concerns.

NZARN’s aims

• Promote understanding of basic ruminant nutrition • See good ruminant nutrition prin ciples put into practice • Improve efficiency and profitab ility in the ruminant industry through improve d nutrition • Integrate members ideas, thou ghts and advice with other industry groups • Make ruminant nutrition a key part of holis tic improved farm performance • Promote continuing professiona l development among rural professionals • To be the primary point of cont act regarding ruminant nutrition mat ters For more see

Prof. James Womack is the project director for the five-year grant to help reduce the incidence of BRD in beef and dairy cattle, which now causes annual losses of more than $690 million in the US alone. He says the researchers hope to accomplish the goal of reducing the incidence of BRD through the identification of genetic components that provide resistance to pathogens that cause the disease.

Many viruses and bacteria play a role in BRD, also known as shipping fever or simply pneumonia. Even a mild case of BRD can set the stage for infection by other pathogens, weakening the immune system and making the animal more susceptible to secondary infections. Symptoms include discharge from the nose and eyes, fever, coughing and respiratory tract lesions. Animals affected with severe BRD may

have so much trouble breathing that they cannot eat or drink. Womack and his team will work with commercial feedlots to analyse the DNA of more than 6,000 cattle and develop selective breeding programmes based on their research, which will result in improved animal health management strategies and understanding of the biological interactions between host and disease-causing pathogens.


Rural News // may 3, 2011

animal health

Pleased with result of pour-on SWITCHING TO pour-

on lice control and autumn shearing has helped Otago farmer Blair Halder boost his lambing percentage 5-10%. Ewes flush better for the ram without wool, and pour-on lice control means he can treat in autumn without worrying about the effect it may

have on tupping, he explains. He uses Elanco’s Expo pour-on, released two years ago. Prior to that he used Expo’s parent product, Extinosad Dip, which Elanco says doesn’t have the withholding period and residue issues of conventional organophosphate dips.

“That lack of smell and no residues had always appealed with [dip] Extinosad and we pretty much started using it over the usual dips from the day it was available,” says Halder. He says the pour-on has the same benefits with the advantage of greater flexibility.

“We see no signs of lice or of rubbing almost straight after treatment.” Halder also appreciates Expo’s ease of flow through the gun at a relatively low dose rate. There are no problems with over-dosing and application is quick and simple. Lice in general do not present a major headache

Blair Halder says autumn shearing has boosted lambing.

in the Halders’ Coopworth-Texel and Highlander flocks, but he says he prefers to take precautions, regardless. “You could probably get away for a year without treatment, but if you do get it in your ewes and

your lambs get it too it is a hell of a lot of work to treat them all then.” Elanco marketing manager Bill Hewitt says besides Expo’s nil withholding for meat or wool, low odour and minimal human health risk, it offers farmers a valuable rotation option to existing insect growth regulator (IGR) lice control treatments, and a timely replacement for the Synthetic Pyrethroid (SP) dips that are reaching the end of their useful life. “Farmers are aware that SP product effectiveness is limited by resistance development and there is plenty of scientific evidence to support this. SP resistance was well documented in lice populations in Australia and New Zealand back in 1997. The risk of lice resistance to SPs has certainly not declined since then”. Using Expo as a pouron lice control option will

help farmers stave off the same fate as IGR products now forming the bulk of the lice pour-on treatment market, he adds. “Just as drench resistance is providing a greater challenge to sheep farmers, lice resistance is increasingly putting currently used compounds at risk.” Protection from Expo is rapid, and in trials, zero lice levels were recorded a full eight months after off-shears application. Like many sheep farmers at present, Halder is cautious about the industry’s future. Meantime on the farm he is not planning any major changes, other than considering pushing some more Texel bloodlines into the flock to muscle up lambs sooner. “It is something we will have to consider doing especially if we continue to see these dry summers with little autumn growth.”

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The Halders moved from Dipton to Tuapeka, near Lawrence six years ago, seeking a bigger property under one boundary – rather than the two distant farms they had further south. The farm’s rolling contour and greater scale makes management simpler and more flexible for Blair and his father Ian. The family operation focuses on the 5500 flock, consisting of 4500 Coopworth-Texel composites and 1000 head of Rissington-sourced Highlander ewes plus replacements and trading cattle.


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The Highlanders with their strong maternal traits were introduced by Blair four years ago to lift lambing percentages, with them averaging 155% most years, approximately 10% above the Coopworths’. Blair says while the meaty Coopworth-crosses may have a slightly lower fecundity, they tend to be easier to finish earlier than the Highlanders through late summer dry periods which the area can be prone to. The move to Tuapeka has seen them include wintering 200 dairy cows in the system, providing some useful cash flow from areas destined for regrassing in spring.

Rural News // may 3, 2011


Machinery & products ‘Steep’ and ‘tractor’ in same breath THE WORDS ‘steep’ and

‘tractor’ don’t usually occur in the same sentence in New Zealand. That could change, says the local distributor of the Swiss-made AEBI Terratrac steep-terrain tractor. This low-slung, multi-purpose machine can open up a raft of steep-country opportunities, say Gavin and Sue O’Donnell of Motueka. They found it after a worldwide hunt for a vehicle that could safely work the steep country on their own property. Convinced by its safety, environmental sensitivity and extensive capability, they formed Slope

Solutionz Ltd to market it here. “A lot of steep terrain work in New Zealand that has been too hard until now will be able to be carried out economically,” O’Donnell says. The Terratrac is a 4WD and four-wheelsteer machine that can be steered by the front, rear or all wheels. It has a very low centre of gravity, various traction options and the ability to crab-steer. So it’s “superbly nimble on steep slopes, no matter what implements it is carrying,” O’Donnell says. “A torsion central differential splits the drive force evenly among the

four wheels. This means the axles are always balanced and you have high traction. Traction can be increased with optional front and rear twin tyres, and the use of selectable individual axle diff locks.” O’Donnell has been contracting in Tasman region where landowners “have been astonished” at what the Terratrac can do. Operating features include electronic weight transfer hydraulics, separate front and rear PTO shafts, and a front three-point linkage lifting frame with side shift and high lifting capacity. Weight transfer

AEBI Terratrac at home on a rocky hillside, using four-wheel steering capability. All wheels can also be turned in the same direction, providing crab-steering.

electronics automatically detect the precise hydraulic pressure required to keep implements in constant contact with the ground without transferring unnecessary force to sensitive surfaces.

To page 38

Even does waratahs TONY BENNY

A SIMPLE new post puller from Strainrite proved a hit

at the South Island Agricultural Field Days. “We showed them there for the first time and the feedback was great,” says general manager Brian Collins. “We got a lot of forward orders.” The post puller is an advance on simply looping a chain round a post and lifting it out with a loader. It has a steel plate that creates a choking noose and locks securely on the post, preventing the chain from sliding. “People like to use machines to pull posts and it’s pretty common for fences or posts to be removed. “Our post puller makes it extremely efficient if you can use a machine and hook on to the post effectively.” The heat treated plate is tough, as is the 10mm tested chain. The plate also has a star shaped slot for pulling out waratahs. On the chain’s other end is a link for attachment to digger or loader.



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Rural News // may 3, 2011

Machinery & products

New name, same tractor TONY HOPKINSON



tractors, ten years a staple in the Power Farming



lineup, have had a name change to Kioti. “It’s the same tractor made in the same South Korean factory,” says Kioti and Iseki product

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umbrella the machines were branded Daedong for the Korean domestic market and Kioti for exports. They’ve always been Kioti in North America and Europe. “With the company’s blessing we chose to go with Daedong for New Zealand and Australia,” Brett says. But now all exports are Kioti. Says Brett,“We’re now doing a major re-branding exercise and with parent company help are confirming our place in the New Zealand tractor market, one we’re determined to expand.” The Daedong Company set up in 1947 in South Korea. It makes a range of tractors, rice planters, cultivators and harvesters, and walk-behind tillers. The company is Korea’s largest maker of diesel engines, with 45% of the market.

The company makes its own heavier castings and transmissions for the tractors – no imports, precluding currency fluctuations and supply problems. “Ten years ago we started with two models: 35hp and 45hp, both with manual transmissions. There are now 20 different models available from 22-100hp with options including hydrostatic transmissions, wet clutch and power shuttle. They can also be supplied with factory made and fitted front loaders.” In Australia sales were 1100 units in the 2010 calendar year. “The Koreans are aggressive marketers and, with their support through our company, intend to dominate the compact tractor market and be the major player.” www.powerfarming.

‘Steep’ tractor From page 37

The operator decides how much of the weight of an implement should be carried by the tractor, and the computer-controlled hydraulics will maintain that equilibrium. All this can be operated with one hand on a multifunction control lever. Further functions of the onboard computer, including comprehensive fault diagnostics, are accessed by the touch of a button. Good external controls are available for operating the hydraulics outside the cab, O’Donnell says. And, unique in New Zealand, lifting and lowering of the working implements can be programmed to happen automatically when the tractor is being turned around. The Terratrac can run almost any equipment a conventional tractor runs on standard three-point linkage.


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Rural News // may 3, 2011


Machinery & products

Chisel cuts, mixes, levels vertically Plains (US) Turbo-Chisel combines cutting, mixing and levelling. It works soil vertically, rather than horizontally. Sizes from 2.7-5m working width. At the front are 560mm turbo coulters which slice residue like a straight blade but can mix it like a wavy blade due to the flute patterns on the coulter. These are mounted on a hydraulically controlled tool bar at 190mm spacing, mixing to 150mm deep. The coulters are then followed by two rows of parabolic chisel shanks at 760mm spacing for each row, giving a spacing of 380mm working to 200-280mm deep. This split deals with compaction layers and resets

the soil profile. The shanks can be set at the same depth for each or different depths to suit soil needs. All shanks have a tripping strength of 1111kg, automatically resetting when tripped. These are followed by a rolling chopper reel which cuts residue perpendicular to the direction of travel, crumbling the soil for a smooth finish. “We recommend a minimum 150hp depending on what depth you want the machine to work to,” says Origin South Island sales manager Darryl Chambers.

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GPS moves K-Lines, flies planes TONY BENNY

GPS GUIDANCE pioneer Tracmap

is in expansion mode. It plans to help New Zealanders raise irrigation efficiency, and in the US is setting up a distributor network to market aviation navigation systems. Locally Tracmap is known for GPS guiding sprayers and fertiliser spreaders. Says manager Lance Nutall, “It’s designed by a New Zealand farmer for New Zealand farms as opposed to systems imported from the US or Australia. They tend to be for large, flat farms.” He says farmers can cut 15-20% off fertiliser bills using Tracmap, which paints a map showing where a spreader has been to avoid overlap. The GPS units are robust, water- and dust-proof and easy to use. They mount in trucks or on ATVs.

Now, for pod irrigation the company has a product to track daily shifts in irrigation lines. “It eases staff rostering,” Nutall says. “You can have multiple people moving K-Lines because we preset the placement of those lines into the

GPS head unit. All that’s needed is to move up to the line and drop the K-Line row on that line.” Tracmap can also monitor travelling irrigators and track where ef-



fluent is being spread. If an irrigator fails, the unit can shut the pump down to limit ponding. Meanwhile Tracmap has adapted its GPS guidance units for aviation. “Essentially it’s the same unit with a light bar attached, and a whole lot more smarts in behind it,” says Nutall . “The feedback says it’s easy to use compared to other stuff. Pilots just want to fly and the fewer things they need to concentrate on the better, so this system’s easy for them.” Company founder Colin Brown has taken the aviation system to the US where he’s getting good feedback. What’s needed now is a distributor network. “You’ve got to be there in their face all the time so we need people on the ground there. If [Americans] don’t hear from you in a few weeks they tend to forget you because there’s someone else coming up the drive.”






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Rural News // may 3, 2011

Machinery & products

Pre-ripper deals to ‘concrete’ A PRE-RIPPER used on a Masterton mixed farm for dealing with heavily compacted stubble pregrassing is described as “magic” by its owner. Supplier Farmgard says David McKay, farming sheep, cattle and crops, was at first sceptical the job would be easier with a pre-ripper added to the front of his Celli spikes rotor. But it worked, the company says. “After the pea crop came out of the paddock we had a wet season, then we grazed the sheep in there which packed the ground down even further. By the end of summer it was almost like concrete.

“I wasn’t confident it would do a better job as I didn’t think my tractor would have enough power to run it.” His doubt abated when he started to work the ground with the pre-ripper, gaining tractor speed – 1.8km/h to 4.7km/h. “I was impressed by the quality of the paddock finish and the ease of the job. “The tractor had been struggling but when we added the pre-ripper it didn’t have to



295 290

New Holland T7.270 Tier 4A SCR DLG-Test 12/2010 - DLG Powermix Average Fuel Consumption


Average of 4.6% volume of AdBlue consumption not included. NewHollandT7270_e.pdf

280 275 270 265 260

Profi test 08/2010 - DLG Powermix John Deere 7530 Premium Autopower Average Fuel Consumption


Profi test 04/2008 - DLG Powermix Fendt 820 Vario Average Fuel Consumption

255 Average Fuel Usage g/kWh

work as hard and used less diesel.” The Farmgard pre-ripper fits most common makes and models of power harrows, spikes rotors and rotary hoes and works particularly well in tandem with the Celli spikes rotor. It breaks up hard pans and aerates soil easily, allowing single-pass cultivation. Height-adjustable, it works to 200mm deep. Adjustable linkage positioning allows the seven-leg ripper to be aligned in front of the cultivator to achieve a “perfect, slightly coarse seedbed,” the company says. McKay uses the Celli spikes rotor on its own for most work on his 225ha property but has added the pre-ripper to work another tough paddock. “Both times the pre-ripper has gone extremely well, exceeding my expectations.” The pre-ripper can remain on the cultivator when not required. For this, the shear pins are simply removed to allow the pre-ripper’s legs to float.

Tow-along sheep yards APOLOGIES TO readers and Hecton Products for the incorrect telephone number under our story (RN 490, page 37) on the company’s transportable sheep shearing and drenching plant – ‘Tow-along sheep yards…’. Hecton Products’ telephone number is 03 215 8558

NEW T7 AUTO COMMAND™ THE MOST FUEL EFFICIENT CVT OF IT CLASS Together with full emission regulations compliance, the new T7.270 with Tier 4A SCR engine brings you:


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More electric fence options, it just gets easier!

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Tomorrow’s technology you can already benefit from today. SCR will be the only technology able to meet the final 2014 Tier 4B regulations See your local New Holland dealer for more information Contact your local rural supplies merchant or phone 0800 266 258

Rural News // may 3, 2011



Popular, proven 1.3L Style, grunt at 6.5L/100km SUBARU’S NEXT generation Impreza has been unveiled in New York showing a new look, technical innovations, fuel efficiency gains and a refined cabin. This has soft-touch finishes and computerised data display. This symmetrical AWD Impreza has gained fuel economy with a new 2L Boxer engine. Highway fuel consumption is estimated 6.53L/100km. The car has the same exterior dimensions as the superseded car. It has a longer wheelbase, but shorter overhangs. And cabin space is bigger. For the first time, it can be bought with the maker’s Lineartronic transmission or a six-speed manual gearbox. Highlights include: New design such as “powerful” wheel arches, character lines, a larger glass area, hexagon grille and hawk-eye headlights. Spacious interior with wider door openings and lower sills. The windscreen has a steeper rake and a thinner A pillar. The instruments are mounted lower for a more spacious feel; a multi function screen with trip computer is mounted in the centre of the dashboard and larger exterior mirrors provide better sight lines. The engine has active valve control on inlet and exhaust valves, helping fuel economy. The wheelbase is 23mm longer, but the sedan and hatch’s overall dimensions remain unchanged. Back seat passengers have 50mm more leg room, more hip and shoulder room. There are larger storage areas and door pockets, and luggage space with the boot/cargo area big enough for three gold bags Strengthened suspension provides enhanced stability, agility and ride. Subaru New Zealand chief Wallis Dumper says the new Impreza is the product of an “exciting new design direction for Subaru that will be reflected in a whole family of vehicles.” “It’s also a technological leap, with an incredibly lean petrol engine, new Lineartronic transmission and other exciting technologies.” “And while most entrants in the small car segment have the same ‘me too’ front wheel drive formula, our new Impreza stands out with AWD on every model. It’s a great active safety feature and it brings the drive ‘alive’. There’s been a huge amount of work on handling and ride.”

AN OFF-ROAD favourite is back – modified specifically to meet farmers’ needs. It’s the familiar Suzuki 1.3L 4WD, now called Farm Worker. Says the company, “Years of reliable service in diverse and challenging environments testifies to the endurance and reliability of Suzuki’s 4x4 technology… with selectable high/low 4WD ratio.” The Farm Worker is a practical option to side-by-side UTVs, Suzuki says. More load space, better weather protection and better all-round comfort. “This is not a converted ATV, rather a work vehicle with carrying and towing ability and the

largest deck in its class (500kg load rating),” says sales manager Simon Meade. A full chassis supports the cab and wellside with leaf spring suspension on all four wheels. It comes standard with Maxxis Trepador tyres. Three variants are available: Versatile, Wellside and Flat Deck. The Versatile ($16,990) has a canvas roof and lengthwise rear bench seats. Suzuki says it expects this version will find many different uses, especially with the fully enclosed rear canvas and extra seating. The Wellside ($18,990) “opens another door of opportu-


deck can double as a workstation or carry-all surface, “making the Farm Worker an irreplaceable tool”. The Suzuki Farm Worker is not road registerable.

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Rural News // may 3, 2011


Keeping the faith for 46 years but soon changed to sheep and beef because the area is prone to summer dries. Spencers still have the second Ferguson 28 he bought; this sits in the shed alongside their latest models, MF 7465 and MF 5445, two MF conventional balers and an MF digger. The contracting business began with hay cutting, raking and baling, and grew into cultivation ploughing and giant discing for customers 50km from home. This included work on and around Auckland International Airport. All the tractors and implements are spotless. Bernard daily cleans and services all gear, regardless of time day or night. Mary, integral to the business, well remembers her first visit to the farm to meet Bernard’s parents. “His father took me aside to a shed. Tucked away in a corner were two tractors, including the first Ferguson 28. He told me these were my opposition, so I can’t say I wasn’t warned.”


A LONG-RUNNING love affair is the best way to describe Bernard and Mary Spencer’s association with firstly Ferguson and now Massey Ferguson tractors and machinery. Since Bernard began contracting, aged 14, he has owned 62 Ferguson or MF tractors, 22 Ferguson or MF conventional hay balers – four at the same time – and an MF 450s digger. Most of the tractors he bought new; only five Ferguson or MF were used. “We’ve lapsed twice into buying other brands; their name I’m not allowed to mention,” says Bernard with a smile. Bernard’s contracting began on his father’s Ferguson 24 with a Ferguson sicklebar mower. “All I did was cut hay for months in and around Papatoetoe where we lived.” When he was 16 the family bought a farm (80ha) at Ramarama where he and wife Mary still live; now the property is 160ha. At first the farm milked 20 cows

“I started on these and I’ve had no good reason to change. I like their reliability, their stability on the hills and if you need them you can always get spare parts.” They married in 1965, she deciding if you can’t beat them you join them. Bernard: “You can talk about all the contracting I’ve done but the best day’s work I ever did was marrying Mary.” Their advancing years have seen the business shrink, but they still work for a few long-time customers, one going back 38 years. “Why the love affair with the Ferguson brand?” Rural News asked. “I started on these and

I’ve had no good reason to change. I like their reliability, their stability on the hills and if you need them you can always get spare parts.” Spencers have dealt with a variety of suppliers as franchises have changed hands. Sometimes they have followed an agent with whom they have built a relationship. For 10 years they have dealt with Waikato Tractors, Hamilton, and its representative John Metcalf (aka John the Pom), in that time buying five new tractors.

Bernard Spencer on his Ferguson 28. Purists will note he has repainted the bonnet. Its original colour, of course, was grey.

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Rural News Group regrets the incorrect pricing displayed in the McKee Plastics advert in the April 19 issue of Rural News McKee Plastics, Mahinui Street, Feilding Phone 06 323 4181 Fax 06 323 4183 McKee Plastics, 231 Kahikatea Drive, Hamilton. Ph 07 847 7788 •

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Rural News May 3rd 2011  

Issue 491 may 2011