Diversification includes buffaloes for the Singh family. Pictured are Nicole and 11-month-old Mikka. See page 32-33
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COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
Beefing up trade with the UK Kia ora and welcome to another edition of Coast & Country News, jam packed full of news, features and intelligent commentary. I’d like to say I fit into the final category but as this is my first edition of Coast & Country News as editor, I suspect that might be a little ambitious. Ambition turned to reality this week with the Government inking a free trade deal with the United Kingdom, which will no doubt prompt wild parties in wool sheds up and down the country.
Before filling a red band with Veuve Clicquot and passing it around, it should be noted that agriculture, as always, is the one sticking point. Even so, the prospect of reduced tariffs and increased quotas being introduced over the coming 15 years for sheep and beef exporters is huge news and an exciting prospect for those in the industry.
Cheap blanc for the Brits
For most other exporters, tariffs disappear immediately. And what do the Brit’s get? Cheaper sauvignon blanc seems to be the media focus over there but they also get the ability to invest more money in New Zealand.
There is an immediate elimination of all duties on 97 per cent of New Zealand’s existing exports to the UK, including wine, honey, onions and dairy products. Beef volumes will increase from 12,000 tonnes to 60,000 tonnes, and for sheep meat they will rise from 149,205 tonnes to more than 164,000 tonnes, with completely free market access after 15 years. In this edition we delve deep into the rural heartland of the North Island to find the stories and ideas our readers want to hear about, including our cover story this week on the Singh family. With a story that starts in India more than 60 years ago and ends with warm buffalo milk today, it’s a great read and just one of many feature articles to keep readers entertained over the next month.
Hungry for news
Spring is a busy time on most farms but there’s always time to delve a little bit deeper for some quality advice. Coast & Country News has a huge line-up of columnists who are specialists in their field and happy to share free advice with our readers. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have anything to add to our next edition. We have a hungry team of reporters spread right around the North Island just waiting to tell a good yarn. Until then, enjoy your November edition of Coast & Country News and thanks for reading. Daniel Hutchinson
COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
More youth funded into sheep and beef careers Beef + Lamb New Zealand have signed a funding agreement with the Growing Future Farmers Essential Farm Skills Programme, helping attract and train more young people in the red meat sector. The GFF Programme offers a range of specialised industry training and development opportunities across the country including formal New Zealand Qualifications Authority qualifications.
The agreement will give enrolled learners a boost the GFF programme since its of $500 each in 2021. GFF will also inception. There is some receive a cash injection of $25,000 great agricultural training towards running the programme. happening all over “The future success of our the country, but we industry relies on attracting need more of it and talented and motivated young at a larger scale to people and equipping them keep our industry with the skills to be successful,” thriving. says B+LNZ chief executive “There’s a lot of Sam McIvor. experience sitting out “Farmers have told us how there in farm businesses important building the next ready to be shared. generation is to them and emphasised “We’ve definitely enjoyed that they wanted us to focus on initiatives that challenging ourselves, and found would build practical capability behind the farm gate, so B+LNZ is implementing that approach.” GFF chairman John Jackson welcomes B+LNZ’s support as a significant step in the growth and development of the Growing Future Farmers programme. “The success of this initiative is very much dependent on support from wider industry participants as it relies on our Farmer Trainers who sponsor our students in the workplace as they learn. “Currently, we have 45 student trainees on farms throughout New Zealand and are expecting to start a further 70 first year students in February 2022,” says John. Wairarapa’s Palliser Ridge currently has two GFF students. Farm manager and director Kurt Portas says the programme is a good transition for school leavers into the industry and sets them up well for their farming future. “At Palliser Ridge, we’ve been involved with
Fed’s back the blue duck Federated Farmers is once again championing the whio (blue duck) to take the Bird of the Year title. New Zealanders sticking to their home bubble under Covid alert levels should feel some affinity for this “plucky and endangered” native duck, says Federated Farmers environment spokesperson Chris Allen. “They also live rather isolated lives in the less modified catchments of the Urerewa, East Cape and central North Island, and on the West Coast of the South Island from Nelson to Fiordland.” Whio don’t quack but growl and whistle and they revel in clean, clear water. “That’s a state of affairs that farmers also strive for with their significant investment in fencing, riparian planting and covenanting of special areas of biodiversity,” Chris says. “We can relate to the whio. It’s a tough little guy.” Voting closed on October 31.
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the programme to have benefits for both us and our students,” says Kurt. This funding is part of B+LNZ’s commitment to investing in and supporting the growing, training and retaining of people in the red meat sector. “As well as having our own initiatives, B+LNZ collaborates with and provides funding support for other sector organisations to attract, train and retain the talent we need to drive the sector forward,” says Sam.
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COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
Is New Zealand going to ‘hell in a handcart’? Ruminations of an ‘old Fart’. Mr Google defines ‘Hell in a handcart’ as “to be in an extremely and increasingly bad or ruinous condition; to be on the inevitable path to failure or ruin.” I kid you not! Look it up for yourself. So, where do I start? There is much to talk about. Centralisation – or is it moving to state control. We are seeing increasing pressure to take everything away from the people councils, hospitals - and centralise into bureaucrats’ hands. Three waters is a classic example. Take all the assets away from council, centralise it, control it, borrow against it (did I read $140 billion by 2050) on the promise of reduced cost of water?
Centralisation of the DHB
Again, amalgamation of assets, more bureaucrats in charge, watering down the services. Local GPs are probably best equipped and most able to vaccinate their people whom they generally know, but oh no, DHBs have tried with very limited success and now we are facing a race against time to get the vaccination rate up. Private enterprise would have sorted it all out long ago. Now they have a strategy to let it go and hope that enough of us are jabbed! Dare I mention the poor old farmer! He has had his business hung, drawn and quartered with so much regulation. Some of the bigger operations employ somebody whose job it is to fill out
d Vote ST CHOICE
compliance stuff. Stuff it literally is, with no increase in real outcome or productivity. Thank goodness the payout looks likely to have an ‘8’ in front of it this year. If it was not for the farmers providing all the overseas income, this country would be in serious s..t. Every government department seems to have had a recent name change, to names most New Zealanders are struggling to understand. Then there is the eyewatering level of borrowing. There are no new schools, roads, bridges, hospitals or utilities in sight. Heaven help our grandchildren. Sadly, the flow of billions into our economy has provided easy money everywhere. A pet dog is now worth $5000 as a pup! Eh??
Shut out of the market
House prices have accelerated with the huge amount of liquidity. As a result, who has been penalised? The poor old first home buyers, who have been shut out of the market with prices too high and an inability to service the debt. With all these changes and new government departments, with names we struggle to understand, are there enough capable and suitably qualified
people to administer the entities or have they all got fed up and moved to Australia? I wonder. I notice the Groundswell Movement got conveniently ignored by government, but they are coming again on November 21 and all New Zealand is invited, so please join in. My final pitch is how the media have been silenced by the government with a $55 million advance. The top businesspeople were invited to Wellington at the start of the Covid outbreak for a ‘think-tank’ with government, and guess what, they all had to sign a confidentiality agreement that they would not disagree with government later. I dare not mention the 79 people employed in the government media team, let alone all the TV and radio presenters who are being silenced, or disappeared. What is going on? So, in summary, I am beginning to think Mr Google is probably right with his definition. I, like many others, worry about where this is all going. Are we going to ‘hell in a handcart?’ Disclaimer – these are the opinions of Don Fraser (an old Fart). Any decisions made should not be based on this article alone and appropriate professional assistance should be sought. Don Fraser is the retired Principal of Fraser Farm Finance and was a consultant to the farming industry for many decades. You can still contact him on 021 777 675
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COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
Forgotten no longer The ‘Forgotten World Highway’, SH43 between Taumarunui and Stratford, is now on everyone’s radar.
“It is a pretty cool part of the country and it is nice to be able to say you have been part of something significant.”
Twelve kilometres of the road through Tangarakau Gorge is unsealed – one of only two sections of state highway in the whole country that is still gravel. It is an important route for land owners in the area and it has become increasingly popular with tourists. Waka Kotahi / NZTA director of regional relationships Linda Stewart says sealing the road through the gorge will make it much safer for locals and visitors. “It will encourage more tourists to the area as many rental car businesses don’t let drivers travel on unsealed roads. “This project will result in many benefits for the community and the region as a whole. We know there will be lots of people happy to see it get underway.”
No shortage of volunteers
The sealing project is part of a $25.7 million package of works for the Forgotten World Highway funded through Kānoa – Regional Economic Development and Investment Unit and the regional package of the NZ Upgrade Programme. The contract for the first 2km of the sealing work has been given to Te Kuiti-based Inframax. Construction manager Stu Fraser says the project will kick off on November 3 and should be finished by mid-March. Waka Kotahi has not confirmed when the remaining 10km will be sealed. Stu says there have been no shortage of volunteers for the project, despite its distance from main centres.
No more flat tyres
Ian Balme is the founder of rail-cart adventure company Forgotten World Adventures and he is looking forward to the day the road is sealed, having been involved in the planning of the road improvements for several years. Customers were frequently getting flat tyres and other damage to their vehicles from the unsealed section of road. “We would be the biggest volume users of that stretch of road so we might have a vehicle up and down there half a dozen times a day so it will make a huge difference for us just on the maintenance of our vehicles and also not having to wash them so bloody often.”
sealing project, Linda says. “Our project team has been working closely with iwi and the Department of Conservation to ensure the sealing project has minimal impact on the surrounding environment, and that the picturesque journey through the gorge is retained.”
Decades in the making
Stratford District Council Mayor Neil Volzke says there will be many benefits that accrue from upgrading this road and the whole region will gain by having an improved third access route into the Taranaki region. “Successive Stratford Mayors and the wider community have been calling for this for decades, so naturally I’m stoked that the first part of the sealing work in the gorge is about to begin. “The total package of improvements will make the Forgotten World Highway a much safer drive and be much more inviting for visitors to the region to use,” says Mayor Volzke. The Forgotten World Highway is one of Aotearoa’s iconic back country journeys, so retaining the character of the area and protecting the natural environment has been a key objective in designing the
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COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
Protecting the Purangi Bush Laura Barton used to be “glam and party with the Rolling Stones” but today she works as a conservationist and trapper for the Purangi Conservation Trust in the Coromandel – and she couldn’t be happier.
Laura moved to the Coromandel in 2016, back to where she describes as “her childhood happy place”,
swapping her Auckland career in the fashion and film industry to run the general store at Ferry Landing. With her property backing onto the Maramaratotara Track, and her new partner Josh Angell being a keen bushman, Laura loves being out in the bush and became a volunteer for the Purangi Conservation Trust. “After locals started seeing more pests and less birds in the area, a local man, Bruce Smith, started the Trust
in 2019,” says Laura. New beginnings With the help of the Trust’s Sadly, after the seven weeks of “go-to man” Scotty Yates, lockdown, and the considerable ecologist Nick Goldwater and reduction in visitor numbers to the trap builder and book keeper area, Laura had to close the doors of Dave Campbell, the Purangi her store in January 2021. Conservation Trust has the Meanwhile, the Purangi Trust had goal of bringing back the obtained funding for a paid role, and birdlife, planting trees, and Laura applied. eradicating pests. “It’s been life changing, but not in a “The Trust covers just over bad way. I spend my days in the bush, 3000ha of bush, bordering setting traps and emptying traps, and the coast on two sides, generally monitoring the Trust area, Bruce Smith, founder of the including Whitianga Harbour, Purangi Conservation Trust in often working with the volunteers.” Maramaratotara Bay, Flaxmill There is huge local support for the the Coromandel. Bay and Cooks Beach.” Trust, with locals helping with the In the short period the Trust has been funding and construction of traps. Landowners active, they’ve already been making inroads into allow the Trust on their property to trap and plant. ...continued the conservation of the area with pest control and planting. “So far we’ve planted 300 kōwhai trees and 300 other plants, all kindly donated by Zealandia.” Funding for the Trust is handled by local Rose Morcom, and is generated from sources such as the pub charities and strong local support.
Map showing the Purangi Conservation Trust coverage area.
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COAST & COUNTRY NEWS and kiwi, rendering them unable to move, so they can return and keep eating them alive.” Engagement with the local community is important and the Trust held their first public meeting in July 2021, to show the community what they are doing and their future goals.
“We invited other local conservation groups, Whenuakite Kiwi Care Group and Kapowai Kiwi Group to be part of the meeting. The numbers that came
Laura Barton and partner Josh Angell in the Purangi Conservation Trust bush, which is flanked on two boundaries by the coast.
• • • • • •
Page 7 indicate strong local interest in trapping, protection of our native birds, and trying to get kiwi back in the area.” Food bait is used in the traps. Sometimes the lines are a slow burn and sometimes they’re quicker. Currently there are more than 400 traps around the northern parts of the Trust’s area. The Purangi Conservation Trust is committed to the Predator Free 2050 goal, which is supported by the Fight for the Wild call to action for all New Zealanders.
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“Being this involved in the community is amazing, and I love the relationships I’m building with the landowners. I really enjoy the physical work, and the strong team that is behind this group – we’re doing something good here.” Precious pōhutukawa on local pā land are being destroyed by possums. Trapping is also necessary to protect native birds from predators such as rats, mustelids, hedgehogs and possums. “Contrary to what most people think of them, hedgehogs are one of the most horrible predators. “They eat the legs of ground birds such as weka
Mercury Bay Area School students making traps with Amy Blair, DOC Whitianga, back.
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COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
Two fined after DIY castrations in BOP car park Two men have been fined after their botched attempt to castrate two bulls with cable ties and rubber bands in a service station car park. John Thompson and Anthony Green have been ordered to pay more than $4000 each after their attempt left the two animals in severe pain, and one euthuanised. The incident happened in September 2020, after Thompson sold two bulls to Green, who both
agreed they would be castrated prior to delivery. This did not happen and on the exchange day, Thompson loaded the two bulls into a trailer and drove them to a service station in Paengaroa, in the Bay of Plenty. Anthony followed in another vehicle.
While there, John bought two cable ties and some thick rubber bands and applied the rubber bands
severe infections including gangrene and sepsis, which would have caused undue pain and distress. Anthony told the SPCA Inspector he didn’t believe anything was wrong with the animals. “He was waiting until eight weeks after the castration attempt to see if the testes would fall off, as John had told him they would.”
Thought everything was OK
Animals feel pain too
The SPCA was alerted to the welfare of Anthony’s two bulls about six weeks later. An inspector and veterinarian attended and said it was immediately clear the bulls were suffering from a severe infection, due to the black and red appearance of the area where the bands were placed and a putrid smell that could be sensed from some distance away. The bulls were sedated and their testes were surgically removed. The vet said due to the incorrect method used for castration, the testes had swelled to two to three times their normal size and had developed
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SPCA chief executive Andrea Midgen says the improper way the procedure was carried out was inhumane and totally avoidable. “It never ceases to amaze me how some people don’t seem to understand that animals feel pain just like we do, and in this case, the bulls would have felt severe pain for many days after. “With no anaesthetic, these animals would have suffered immediate pain throughout the procedure and as incorrect tools were used, including rubber bands and cable ties, the animals would have felt that pain for days afterwards.” Both men were sentenced in the Tauranga District Court, John pleaded guilty to two charges under the Animal Welfare Regulations 2018 for castrating a cattle beast that was more than six months of age without pain relief. Anthony pleaded guilty to two charges of failing to ensure the animals received treatment that alleviated any unreasonable or unnecessary pain or distress being suffered. Both men were fined $3900 each, payable to SPCA, and ordered to pay reparations of $904.95 and $300 towards SPCA’s legal fees. Stuff/Jo Lines-MacKenzie
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around the testes of the bulls before putting a cable tie over top to hold them in place. He didn’t use anaesthetic and John later told SPCA Inspectors that he’d never performed a castration before. “He said that he was not happy with the procedure as he was performing it, but believed that it would be successful.”
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Moving the fruit more efficiently The TRANSTAK Bin Carrier was developed to improve fruit-bin handling on orchards. There are 10 different models of this registered design of bin carrier that are now available for local and export markets. Jacks Machinery is proud to be the Bay of Plenty, Poverty Bay and Waikato agents.They have more than 25 years’ experience selling machinery to suit New Zealand horticulture. Whilst they are suited to various fruit crops, Jacks have concentrated on supplying the local kiwifruit industry. Some models can carry up to six bins, though the two most popular models are a standard threebin, and the LE model which can be either three or four-bin, each moving 150 bins of fruit, or more, from the orchard per day. Features include solid no-frills construction, soft ride technology and they can be used with forward or reverse drive tractors. Options include road or work lights, towing hitches and stands, plus ATV and low profile. The soft ride system in particular means caring for your fruit, and the good angle of lift reduces ground damage.
Users report greater efficiency with fewer units required to service their pickers. Jacks Machinery has models in stock now in their Whakatane and Katikati yards, plus more on order. Contact the team soon to ensure your supply for the coming season on: 0800 77 88 99.
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Postponement for conference The Tractor and Machinery Association conference has been postponed until August 26, 2022, due to the Covid-19 Delta outbreak.
“We are hugely disappointed with having to make this decision so close to the actual event as the enthusiasm from the industry (members and non-members)
has been superb,” says a TAMA announcement. “This enthusiasm does mean, however, that when we do get in front of each other in 2022, it will be an even more fantastic event. “Stay safe and well everyone and watch this space in the New Year when we will be posting conference 2022 updates.”
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Jarred Bayliss, Brogan Bayliss, AGrowQuip Cambridge sales rep, Ethan Hartstone, Todd Doolan and James Greenhalgh, with Jarred’s daughters, Miah, 4, and Ayla, 2, and Todd’s dog Jed. All photos: Catherine Fry.
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The Bayliss family have been dairy farming on 95 hectares, midway between Cambridge and Te Awamutu, since 1956, currently milking 240 cows all year round, with split calving seasons. As well as dairy farming, from 2012, Kerry Bayliss had a stock feed haulage business, and a small number of contracting vehicles, servicing his own and neighbouring farms. Sons, Jarred, 30, and Brogan, 26, inherited their father’s “real passion for agriculture” and followed him into the family business. “We’d grown up on the farm, relief milking and driving machinery, so we definitely had the bug in us,” says Jarred. Brogan went into the dairy farming side of the operation - he enjoys working with animals, and the variety of tractor and general farm work. “I really appreciate working outside in nature, with the views, so farming really suits me,” says Brogan.
Jarred “followed the diesel”, and prefers working with the big agricultural machinery. He worked for a large contracting company for a few years, driving agricultural machines, but he also owns the family contracting company with Kerry. “In 2019, Dad was looking to step back a little, and Brogan decided to buy out Dad’s share, so the business became ours, with my wife, Jess, overseeing the administration side,” says Jarred. “I saw it as an opportunity to invest in something for my future, and our family’s future,” says Brogan. The newly formed Bayliss Bros contraction business has been diversifying and expanding. Kerry is managing the family farm. ...continued
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The brothers saw a niche for a smaller, family-run agricultural contracting business, covering the general Waikato, but with the main hub in the Waipa area. “We value the relationships we have with the farms we work on, and that social aspect is just as important as being able to deliver the work in the time frame promised,” says Brogan. While they work long hours, from the end of September through to the end of March, they make time for their families, and slow down in the winter months. “I’ve got two little girls and Brogan has his first due any day. Spending time with our families is important to us. It’s not all about money, it’s about family too, and building something sustainable for their future,” says Jarred. Kerry, and Jarred and his family live in houses on the farm, but Brogan lives in town.
In the winter months the team help out on the home farm, and have regular work with places such as the kiwifruit orchards, Fieldays and Revital, farm race and trailer work. “Winter’s a time to catch up around the place, get everything in great working order for the next season, and do maintenance on our own farm,” Jarred says.
Diversification is the way forward
“We carry out a wide range of contracting services including re-seeding, grass and maize harvests, planting and groundwork, digger and trailer work, and haulage, so our shed requires both versatile and specialist machines,” says Brogan. The brothers have bought some outright, and some on one or three-year leases. “Farm machinery is a massive investment, so we view things from season to season. Sometimes interest rates are great and buying outright is appropriate, but other years, leasing is a good option,” says Jarred. The team has expanded to include a full time driver for haulage - Ryan Murphy - and two full time staff on the agricultural side - operations manager Todd Doolan, and James Greenhalgh.
also plays a role in product quality with fodder crops analysed for things like moisture content, starch content, and dry matter content as it is cut. Machinery maintenance of a smaller nature is carried out in-house. Having grown up tinkering with tractor engines, it’s all part of the job for the boys, who utilise a qualified mechanic friend to help them. Larger jobs are carried out by their local dealerships.
Brogan feels he gets the best of both worlds, as he relief milks on the family farm, and gets to drive the big machines. With two little girls, and soon to be a third, making up the next generation so far, maybe the business Jarred and Brogan are working so hard to build for them will need to be changed to Bayliss Daughters in about 25 years.
Jarred’s eyes light up at the sight of the pride of their fleet, a powerful self-propelled forager, fully equipped with precision agriculture technology. For Brogan, the addition of GPS technology is the icing on the cake. “Cropping and harvesting are not simply driving a tractor, there’s quite an art to it, which my slightly OCD nature finds very satisfying, and the accuracy from this technology makes it even better,” says Brogan. “We use this technology on four of our machines, and once the mapping for a paddock is stored, it really increases our efficiency,” says Jarred. Modern technology
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TE AWAMUTU FOCUS
Barbara Rushbrooke and her daughter, Katherine Spataro - fifth and sixth generation farmers on Innesbrooke Farm. All photos: Catherine Fry.
Innesbrooke Farm, Paterangi, is part of the well-known Greenhill Farm that dominated the Te Awamutu area throughout the late 1800s into the early 1900s. Katherine and Matthew Spataro now run a sheep milking venture on the land that her great, great, great grandfather, William Innes Taylor from Tamaki, acquired in 1872. The initial property was less than two hectares, where the original homestead once stood, with another 57ha acquired by 1873. The land was farmed by William Innes Taylor’s son, also called William, and regular letters arrived weekly from Tamaki, with instructions and directions. The farm grew to 910ha by 1880, covering an area from Te Rahu Cross Roads to Te Awamutu,
along Ngaroto Road and Paterangi Road to opposite Lake Ngaroto, then south along the Mangapiko River to the remaining block today. “My great, great grandfather grew wheat, oats and barley and large areas of cattle fodder and turnips, and a large crop of potatoes,” says Katherine.
Part of the community
William established a herd of Shorthorn cattle, which were his pride and joy for 50 years. Like his father before him, William bred fine Clydesdales, and had success in the show rings. “The Taylors were an integral part of Te Awamutu society at the time, with many families still in the district today able to make connections to family members that had worked in some capacity for the Taylor family,” says Katherine. William Taylor took a keen interest in the affairs of the district, serving on the Borough Council, County Council, a member of the Te Awamutu Cavalry and Presbyterian Church, and supporter of horse racing, polo, hunting and golf. William set his children, John (Katherine’s great grandfather) and Willie up on their own farms in the early 1900s, and his sons Frank and Allan worked for him on the home farm after returning from active service in World War I.
TE AWAMUTU FOCUS
Six generations of farming and a seventh on the way The Rushbrookes managed to purchase more of the original family farm and build up to 85 hectares, increasing their milking herd to 360.
Converting to dairy sheep
Matthew and Katherine Spataro of Innesbrooke Farm, with Bobby the sheepdog. continued...
William passed away suddenly in 1923, and his wife five years later, leaving their family with the burden of estate duties and a huge farm in the Great Depression. Barbara Rushbrooke, Katherine’s mother, takes up the story from there. “With the family facing bankruptcy, the original farm was sold up, with my grandfather John managing to purchase back 151 acres of the original property on Paterangi Road,” says Barbara. Following John’s death in 1951, the farm passed to his daughter, Patricia and her husband, travel agent, Jack Dill. “The land then started to be passed down through the females in the family. “My parents did the administration side and brought in a sharemilker to run the farm, but I was brought up there,” says Barbara. Barbara and her husband, Grant Rushbrooke took over the farm in 1979. “Grant’s family had a motor business, but we took a crash course in farming and took over the 165 cow farm,” says Barbara.
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Grant began importing agricultural tyres in the mid 1980s, becoming the Michelin Distributor for New Zealand and later purchasing the Beaurepaires chain of tyre stores in New Zealand. “As our business interests expanded, we got managers in for the dairy farm, eventually selling the herd in 2015, and changing to dairy grazing,” says Barbara. This is where Barbara and Grant’s daughter Katherine, who had grown up on the farm, but now lived the city life in Melbourne with her Australian husband Matthew, enter the scene. “Mum and Dad approached us to see if we wanted to take over the farm,” says Katherine. The couple considered various options before deciding to purchase the farm and then converting it to dairy sheep in late 2019. “Sheep are easier on the land, it ticked boxes for us as less intensive on the environment. “We looked at global trends and goat and sheep products were growing in demand, especially New Zealand made products which are seen as a premium product,” says Matthew. Spring Sheep Dairy Co aligned with the couple’s values, and showcases New Zealand as an environmentally responsible country. “They supply the sheep, we supply the milk, and they process, package and market the product. “They are very strict with their suppliers, and are managed by a very diverse group of people that are
Matthew and Katherine Spataro of Innesbrooke Farm, with Bobby the sheepdog.
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able to see beyond just the farming side,” says Katherine. Just recently, the Spataros were also delighted to have been able to purchase back great grandfather John’s 1915 family homestead where Patricia, Katherine’s grandmother, was born, and use it as their family home. Another piece of the original
farm back in the family. Constantly learning and collecting data for their new career, Katherine and Matthew have finished their second lambing season, and are also excited to be welcoming a seventh generation member of the Taylor family to the farm in early 2022. Catherine Fry
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Waikato subdivision rules delayed again The long-awaited changes to the Waikato District Plan Subdivision Rules that aim to create a level playing field for the entire district, including the ex-Franklin area, are delayed yet again.
Ironically, when I wrote a couple of months ago of the pending date of announcement of these rules for
September this year, the council had already written to the minister for the environment requesting another extension to the statutory time frame. When, and it appears if, the new rules are announced on January 17 next year we will finally have a set of rules governing how people can subdivide their land in the rural zone that covers the whole district from Pokeno in the
north to Raglan in the south. Whilst this delay might be welcomed by some landowners in the ‘old’ Waikato District’, who could ultimately see their subdivision rights reduced, many in the ‘old Franklin part’ may well be disappointed. Those in the Franklin area have long been comparatively disadvantaged by their rather limited subdivision opportunities. They were able to subdivide land largely by amalgamating existing titles either owned by themselves or others – a rather complex and often expensive system not currently favoured by the Waikato District Council. Another way that they could subdivide was by protecting a qualifying ecological feature to gain subdivision approval, sometimes allowing
several new sections. This ecological protection mechanism has also been available to landowners in the ‘old Waikato’ as it is in many other surrounding regions. This method is seen as mitigating the effects of subdividing through offsetting with environmental benefits. However, Waikato farmers have also been able to subdivide lifestyle blocks off many older titles that exceed 20 hectares in size. I believe that once Environment Court hearings have taken place, following the pending announcement of Council’s hearing decision in January, that 20 hectare minimum requirement could well be 40 hectares. Herein lies the risk for those in the ‘old Waikato’. The proposed rules also contain provisions for limited scope boundary adjustments and relocation of existing titles within the bounds of an existing holding. If you are interested to find out what opportunities might potentially be lost or gained through this • Ideal for Cattle Troughs process, feel free to • High Flow give me a call and • Side/Bottom Mount discuss your situation • Detatches to Clean without delay.
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stop cows falling save money
The true value of Golden Bay dolomite With supply of fertiliser inputs from overseas becoming increasingly expensive and erratic, it’s worth focusing on our own resources. Magnesium is an essential input on virtually all intensive dairy farms and there is no guarantee that magnesium oxide products, all of which are overseas sourced, will continue to be available when required. Golden Bay dolomite is a local deposit, supply is guaranteed, and prices, unlike other magnesium products, reflect only the cost of production and supply. There is only one source of dolomite in New Zealand and it’s located in Golden Bay, hence the name. The price of Golden Bay dolomite delivered varies depending on where you farm. The price delivered to Canterbury Plains farmers is considerably less than for farmers in Taranaki. Regardless of where in New Zealand you’re situated, if magnesium is required dolomite provides outstanding value regardless of price. Dolomite is often referred to as dolomite lime and herein lies much of the confusion that surrounds it.
Magnesium deficiencies are seldom just that. Calcium is nearly always involved, and this is where dolomite is unique. It contains 24 per cent calcium and 11.5 per cent magnesium, in what has proved to be the near perfect ratio for both plants and animals. That’s somewhat unsurprising as dolomite is an ancient seabed deposit, laid down over millions of years, and its application finely ground is largely a recycling process returning it to the land from where it originated. A point made in a Radio NZ interview years ago was that although slivers of Mt Burnett are being mined it’s done so in an environmentally responsible way with ongoing native plant re-establishment as part of the process.
Financial benefits easily calculated
In our view any loss is far outweighed by the benefits available to pastoral farmers from a lowrate yearly application. Farmers can easily calculate the financial benefits from an annual investment, often less than $50/ ha, with the loss of one top producing cow and her milk solids for the season exceeding $5000. Dolomite may be applied at any time with a A ‘metabolic knife edge’ range of other benefits and still provide protection In pastoral situations, based on extensive in spring. experience over the last 23 years, dolomite is best Dolomite is a recognised soil conditioner with applied at the rate at which magnesium is required. lighter sandy and pumice-based soils of the North High rates, based on soil test calculations alone Island benefi ting from a little extra stickiness that do not provide better protection against calcium/ speeds the formation of soil crumb. magnesium metabolic disorders in spring. On heavier soils that are prone to treading In our experience 200 - 250kg/ha applied damage during wet periods over winter it helps annually is sufficient to ensure that the likelihood speed physical re-structing allowing more rapid of finding cows down behind hedges at five in the recovery of pasture during spring and summer. morning is largely eliminated. Being a natural seabed deposit, it contains a wide Clients report the occasional wobbly cow, usually range of beneficial trace elements, and although during prolonged periods of wet cold weather, however unless there is another contributing factor, they exist in parts per million and therefore hard to accurately value, there are many people world-wide there’s time to treat and the response is rapid. that swallow a capsule a day knowing that they are Valuable time is not lost deferring immediate better off as a result. tasks to treat cows that may not get to their feet For more information call Peter on 0800 436 566. immediately, and cows down for even a few hours suffer significant muscle damage. High producing animals in spring are typically on a metabolic knife edge and any shortage or imbalance of nutrient reduces production for the current season.
Page 16 NZ DISTRIBUTOR
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effluent that separate the effluent fibres and send them
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nitrogen applications, to a Total quick and profitable clover-based biological Therapy system that enhances feedReplacement quality, animal health and effluent.
Therapy Our environmental initiative to reduce NEED TO KNOWwater MORE? pollution is by implementing an
Fertiliser and the future If you’ve been shocked by your fertiliser bill in the last six months, you’re not alone.
Since the advent of Covid-19, and the resulting supply chain disruptions, we have seen the price of fertiliser rise dramatically - and since Fieldays 2021, it has risen not once but twice. A lot of fertiliser, such as sulphur and potassium, come from overseas so which company you buy through doesn’t really matter. And with the news earlier this year that China will be temporarily suspending exports of NPK fertiliser, the price increase trend is expected to continue.
Get the soil tested
Go to www.forwardfarming.co.nz and www.totalreplacementtherapy.com 8-step method leading farmers from a to read more or call David Law on 027fertiliser 490 9896. chemical system using synthetic nitrogen applications, to a quick and profitable clover-based biological system that enhances feed quality, animal health and effluent.
NEED TO KNOW MORE? Go to www.forwardfarming.co.nz and www.totalreplacementtherapy.com to read more or call David Law on 027 490 9896.
Farmers are seriously thinking about their fertiliser use, and what will be financially viable in the future. What farmers can do, though, is understand the importance of getting their soil tested, to make they are not adding nutrients they don’t need. A lot of fertiliser companies are good at placing emphasis on sales and selling
farmers what they don’t need. Farmers need to be knowledgeable and deal with people they trust; people they know will steer them straight. The Total Replacement Therapy approach emphasises a system that alters the pH of the soil, which in turn makes a lot of ‘fertiliser’ products obsolete; a balanced pH will encourage existing nutrients in the soil to become available naturally.
The right mix
So instead of buying the products you think you need, sometimes it’s more cost effective to alter the pH of the soil and let nature do its thing. We send our soil tests to Perry Agricultural Lab in Missouri, which gives us scientificallybased nutrient recommendations so we can accurately adjust the nutrient levels now and in the future. In New Zealand, a lot of farms have
healthy amounts of phosphorus, but farmers keep adding phosphorus; what they are actually lacking is calcium or magnesium, among other things. There has also been a large increase in people using liquid fertilisers, because there is a belief that if they add nitrogen in a liquid form, they will only need half the amount of N for double the response. This may be true if the soil is balanced in the first place. But if you add a liquid biological agent without balancing the soil first, you may get a short-term result, but it is unlikely to last. The importance of having the farm ready before the liquid goes on cannot be understated. The worms and the clover will come, naturally, if the soil is balanced. Through our work, we have found we can balance a farm in 12-18 months, cost-effectively. We have created a concise, rapid solution that is sustainable in the long term. As we approach the two-year mark, we are continuing to see incredible results on our Whakatane demonstration farm.
Getting better all the time
Farmer Alan Law saw a feed gap coming this spring so he applied 100kg of ammonium sulphate (equivalent to 20 units/N) - and the growth in one week was incredible. “We will never go back to the way we used to farm,” Alan says. “It is getting better and better all the time.” Alan’s son Brandon Law, who farms nearby and is nine months behind his father in the Total Replacement Therapy journey, is also seeing incredible results. He has reduced his N application to 80 units/ha annually but has added 100 cows to his herd, with plenty of grass to go around. With fertiliser costs going up, farmers are thinking: ‘how are we going to survive?’ When you change your system, you will see the cost-benefits 07 858 07 4233 858 4233 for yourself. We are planning a series of on-farm farmservices.nz farmservices.nz field days in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org and Taranaki from November 2021. /HomeopathicFarmServices /HomeopathicFarmServices With some uncertainty around current Covid-19 /HomeopathicFarmServices /HomeopathicFarmServices restrictions, we will release confirmed dates as soon as possible.
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Caring for our environment Sustainable farming relies on new innovations like ‘Spikey’.
Kaharoa dairy farmer Chris Paterson believes the future of sustainable agriculture in New Zealand will be determined by science and technology. Speaking at the recent Our Women, Our Land, Our Water symposium organised by Rural Women New Zealand Region 5, Chris spoke from the heart about the sustainable farming journey she, and husband Jamie, have embarked on. “I accept farmers need to be more accountable for our actions but we also need to feel proud of the great job we do and to stop apologising for being a farmer. “If we are doing the job right, we have nothing to fear, is my philosophy.” And Chris and Jamie are certainly trying to do the job right. The changes they have made to their farming practice over the past decade makes an impressive list. As well as reducing their herd number they have retired hilly land to trees, stopped winter cropping, halved nitrogen fertiliser use and stopped winter fertiliser application, built a bulk silage bunker to reduce plastic use, joined the farmers’ recycling scheme, installed stock crossings and concrete fords, put rubber on the milking shed yard and invested in a new lined effluent pond to take the run-off as well
as a new low application irrigator, and built their first detainment bund which reduces sediment and phosphorus run-off by 60 per cent. The Patersons continue to keep up with the on-going development of new technology and improvement of old. Chris explains they are part of a number of trials, including one involving ‘Spikey’ that treats urine in the paddocks resulting in less nitrogen loss and greater grass growth and another that analyses grass using satellites to let farmers know the best paddock to move stock to. “We don’t plan to stop there. ProTrack, cow collars, new fertilisers, sexed semen and apps to cover everything are all areas we aim to explore further.” Since 2013, Chris has been secretary of the Rotorua Farmers Collective - a group formed in 2011 to enable profitable farming that reduces the impact on the water quality of the Rotorua lakes. The symposium was held in Tauranga on International Day of Rural Women, October 15 to discuss the current environmental issues facing the rural sector. Other speakers included the minister for women Jan Tinetti, Bay of Plenty Regional councillor Paula Thompson and Bay Conservation Alliance education officer Janie Stevenson. Videos of the presentations can be viewed by visiting RWNZTAURANGA on Facebook or Twitter.
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how long this will last. The data can be accessed via mobile phone or the web. “They’re also valuable identifying whether water loss is a result of daily usage or a leak. This is particularly useful for people who own a holiday But, thanks to an innovative water monitoring home – enabling them to remotely monitor and system, that is now a thing of the past. ensure water supply when they arrive at the bach.” Uncertainty around his family’s water usage led Gavin says water Gavin Sheppard to cartage contractors develop TankMate are increasingly wifi tank level sensors utilising the three years ago. TankMate “Water levels during management summer were always portal which enables a worry and there was them to monitor, no easy or reliable way and prioritise, to know and predict clients’ needs.” water usage – so I On the eve of the developed a system high water demand which takes away all season, TankMate that uncertainty and is offering a $20 gives peace of mind,” discount on their he says. wifi tank level “The TankMate sensors, using sensor is programmed the promo code to the dimensions of CC2021 during the tank, calculating November. current volume and daily demand to For more TankMate tank level sensors are compatible provide average usage information see their with both concrete and plastic water tanks. and a prediction of advert on this page.
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Rural women drive change ‘Our Women, Our Land, Our Water’ was the title of a symposium organised by Rural Women New Zealand in the Western Bay of Plenty, for International Day of Rural Women 2021.
of short presentations from a range of knowledgeable women, including Bay of Plenty Regional Councillor Paula Thompson and Bay Conservation Alliance education officer Janie Stevenson. The Hon Jan Tinetti opened the IDRW event outlining what the Ministry for Women is doing to support rural women in Aotearoa.
The symposium held in Tauranga on October 15 focused on the current environmental issues facing our rural sector. International Day of Rural Women is a relatively recent United Nations initiative created to recognise that women are integral in the protection of natural resources and the implementation of sustainable agriculture. Traditionally the primary industries have been an area where males made all of the decisions.
Following this Janie Stevenson, who was until recently the New Zealand Landcare Trust regional coordinator, highlighted rural priorities regarding environmental issues for the region, the vital role of community care groups and the importance of keeping the people of Aotearoa engaged in environmental care. Paula Thompson, who is currently chair of the BOPRC Strategy and Policy Committee, discussed the principal role of the Regional Council in ensuring the sustainable management of the region’s natural resources. She also addressed the ‘hailstorm’ of environmental reform that continues to roll out from government. In particular, she talked about the implementation of the National Policy Statement
Today, with one in three women around the world involved in the rural sector, the role of women in instigating positive environmental change is evident. Rural Women New Zealand Region 5 (Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, Central Plateau and East Cape to Gisborne) hosted a series
for Freshwater Management, which requires regional councils to improve the quality of waterways and ensure that water is allocated more efficiently. Finally, she touched on the importance of community caretaking-kaitiakitanga in the changing environment.
realisation that things could not continue as they were. Chris has been the secretary of the Rotorua Farmers Collective since 2013 - a group formed to reduce the impact of farming on Chris Paterson.
A personal journey
Kaharoa dairy farmer and a longstanding member of RWNZ Chris Paterson was the final but most poignant speaker of the day. Chris spoke from the heart about the personal journey she, and husband Jamie, had been on with the dairy farming sector of New Zealand, from the golden years to the worldwide
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EFFLUENT & ENVIRONMENT
Persistence pays off A risk-averse lending sector and carbon farming sales has left much of the younger generation with limited options for farm ownership.
Tenacity, determination and good old-fashioned hard work have seen a young couple buy their first farm on the shores of Lake Taupō. The lake is vulnerable to nitrogen leaching from land uses in the catchment, and in order to maintain water quality farmers need to reduce the amount of nitrogen reaching it from farmland and urban areas by 20 per cent. Landowners in the catchment must prioritise the health of the lake’s water quality which is just what Sean Nixon and Ruby Mulinder are doing. The farm which they bought is 142ha, with 20ha Sean Nixon. retired and planted out in a mix of Douglas fir and natives. They lease 8ha from their neighbours, balancing out to 130ha effective. They farm 70ha of flat and 60ha hill country, which Ruby says provides an awesome balance for lambing ewes, providing shelter over the early spring period. They winter 1,550 stock units, a mix of sheep and beef and run 670 ewes. As they transition to a sheepdairy model they are considering the right balance of cattle for the property.
Taking a critical thinking approach
The couple’s initial focus has been on improving the farm’s pasture quality. Soils are pumice-based, light volcanic, sandy loams with good levels of topsoil. The flat country is cocksfoot and clover dominant with brown top, native grasses and limited clover on the hillsides.
They take a critical thinking approach to nutrients and fertility, using OverseerFM for scenario planning. This is particularly important as the Taupō catchment has a nitrogen discharge allowance (NDA), which means both inputs and stocking rates are effectively capped. They are careful to keep their N use low and strategic at 20kg/ha/year on average over the whole farm. “In spring we use a little bit of N to kick us off and bridge the gap between winter and spring,” says Sean. Ruby
They are mindful of soil acidification and the roll-on impacts of different fertilisers, particularly as they have experienced palatability problems on parts of the farm. “Lime is a key thing that we’ll be doing every year, and [monitoring] our potassium levels to grow as much clover as we can,” says Sean. “In a red meat system clover is what makes money… basically the more legumes we can get into our animals, the better our milk and meat production will be.” “Every nutrient we put on we want to be utilised and grow more palatable grass,” says Ruby. “We’re trying to optimise our soil health and not become reliant on nitrogen.” Sean says they’ve been using HawkEye to order and monitor fertiliser applications and map their farm. “I’m starting to add other features of the farm to the map layers, so if someone’s coming in to look after the farm, I can have it marked up nicely on HawkEye rather than the old original farm map from when it was surveyed off.” “It’s an awesome tool … really helpful,” says Ruby. A longer version of this article was originally published in The Ground Effect. Victoria O’Sullivan
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FEED MANAGEMENT & MAIZE
Managing feed in extremely dry conditions One year on, and once again farmers in many regions are facing extremely dry conditions at what is a critical time of year.
Below are some management strategies farmers can implement to get through winter and protect next season’s lamb and calf crop. Beef and Lamb New Zealand’s feed planning service is still up and running and will help farmers put together a feed budget and consolidate their thinking around feed and stock management. Farmers facing feed deficits are encouraged to make use of this service.
Practical drought tips
When pasture covers are low then pasture-growth rates are also low and so it’s worth remembering the old adage that ‘grass grows grass’. In its advisory to farmers B+LNZ
soil following drought conditions, but practical farmer experience has shown nitrogen application is a valuable way of getting pasture covers back sooner. “Breeding stock are very sensitive to underfeeding in early lactation, so it is important to plan early. When feed is short, it is better to ration feed before lactation than during lactation.” Post-calving feeding is much more
Each year, farmers are faced with dry conditions. says farmers should consider what rotation length is required to build pasture covers. “In practice, it can be tough on livestock in the short-term, so you need to keep the long-term goal in mind i.e: creating feed for lambing and calving when ewes and cows will recover quickly and productively. “Rotational grazing allows you to
ration your feed far more effectively than set stocking. Temporary fencing is a cost effective method of controlling pasture intake for cattle.” Nitrogen boosted pasture is the most cost-effective supplementary feed but requires moisture to activate, says B+LNZ. “Theoretically, there should be plenty of nitrogen stored in the
Making the most of maize When driving milk production and going through mating, a balanced diet is essential for success.
The use of supplementary feeds, such as maize silage, is a great way to supply starch into the diet to support milk production in early lactation. When looking at the total diet, it’s important to look at the mineral requirements of the herd and see how this is being met by the composition of what is on offer. As not all feeds are created equal, the same goes for both pasture and maize silage. In spring, pasture is low in certain minerals such as calcium, and magnesium. Maize silage is also low in these key minerals as well as phosphorus and
sodium. Low dietary intake of these key minerals can cause stock health issues, but they can also reduce the cow’s productivity. Reviewing both pasture and maize silage enables them to be matched with what is needed by the cow. An easy way to achieve this is to add missing or deficient nutrients directly to the maize silage. Mineral Max Maize Silage Balancer is uniquely formulated to deliver calcium, magnesium, sodium and phosphorus to balance out mineral deficiencies in maize silage. It is the epitome of easy-to-use, just spread it over the silage before feeding out. Because all nutrients are blended together, there is only one product to add, meeting a range of nutrient needs at the same time. For more information talk to your local SealesWinslow representative.
important than pre-calving feeding. “Once calved or lambed, breeding stock need to be fully fed and will recover quickly and productively. “Finishing and trading stock are a flexible stock classes and can take some short-term reduction in feeding or alternatively could be sold store.”
Visit the B+LNZ website for more information.
FEED MANAGEMENT & MAIZE
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FEED MANAGEMENT & MAIZE
Wet spring is warming up The grass is certainly growing now thanks to generous and frequent rainfall.
From July 1 – October 18 we have had 372mm of rain, compared with 284mm for the same period last year. It took a while for things to warm up though. Everyone said ‘isn’t it a mild winter’ and ‘isn’t everything growing well’ and then we hit the spring and it didn’t warm up, it stayed cold. Now it’s finally getting going. Only 34.5mm of rain fell in the month of September last year, compared with 121.5mm this year. For the month of October – up to October 18 – there had already been 83mm of rain at the Bill Webb Feed Solutions yard in Paengaroa. The same period last year saw only 30mm. Soil temperature was at about 16 degrees Celsius on October 18, which is on a par with last year.
Get your jab
On October 16 we had the big push for the Covid jab with just over 130,000 people getting it done on Super Saturday. It was a good outcome but I just want to make sure that farmers are helping to achieve the 90 per cent goal everyone is after so we can start moving around again. Spring is a busy time of the year for farmers. Hopefully, as soon as they get time they should get in there and help achieve that 90 per cent.
Planting is just the start
By now we are well through our main planting although it has been a bit of a challenge with the weather – we seem to have had more wet days than dry ones. Trying to get 3-4 days of fine weather has been a challenge to get silage dry. Everyone should be well underway with their maize and turnip
plantings. Turnips should be in by October 20 and targeting late January for them to be fed off. People need to be mindful they might be sown but they need to monitor them for insect damage, white butterfly and weeds. Six weeks after sowing they need to be putting a side dressing of nitrogen on – both turnips and maize. Do a weed spray at the same time. You need to be spending the money and checking for pests to protect yields.
Shut up and mow
Farmers should be shutting up paddocks that are getting away on them now and do a light cut. Don’t wait until it is a hay crop to cut it because they are losing quality. You want 10-15 per cent seed head maximum. Aim for that 10 per cent because by the time the contractor gets there it will be 15 per cent anyway. Don’t just shut up paddocks for the sake of making silage otherwise you will run your milking herd short and with an $8-plus payout predicted, you don’t want to be doing that.
ANZ has raised its forecast to $8.20/kg and Westpac’s forecast is $8.50. Rabobank has lowered theirs a bit because they think China could be stockpiling. It’s looking promising and farmers should be taking advantage of that by fully feeding the cows, crop buying and silage. Put orders in now because it is getting harder and harder to get land to grow maize on – houses and horticulture and environmental pressures. There is a real thrust backwards in availability of land. The beef schedule is at a $6.50 high and there is also quite good money for stock in the yards – over $3/kg lightweight. We still have good stocks of milking quality grass silage and some maize available.
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Building the future with DMS Construction is underway on a brand new 5400m² kiwifruit packhouse and four new cool stores at DMS Progrowers Ltd’s Te Matai Road site. DMS is the first post-harvest company since 2018 to build a completely new packhouse in the Bay of Plenty, as the region continues to produce record-breaking kiwifruit crops. DMS Progrowers chief executive Derek Masters says the industry is growing a significant amount of fruit – more than 180 million this year. That number is estimated to increase by another 12-15 million next season. “We are building for our future,” says Derek.
The DMS Te Puke site will go from a six million tray packing capacity to 12 million trays - doubling its size. All Photos: John Borren.
“And what do I mean by that? Well, we’re building a new packhouse and new cool stores and it’s all about building capacity and future proofing our business. “We are doing this so our growers have comfort that DMS is going to look after them with this foreseeable growth in the kiwifruit industry. “This is certainly providing a level of comfort with our growers that we can cater for them and their own orchard expansion plans. “Demand for Gold kiwifruit worldwide continues to rise and so DMS wants to grow its share of that anticipated industry growth to meet this demand. “Pack houses around the Bay are already working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, during the limited Gold harvest window. Investing in more automation is important, but eventually you just need more physical space.”
“Our Te Puke site will go from a six million tray current packing capacity site to a 12 million tray packing capacity site, so that’s doubling on the site. “When you add in the eight million trays from our Te Puna site we will have the packing capacity of 20 million trays,” says Derek.
Looking after their own
Not only is DMS catering for growers around the Bay of Plenty, but also the Bay of Plenty community itself. “Nearly all of our contractors are local, and when I say local, they’re Tauranga, and in particular, Te Puke based contractors. This is a lot of work for the local building and services community so that has been well received. “We could have easily gone out of the Bay of Plenty to large scale construction companies but we’ve kept everything local. ...continued
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The second packhouse is on track as planned, ready to be built and commissioned for the next season starting March 2022
“That’s good for the local economy and I know that the local business community in Te Puke were really interested that we were promoting and using local people. “We had a real focus on using local people and companies to build our development, because you look after your own.” Derek says the second packhouse is on track as planned, ready to be built and commissioned for the next season starting March 2022. “Obviously Covid and the level four lockdown has raised some issues in terms of raw material supply – particularly steel – coming out of Auckland, but we seem to have overcome that now Auckland has moved to level three. “This initially has set us back about two weeks, but we are now back on track to meet our target date for the packhouse to be opened in March 2022.”
Getting the job done
The current scene at the Te Matai Road site is a busy one. Concrete floor slabs have been laid, the main southern wall is now standing and the steel has started to be erected for the main packhouse.
“A lot is happening on site at the moment – it’s a very busy site, while the existing packhouse continues to do repack and layouts,” says Derek. Local Tauranga construction company iLine Construction Ltd has taken on the role of Project Lead in terms of building the new packhouse at Te Matai Road. “They are a local Tauranga company that build a lot of large industrial buildings, including warehouses, factories and process plants,” Derek says. “They are also a proud sponsor of local sport around the area, in particular Te Puke based clubs.” “All the packhouse roof and walls need to be held up with steel portal frames so Jensen Steel Fabricators will be taking care of that. “We have used Jensen Steel over a number of years for our other building projects and they can be relied on for meeting deadlines. “They are Mount Maunganui based, have always supplied our heavy duty steel framing for our cool stores and packhouses over the years, so naturally we went back to them. ...continued
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Behind the scenes continued...
Earthworks get underway for underground services at DMS Progrowers’ new packhouse and coolstore development on its Te Matai Road site.
A lot of earthworks is also going on for underground services such as stormwater, sewage and power. Local company Plumbing Works has been taken on as the plumbing and sewerage contractors at the development site. “Again, here’s a good local company that provide excellent service with tight deadlines, and at times, Plumbing Works have provided innovative solutions to meet our needs.”
The new packhouse is only one part of the development happening on Te Matai Road, with four coolstores also being built on the rear of the current site. “We’re currently in set-out phase with our four cool stores, so setting out the ground works ready for concrete slabs to go down. “We are only a couple of days behind in our project timeline plan with these, so we expect that also to be ready by the end of March next year.
All stacking up
“The coolstores will have the capacity of 1.5 million trays and they will be shuttle racked, so the pallets of kiwifruit will be up on the palletised racks with robotic shuttle carriers to locate the carriers within the rocking system. “This is the same technology we have used in our existing coolstores at Pukepack and Tepuna. “This will be taken care of by Dexion New Zealand who are the shuttle racking suppliers we have used for a number of years. “Shawn Williamson Builders are taking care of the four coolstores. Shawn is a local Te Puke boy and their office is based in the town. He has also worked with us over the years and has built a number of cool stores for us. “All our refrigeration will be done by Orr Refrigeration and Electrical. They will take care of the four coolstores as well as the packhouse. “The company, run by Quinton Orr, is also Te Puke based.” Along with the four cool stores and packhouse, DMS is also constructing a new cafeteria and office block which, once completed, will be attached to the new packhouse. The block is currently being constructed off site in modular form and will start to arrive on site late this year to mesh into the packhouse. Derek says the staff are excited with the new facilities that are coming. A state-of-the-art MAF Roda camera grading packing machine is also being installed, with technicians due to fly out from France in the coming months to commission the new packing line. “There’s just over 30 40-foot containers of that machine coming with the first four arriving in October. “The MAF Roda technicians will be here until Christmas to put it together and start assembling, and after Christmas we will continue assembling the machine and hopefully have it finished and commissioned by February.”
Over the next five months, DMS has its fair share of milestones to hit, but Derek is confident with the way things are going. “The big milestones that we are working on at the moment will be November 22, when we expect to have the roof and walls on for the packhouse. “That’s a milestone date that is important to us because we can’t assemble the MAF Roda packing machine until we can enclose the building.
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Concrete floor slabs have been laid at the Te Matai Road site, the main southern wall is now standing and the steel is being erected for the main packhouse.
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All things considered, Derek is proud of the work that has been done this year. “It’s been a huge effort from its inception. “We’ve had a lot of staff involvement in the development’s design right through to the procurement and tendering processes to eventually appointing the right contractors right at the start. “A lot of that can be attributed to BOP Integrated Project Solutions Ltd director Sarah Wormbwell who is our project manager.
E S T:
A team effort
PA I N T I N G & D E C O R AT I N G KITCHENS & JOINERY “She’s been tremendous for us in terms of PA I N T I N G & D E C O R AT I N G KITCHENS & JOINERY keeping all the contractors on track.” PA I N T I N G & D E C O R AT I N G KITCHENS & JOINERY Stratum Consultants were engaged to do all MASTER PAINTERS CABINETMAKING MAKING CABINET EXPERT T MASTER PAINTERS the resource consent, building consent and geo CABINET MAKING CABINET MAKING & DECORATORS MASTER PAINTERST T &JOINERY JOINERY CABINET MAKING EXPERT & DECORATORS CABINET MAKING EXPERT & tech surveying to prepare the land ready for & DECORATORS &JOINERY JOINERY & DECORATORS & Kitchens Interior &&Exterior Interior Exterior & DECORATORS DECORATORS Kitchens Joinery &JOINERY JOINERY Joinery & & construction. Interior &&Exterior Interior Exterior Kitchens Joinery Kitchens Joinery Professional Professional Interior &&Exterior Design Build Design &&Build Interior Exterior Kitchens Joinery Redco New Zealand Ltd and BSK Consulting Kitchens Joinery Professional Professional New Houses & Design & Build Design & Build New Houses & Professional Professional Engineering were again used for concept and Cad Drawings Cad Drawings Design&&Build Build Design New Houses New Houses && && Repaints Cad Drawings Repaints Cad Drawings New Houses eventual construction design. New Houses Wardrobes Wardrobes Cad Drawings Cad Drawings Repaints Repaints ABINET MAKING “Redco and BSK are also both local companies.” Repaints Wardrobes Wardrobes Repaints Wardrobes T PA I N Wardrobes ABINET MAKING Derek is grateful that DMS is able to support E R e PA I T ABINET MAKING N i PA R nTi z E e RT T I NT local members of the community through z E ei ni z i ni the construction of the multimillion dollar development. D EC O One of the first minor milestones was naming the O R AT D EC D O two sheds through a staff competition. E CA T O OR O R AT “We’ve decided to use Māori tree names for the site, with the current shed being the Matai shed, and the new shed will now be known as the Rimu shed. BUILDING KITCHENS PAINTING “Matai shed, our current shed, is in recognition BUILDING KITCHENS PAINTING with Te Matai Road and Rimu shed, which will be UILDING ITCHENS PAINTING Ph 07B 573 5723 Kshawnwilliamson.co.nz the new shed, was named as we have saved a large Ph 07 573 5723 shawnwilliamson.co.nz Ph 07 573 5723 shawnwilliamson.co.nz rimu tree which is on the new packhouse grounds. S S ER ER
“Even though it’s starting to arrive in containers, we’re having to store what has arrived until the roof and walls are on and then we can close the building up. “The end of January is another important date for us in terms of having the machine installed and commissioned and then March 1 is the day that we hope to be able to open that packhouse up and be ready to pack fruit. “All we’re aiming for with the four coolstores is to be operational by the end of March next year. “So a lot to happen over the next few months to be ready for the 2022 season.
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Independent advice for good decisions The business environment over the past 18 months has been impacted by the uncertainties of Covid-19 and the government’s public health response to it.
While there is this level of uncertainty, one thing we are certain of, is that food production will continue to be the key building block of New Zealand’s recovery. As a company, Fruition Horticulture
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provides independent, evidencebased advice to growers to assist in this economic recovery. Ruth Underwood and Sandy Scarrow, the owners and directors of Fruition, have worked closely with growers and their service providers to support the horticulture industry for the past 35 years. We are both very focused on ensuring that the industry and individual growers achieve not only their production goals, but also consider the other aspects of the triple bottom line, that is, people and planet. Global demand for quality, sustainably-grown, clean and green New Zealand primary produce continues to grow. In fact, the Sandy Scarrow, managing increase in demand for director of Fruition product has partly been Horticulture (BOP) Ltd driven by the healthgiving properties of kiwifruit particularly. Each year brings its own set of challenges. These challenges may be faced better with the help of an external ear. As consultants, we are here to help you frame up the questions and then help you to answer them.
Brendan Hamilton (right) and a client with one of the soil moisture monitoring probes.
So if you are considering whether now is the right time for you to sell, how to manage succession within your growing business, how to grow and develop the talent in your business or how to respond to the proposed removal of hydrogen cyanamide from the kiwifruit growing system, consider bringing either Sandy or Ruth in to support you in this decision making process. We value our independence so think about bringing in an independent person when making key decisions on your orchard’s future. For more information on any of the consultancy or training services offered by Fruition go to their websites: www.fruiton.net.nz or: www.fruition.ac.nz Sandy Scarrow, Fruition Horticulture (BOP) Ltd
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My Name is Neil Woodward. I am a director of Z-Contracting- we are family run business, our team consists of three, being myself, my son and my brother. Our organisation has been established for over 18 years. I have been involved in applying crop protection programmes within the horticultal industry since 1966. We specialise within the kiwi fruit industry, We have the equipment to spray orchards with our two Atom sprayers and one recently purchased Tracatom Formula tractor which is also available for mulching and mowing.
My Name is Neil Woodward. I am a director of Z-Contracting- we are family run business, our team consists of three, being myself, my son and my brother. Our organisation has been established for over 18 years. I have been involved in applying crop protection programmes within the horticultal industry since 1966. We specialise within the kiwi fruit industry, We have the equipment to spray orchards with our two Atom sprayers and one recently purchased Tracatom Formula tractor which is also available for mulching and mowing.
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A jewel in the crown A name change is in the air for a red variety of kiwifruit. Zespri has confirmed that its current red kiwifruit will be named Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit for the first year of sales of commercial volumes in the upcoming 2022 season. Commercialised in December 2019 and initially marketed as Zespri Red during the sales trials, Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit will be available in commercial volumes for the first time in 2022 in New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and China, with volumes expected to increase from 70,000 trays in 2021 to around 250,000 trays in 2022.
immediate sense of that alluring red colour.” Jiunn says consumer research was undertaken in a number of markets, and also took into account the need for the new name to translate across different languages given the fruit’s broad appeal in Asian markets.
Priority given to close markets
The name is in the process of being trademarked in Zespri’s key markets. “The shorter shelf-life of Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit compared to Zespri SunGold and Zespri Green has meant that we’ve prioritised our Asian markets given the shorter marine transit times,” says Jiunn. “We know there’s strong Great response demand for the fruit Zespri chief growth in our other markets, officer Jiunn Shih says the including in Europe, and new name better reflects we’re continuing growing the fruit’s properties trials in our Northern and had tested well in Hemisphere production consumer research. locations to determine the “Consumers have been commercial potential of a red attracted to the fruit’s unique cultivar in different environments. colour profile and berry-like “We remain committed to taste and we’ve been delighted Zespri Red, soon to be known as providing the world’s leading with their feedback,” says Jiunn. RubyRed, was introduced into the portfolio of fresh, high quality and “The consumer response to safe kiwifruit and we’re looking market in 2019. Photos: Zespri. our limited sales trials over the forward to even more consumers past three seasons have exceeded expectations and being able to try Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit in the suggest Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit is able to attract years ahead,” says Jiunn. new and younger consumers into the kiwifruit Zespri RubyRed Kiwifruit will be available to category, complementing our offering of the consumers in New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and world’s best kiwifruit. China from around March until late May next year. “As we’ve moved towards establishing commercial About Zespri Red, soon to be known as Zespri volumes of our red kiwifruit, we’ve been exploring RubyRed Kiwifruit: names that better embody the essence of the fruit, The red kiwifruit comes from Zespri’s worldand which we hope resonate with our consumers. leading new varieties breeding programme, run in “Throughout our consumer research, Zespri partnership with Plant & Food Research in 2019. RubyRed Kiwifruit has remained at the top of It has been through an extensive trial process to consumers’ preference list – not only because show the fruit not only tastes delicious, but has the it reflects the rare and precious nature of the ability to perform to Zespri’s high expectations, from the orchard right through the supply chain. fruit but the ruby element gives consumers an
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Health risks prompt bud spray review Public consultation is now open on an application to reassess the use of hydrogen cyanamide, an active ingredient in sprays commonly used by kiwifruit growers.
Hydrogen cyanamide is banned in Europe, and its re-registration is currently under review in the United States. In New Zealand, the Environmental Protection Authority is undertaking a reassessment of the substance, which
Submissions are open until 5pm on November 26, 2021.
is primarily sprayed on bare kiwifruit orchards to help buds form after winter. “While we accept that there are economic benefits from hydrogen cyanamide use, new information suggests these are outweighed by the environmental risks and adverse health effects,” says Dr Chris Hill, general manager of the EPA’s Hazardous Substances group.
Gradual phase-out favoured
“As part of our reassessment of this substance, we’ve carried out an initial assessment of the information now available and produced draft recommendations. “The EPA is currently proposing a gradual phaseout of the use of hydrogen cyanamide, leading to a total ban in five years. This would allow existing stock to be used up, for growers to get familiar with alternatives, and for the introduction of additional alternatives to New Zealand. “Our final recommendations to the decision-
making committee will take into consideration the information received in this public consultation process. The committee, which makes the ultimate call on this reassessment, also receives the public submissions.” Hydrogen cyanamide is not for domestic use; it can only be applied by trained professionals in commercial settings. For those who work with the spray, repeated exposure over time is toxic to the reproductive system and thyroid. “We are proposing that hydrogen cyanamide be reclassified as a suspected carcinogen, with an updated warning that it is corrosive to the skin and eyes,” says Dr Hill. WorkSafe NZ advice also notes concerns for the health of workers, and the ability of professional users to appropriately manage the risks of hydrogen cyanamide. “We acknowledge that concerns have existed about this substance for some time. This is the opportunity for all interested parties to have their say,” says Dr Hill. Submissions are open until 5pm on November 26, 2021.
Hydrogen cyanamide has been used in New Zealand since 1988. There are currently six hydrogen cyanamide products registered. They are Hi-Cane, Treestart, Hortcare Hi-break, Synergy HC, Gro-Chem HC-50 and Cyan. These products are restricted to commercial use only. In September 2019, an EPA decision-making committee decided that grounds exist to reassess this substance after significant new information on hazards and risks emerged in a report from the European Food Safety Authority. Last year, the EPA opened a public call for information about hydrogen cyanamide. Since then, work has been underway to review the responses and prepare the reassessment application. Reassessments are determined by a Decisionmaking Committee. The outcome can range from no change to controls (or usage rules), modifications or restrictions to controls, or revoking the approval for a substance altogether.
Bee on the lookout for a swarm You would think that beekeepers are used to ‘social distancing’ when it comes to getting up close with bees, but actually a happy beekeeper is one who loves to be around a swarm of bees. And collecting new swarms. Right now is the season when new colonies of bees start to form. “Typically a hive establishes itself in a season and the following season if the hive is full it can decide to split and create a second colony,” says Chris Mitchell of Seaside Bees. “Because they need a queen she goes with them. Before they leave, they raise a new queen and only take off when she is about to emerge. If it is raining that day they sit on the lid and keep her in her cell until they’re ready to go.”
Chris says the swarming bees fill up with about a week’s worth of honey before taking off. “Generally swarming bees can’t even bend over to try and sting you as they are so full of honey, so swarms are totally safe. “The new swarm generally flies only a short distance, 20 metres to 1 kilometre downwind from the maternal hive, because the queen is large and heavy so she isn’t a good flyer.” The bees normally park up in a sheltered tree for up to a week while a scout bee, or as Chris puts it ‘housing committee’ checks out all the possible locations for a new hangout. “If they haven’t found anywhere after a week things can get dire as the honey in their tummies runs out. Week old swarms can be very stressed and grumpy. If they find a hollow tree or your
Above: Fer Nieto and Pacho Nieto with a swarm. All Photos: Chris Mitchell. Left: A swarm of bees.
house, they’ll generally be impossible to move once the queen has laid eggs and they start raising brood.”
Help is at hand
The BOP Beekeeper Group has registered beekeepers experienced at swarm collection, usually removing swarms at night when the bees are together. The group has a map on: https://bopbee.weebly.com/collection.html with phone numbers of the beekeepers so the public can quickly contact someone to collect a colony that’s arrived in their house or nearby tree. The group meets monthly to visit beekeepers, learn about bees and help each other. They own honey extractors, a small library and co-operates in various ways. There are several hundred members but 50 or so at a typical meeting, where they have guest speakers, honey tasting and visit home apiaries. Rosalie Liddle Crawford
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Nicole and Shaan Singh, and 11-month old Mikka, with the dairy herd behind them, and sheep dotting the steeper hills behind. Photo: Catherine Fry.
There have been Singhs farming at Wharepapa South for six decades, with fourth generation Shaan currently running the station with his father Joe. Shaan’s 11-month-old son, Mikka is the fifth generation of the family to live on the station.
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The station is a long and narrow 687 hectare block straddling two districts, Pukeatua and Wharepapa South, and a seven kilometre race running through it from end to end. Shaan grew up on the station and is proud to be still farming the same land as his grandfather. He lives there with his German-born wife Nicole and son Mikka. The Singhs have always shown adaptability and resilience as markets fluctuated, new ideas and modernisation came along. Today the station is very diverse, utilising as much of the land as possible, and covering drystock, dairy and tourism ventures.
“I remember my family discussing sheep milking several years ago. We didn’t do it, but they were very open to new ideas,” says Shaan.
Initially the remote station was only used for sheep and beef. About one-third of the station was converted to dairy in 2012, with about 229 hectares becoming the dairy platform. Shaan milks 400 Jersey/Friesian cross on a three-milkings-every-two-days cycle. The heifers calve in the autumn, and the main dairy herd in the spring. Although much of the station is of rolling contour, there are some steep areas and stunning ignimbrite tors dotted around the property. Joe looks after the drystock side of the station, and runs 400 breeding ewes, 200 fattening lambs and 100 replacements on the steeper ground. “Our Coopworth Perendale crosses are well suited to the steeper land, and in order to use the steeper land, we will always need to have sheep on the station,” says Shaan. ...continued
over five generations
Shearing is carried out in May and December, and Shaan keeps abreast of initiatives in the pipeline to phase out man made materials for carpet, and return to the eco-friendlier wool. Joe also oversees their small herd of 30 pedigree Angus cattle. The Angus were a dream of Shaan’s grandfather, Gurdyal ‘Guru’, and are kept today more for sentimental reasons. “Replacement heifers are kept each season, and the calves remain on the mothers for three months before being raised to 16 months and sold,” says Shaan. The station grazes 200 of their own dairy calves each year, with an equal mix of rising one-year-olds and rising two-year-olds. “We cover the cows with Angus or Hereford bulls, and take all the calves off their mothers immediately and Nicole rears them, dispensing with the need for bobby calf collection,” says Shaan.
After romantically meeting Shaan on her OE, Nicole permanently came to New Zealand in 2014 and settled easily into station life. “I come from a rural village in
Germany and spent my childhood helping out on farms and riding horses, especially trekking.” Nicole could see the potential in some of the station’s unused outbuildings, and following her love of restoring old furniture and old buildings, has converted the shearers’ quarters and a pool house into farmstay accommodation. “I also have 11 horses, and I run a horse trekking business. We’ve got so much beautiful scenery and can go on long treks without leaving the station.”
The most recent venture on the station is buffaloes and as you drive through the station, it’s strange seeing unfamiliar silhouettes on the horizon. “By the fourth generation we’d kind of lost the connection with our Indian roots. “I have memories of childhood holidays in India, and the hot buffalo milk we drank at bed time to aid sleep,” says Shaan. Buffaloes produce a high fat content milk which can be used to make characteristically white butter and cheese. The popular mozzarella cheese, or paneer as it is known in India, is made
Vietnamese water buffalo and calf. Photo: Nicole Singh.
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from buffalo milk. After seeing Phil Armstrong and his buffalo herd from Matakana on Country Calendar, Shaan made contact. In 2019, they expanded into a joint venture, with Shaan grazing and milking half the Whangaripo Buffalo herd at Longsight Station. “We modified the cowshed to accommodate the buffalo and milk them from March to September.” Shaan is concentrating on breeding out the Vietnamese water buffaloes, which are more agricultural work beasts, and breeding in pure bred Riverine buffaloes, “the Friesians of buffalo world”. The buffaloes are very much an experiment, with 30 running on around 20 hectares of the station, and the Singhs exploring the developing market for both buffalo milk products and their meat. Shaan feels it is important to have several lines of income from the station. “With first world food cultures constantly changing, and the drop in international tourism, it makes sense to have a good mix of options available to us.” Horse trekking at www.stonehill.nz Catherine Fry
Phone: 07 362 8433
Tick the boxes and beat those parasites Theileriosis continues to be a significant issue on farms heading into another bloodsucking summer in the upper North Island. The disease is caused by the parasite Theileria orientalis and is spread by infected cattle ticks when they feed on the animals’ blood. The disease affects both beef and dairy cattle and it can infect cattle of any age. Cows
over the calving period and potentially young cattle (two to three months of age) are most at risk of disease. There are no human health risks. Specifically targeted are young calves or previously unaffected adult cows with a history of grazing off-farm where infected tick populations are high. The disease typically manifests itself at times of high stress, such as early lactation for milking cows that are transitioning into peak milk production. In the case of calves demands of rapid growth / dietary transition is typical, especially when environmental and other disease challenges are present. Most cattle will show no obvious signs of disease but some cattle within the herd with Theileria can progress to severe anaemia and potentially death. Theileria can enter a property either via infected ticks on animals (including all wildlife) or via Theileria-infected cattle which infect the local tick population. Signs of disease associated with anaemia include the following:
Cows are lethargic and lag behind the mob. Cows do not respond as expected to treatment for conditions such as milk fever. Cows are off their food and appear hollow-sided in the abdomen. Pale or yellow vulval mucous
membranes or whites of eyes. There is a decrease in milk production, and a potential for poor reproductive performance. There may be poor health and low performance in your
young stock. There may be deaths especially close to calving or early lactation. Disease outbreaks can be triggered by stress, particularly around calving time, or even when there is underlying disease and/or certain nutritional deficiencies, e.g. Gastrointestinal parasites, BVD virus, facial eczema challenge, trace element deficiencies. Control of ticks is strongly advised particularly if moving cattle from one property to another. This applies especially if moving from a more Northern property or there is a known history of ticks with signs associated with anaemia in the past. This is achieved by treating all cattle with products containing flumethrin before leaving the property or before mixing with other cattle. Contact your local vet clinic for more information.
Not feeling your best? (Part 1) One of the most rewarding things I do is to hear stories from clients.
This week I spoke to an older client who was healthy but had low energy and felt flat despite no medical reasons. I had started her on a programme that involved three supplements: A winter Vitamin D booster to lift her immune responses, some Omega 3 fish oil to reduce inflammation and most importantly my multi-antioxidant, multi-mineral, multi vitamin supplement. She reported her energy levels were steadily rising and felt so much better in herself. If there is no particular medical reason for low energy we turn our attention to micro-nutrients; the minerals, vitamins and antioxidants that are responsible for maintaining the health of our cells. As I often repeat, ‘a healthy cell is a healthy body’. When we improve the health of cells, we improve the health of the tissue comprised of those cells. In the case of my client, I suspect that we helped improve the processes that produce
the energy we need. We can divide these into the actual processes that make our energy (do you remember glycolysis, Krebs cycle and electron transport chain from school science?) and secondly the antioxidant systems that constantly clean up the toxic by-products of energy conversion. The list of micro-nutrients needed for this is long. My multi-nutritional supplement has more than 50 ingredients and most of these are responsible directly or indirectly for energy. If you are low in energy and generally not at your best I suggest you do what I recommended for my client for at least three months. John Arts (B.Soc.Sci, Dip Tch, Adv.Dip.Nut.Med) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health Ltd. For questions or advice contact John on 0800 423559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Join his all new newsletter at www.abundant.co.nz
Amore Roses Uncertainty around Covid levels has regretfully led to the cancellation of Waikato’s Amore Roses’ open day, normally held in November, in favour of group bookings. Janette Barnett says group tours of 10 people or more can take place at Amore Roses’ test gardens under Level 2. “We are a boutique rose nursery importing the latest roses from around the world. “Normally closed off to the
the gates for group tours
public, our test gardens are separate to the nursery so the opportunity to see new varieties in full bloom is a rare event, and one valued by hundreds of people each year. “All our roses – those being tested for suitability to New Zealand conditions – and those on sale are unique to Amore Roses; you won’t find them anywhere else. “Each new rose is Decoranza Kingfisher, a quarantined for 12-18 new release for winter 2022. months in greenhouses to
pass the MPI health checks. Then out in the test gardens we ensure it is easy care, disease resistant, novel and a prolific flowerer before it is released to the public. “We have roses for every garden and every gardener – from patios to lifestyle blocks and farms. They are all easy care – winter pruning, regular feeding and watering delivering nine months of bloom. “Very few plants can equal their output!” Janette Barnett says group bookings are only available via appointment and cost $5 per person. “We provide a guided tour of the Test Gardens and give an overview of the business – the $5 is deducted from the price of any roses they purchase from our nursery.”
Concept design costs nothing
Free concept plans are on offer for Bay of Plenty landowners.
understand their dream home and then, balancing it against their budget and taking the section into consideration, we develop concept plans. The opportunity “Getting concept comes from one plans without of the country’s incurring design most respected cost is a saving house building of thousands of companies, dollars,” Ryan says. Highmark Homes. Building a home Highmark Homes is one of the largest has been operating investments of a since the 1970s. lifetime, so “We’re aware it’s important to there are a number get it right – to of people who own ensure your new their own land and home reflects want to build but your personality Bob Hunt and Ryan Hunt. are in a holding and lifestyle. pattern because of the perception that a tailored Highmark Homes is able to offer clients the home design comes at a huge cost,” says managing complete package, from design through to director Ryan Hunt. completion, so the building experience is as stress “Highmark’s free concept design offer has free as possible. just been launched in the BOP. As part of the Find out more about Highmark Homes Got promotion, we are offering free site visits and some Good Dirt free concept plan promotion at: evaluations, estimates and the concept plans. www.highmarkhomes.co.nz/got-your-own-dirt/ or “During the process we talk with landowners to by phoning: 07 574 1956.
Janette Barnett with Briony Nash working in the nursery.
Following the Espalier is believed to have been started by the ancient Romans. In the Middle Ages, the Europeans refined it into an art, and it is still a sought after look in the smaller gardens of modern times. It is the practice of controlling woody plant growth for the production of fruit, by pruning and tying branches to a frame. Reporoa couple, engineer Keith Nicolson and school counsellor Helen Bissett, bought their first property together in 2004 in preparation for their retirement years. The four hectare block offered paddocks for Helen’s horses and room for UK born Keith to set up a retirement project. The aesthetics of the varied contour and crystal clear trout stream running through the property were also selling points for the property. “In the UK, 10 acres is considered a pretty sizeable piece of land, and with intensive cultivation, people make money from it. Whereas in New Zealand, 10 acres is considered a townie lifestyle block,” says Keith.
Finding a retirement project
Keith knew he didn’t want to breed, raise or look after animals, but wasn’t sure what to do at first. The espalier idea “landed in his lap” when someone he knew wanted one. “I was still living on my quarter acre block in Rotorua when I built a frame and attempted my first espalier with an apple tree.” By the time he moved to the 10-acre
to retirement property, he had dozens of espaliers in different stages of development. It takes three to four years to get an espalier trained and thriving. Keith makes his frames out of bamboo, securing the shapes with copper wire twists, which don’t rust. He grafts trees using rootstock (base and root portion of a plant) from
dabbed with pine resin, which acts as an antiseptic. “Hygiene and washing the knife between plants is important throughout the grafting process, and I’ve learned that through trial and error in the past.” The grafted trees are trained as soon as the graft has taken and lead shoots
Belgian fence espalier examples. All Photos: Catherine Fry.
McGrath Nurseries in Cambridge, and scions (young plant shoots) from Richards Nursery in Blenheim. Grafting requires a sharp knife, and the cambiums (layer of actively dividing cells in plants responsible for secondary growth) of the rootstock and scion must line up for the graft to take. The graft is wrapped in grafting tape to keeps germs out, and the top of the scion is
appear. They sit in their black polythene potting bags, with the frame pushed into the bag so training can start.
Sharing the workload
Since the move, both Helen and Keith still work full time, but also run their espalier nursery, with Helen fully on board with the sales and marketing side. “She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of
A graft that has taken, with a budding scion.
Page 37 Helen Bissett and Keith Nicolson in the espalier nursery.
every day in the drier weather, with pruning and training carried out most days. Keith spends four to five hours a day working with the espaliers at the weekend, and takes a week of annual leave from his day job to do the grafting.
Both Keith and Helen are clearly doing something they are interested in and are passionate about, and now have a viable business in place for their retirement years. www.nicolsonbissett.co.nz
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what we grow, what we have in stock and where they are in the nursery. I just do the grafting and growing,” says Keith. Tauranga Chamber of Commerce member, Derek Rosier, was been an invaluable mentor to their business. “He was excited about what we were doing, and gave us the confidence to carry on. We were offered great ideas and he suggested we set up a website and sold direct from there, and from local markets,” says Keith.
RACECONSTRUCTION CONSTRUCTION RACE DRAINAGE DRAINAGE CONSTRUCTION&&HOUSE HOUSESITES SITES CONSTRUCTION Apple blossom on an older espalier.
Initially, only heritage apples were grown, using old favourites such as Captain Kidd, Braeburn, Lobos, Early Strawberry, Merton Russet, and Devonshire Quarrenden which dates back to 1827. “Since then we’ve started pear varieties, and are trying plums for the first time this season,” says Helen. Due to customer demand, they are also experimenting with double grafting using two different varieties of plums.
Keith Nicolson with his 2021 grafts.
The espaliers are a seasonal process, with spraying required just before budding, after leaf fall, and mid-winter. “We use Bordeaux mixture, which is a mix of copper sulphate, lime and water, which is an effective bactericide and fungicide for fruit trees,” says Helen. Training is constant, with espaliers at all different stages of development. Over the years, Keith has become quite accomplished at identifying fruiting buds and leaf buds. Fruiting buds are pruned and the leaf buds are the leader shoots that can be trained. Once shaped, continual maintenance pruning encourages the espalier to fruit, so they can be abundant with fruit while only taking up a small area. The couple describe the espaliers as manpower heavy and time consuming. They are hand hosed
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CARTAGE & EARTHWORKS
Mayor Don Cameron (centre) talks with local growers Ivan (left) and Scott Young from Kim Young and Sons by the Mangateitei Rd rail overbridge.
Ruapehu vegetable growers stuck on the wrong side of the tracks can finally celebrate after Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency agreed to fund the replacement of two rail overbridges. Weight restrictions and compliance cameras have been in place on the Ruapehu Rd and Mangateitei Rd rail over-bridges between Ohakune and Rangataua, following engineers reports on the ageing structures earlier this year. Vegetable growers have been seriously hampered by the new weight restrictions, which barely cover the weight of the trucks, let alone the produce. The Ruapehu District Council was relying on Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to come through with most of the funding for the two bridges, having budgeted $1.2 million of the $4.6 million cost. In June this year Ruapehu Mayor Don Cameron warned that the two bridge replacements could be the tip of the iceberg for Ruapehu and the rest of the country. Ruapheu has 341 old bridges including large culverts, the majority of which were built about 100 years ago. “Multiply this situation across rural New Zealand there is likely to be a large bow wave of aging bridge stock vital to the economy that small regional councils cannot afford to renew.”
Mayor Cameron says confirmation of the funding last week for replacing the two bridges was great news and would be well received by local growers and contractors. “Council would like to thank Waka Kotahi NZTA for their support of these projects in a period of funding constraint and increased competition from other regional transport demands.” Cameron says they did well out of the 2021/24 funding allocation given the moderation Waka Kotahi NZTA had been signalling to councils. “We feel $48.3 million for maintenance and renewal for the next three-years is a reflection of Waka Kotahi NZTA’s support of Government’s strategic priorities, namely safety, better travel options, improved freight connections, and climate change. “We have received all we applied for toward speed management, the national Road to Zero (road safety) strategy, and for the Ohakune Mountain Road, but only a quarter of what we wanted for minor improvements which was consistent around NZ with this fund being over-subscribed.” He says with inflation pressures on construction projects as a result of Covid-19 and the council’s Funding Assistance Rating dropping from 75 per cent to 74 per cent from next financial year, the roading team will be under pressure to maintain levels of service and satisfaction in the local road network.
CARTAGE & EARTHWORKS
New look McCormick a heavyweight contender
New Zealand McCormick distributor Agtek is pleased to announce the arrival of the first new McCormick X8 Series tractor in the southern hemisphere. The all-new X8 range includes three models which are labelled X8 – 660, 670 and 680. Agtek general manager Gayne Carroll says the power for X8s comes from new fuel-efficient FPT Industrial Betapower 6.7-litre, six-cylinder engines with eVGT turbocharger and common rail injection system. They are available in a Tier 3, no add-blue, and also a Tier 5i-compliant unit that produces from 265hp to 310hp. “The standard gearbox for the tractors is the new, latest generation VT Drive by ZF. The VT-Drive four-stage continuous variable transmission selects automatically the most suitable gear ratio allowing seamless speed progression without the need to shift gears and has four programmable speed ranges. “X8 models are all with 40km/h or 50 km/h Eco speed at reduced engine rpm,” Gayne says. “All X8 tractors have a PTO system with three speeds and economy settings for both 540ECO / 1000 RPM and 1000ECO RPM speeds. “You can select these using levers on the righthand fender console. A switch in the cab console engages the PTO electronically.” Hydraulic power is provided by a closed centre system with individual pumps for steering and lubrication. They provide a combined maximum output of up to 212 litres per minute and rear power lift of 12,000 kg capacity and 5000 kg front lift. The most powerful rear hitch in its class. The system includes a three-way flow divider and up to 11 dedicated electrohydraulic remote valves:
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six at the rear, two mid-mounted and three at the front, including one dedicated to the hitch. They can be fitted with up to 18 new working lights and twin cab beacons, while LED tail lights complement the modern design. A new, one-piece engine hood lifts high out of the way to reveal a redesigned radiator and fold-out oil cooler pack system that makes daily maintenance an easy task. Aside from new styling the X8 tractors also feature McCormick’s completely new Premiere cab. The Premiere Cab is a new-concept four-post design with rear hinged doors that provides unobstructed visibility in all directions, allowing the driver full view of blind spots without changing position. Built at Argo Tractors’ cab facility, it is 180mm wider than the previous cab and features a completely new interior layout with a distinctly automotive flair. Wider doors with adjustable heavy-duty hinges give generous access, while boosting in-cab noise level of only 70 dB for maximum comfort of operation. All controls are arranged logically, while other features include the tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, with integrated instrument panel that remains in the correct position relative to the position of the steering wheel, multi-function armrest with ergonomically designed controller and integrated controls, 12” Data Screen Manager touch screen monitor and automatic climate control. Passengers can ride in comfort on the new patented seat, which folds completely out of sight making it easier to get in and out of the tractor. Gayne says additional comfort and performance from features such as front axle and cab suspension make the X8 a true contender in today’s market place and anyone considering a tractor in this 250 – 300hp sector should take a look at the McCormick X8. For more information, go to: www.agtek.co.nz
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SHEEP & BEEF
“Golden Cows” Cambridge couple, Beverley and Ross Lawrenson, live on a beautifully maintained 60-hectare block on the slopes of the Te Miro hills outside the town, which backs onto protected DOC land.
Two lighter coloured Gelbvieh. All Photos: Catherine Fry.
Formerly a GP, Ross now works at Waikato University and Beverley works at home. The talented artist is equally comfortable when smartly dressed at one of her art exhibitions, or out in the rain in farm clothes tending to her beloved Gelbvieh cattle. Born and raised on a sheep and beef farm in Southland, Beverley is no stranger to farm work and “was her father’s right-hand man as a young girl”. UK born Ross, was raised on a Sussex pig farm, but happily leaves the running of their farm to Beverley.
Giving Gelbvieh a go
The couple initially bought the 25 hectare Te Miro property in 2006, acquiring a further, adjacent 35 hectares in 2019. Around 10,000
native trees have been planted on the original block, and shelter trees planted 15 years ago are providing good shade for the stock. All the waterways are fenced and planted, paddock fences were redefined, and races laid on the older part of the property. The newer addition is a work in progress to complete the changes Beverley and Ross want. The Lawrenson’s continued to run dairy grazers for a couple of years on the initial land, and began fattening beef weaners until they saw a stand for Gelbvieh Cattle Breeders Society of New Zealand at Fieldays one year, “where some lovely cattle were on show”. “I was attracted by their great growth rates, their temperament and their beautiful colouring,” says Beverley. The Gelbvieh (pronounced gelp-fee) originated in Bavaria, southern Germany, during the late 18th and early 19th century, and their name means ‘golden cow’. “As with most European breeds, the Gelbvieh was originally selected for meat, milk and draught work, and they were bred for temperament to safely be milked and worked.” These traits are still valued by modern breeders, alongside the addition of genetics for natural polling. While they are now bred for their beef, their prolific milk production and wonderful maternal instincts make them great mothers. Calves often put on 1.5 kilograms of weight a day, fed solely by their mothers. “Gelbvieh females have an early puberty and I have to be careful to keep female calves away from the bulls from five months old.” By 13 months, the Gelbvieh are ready to breed, having their first calves at 22 months and easily produce a calf each year. ...continued
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SHEEP & BEEF
Right: Breeding cow with the straight backline, deep chest, good udder and large rump of a pedigree Gelbvieh, with calves showcasing some of Gelbvieh hide colours.
Hereford cows, providing hybrid vigour and improving their growth rates.” Gelbvieh are used in the Profit Maker composite cattle from Rissington.
First name basis
Each season six to eight replacement heifers are kept on the farm, and the remaining heifers are sold as pedigree stock, and the remaining bulls are sold as weaners. ] Beverley Lawrenson with her beloved corgis. Beverley doesn’t eat her own continued... cows, “I can’t when I have so few In 2008 Beverley purchased eight pedigree and I know them all by name”. weaners from Gelbvieh breeder Leigh Needham, In her breeding programme Beverley aims for the and a yearling bull from breeders Sandy and typical Gelbvieh traits of a straight backline, deep Robert Mitchell, and Edenbrook Stud was born. chest, good udders and a big rump. They produce “I built up to 20 pedigree cows using a a really long, lean fillet steak. combination of AI and purchasing carefully “We get all colours ranging from light creams, selected bulls from the Society members. Since we fawns, shades of red, brown and black. I love the bought the second property, I can now winter 40 dark reds, but Ross likes the black ones.” breeding cows and grow on their offspring.” The herd is separated into small groups of cows for easy movement to paddocks of new grass. The Breeding strategy females tend to be kept in family groups and not Beverley has four bulls, and uses them for 20 with cows they aren’t familiar with. of her cows, but uses AI for the others, putting All the cows are grass fed, and supplemented the bulls in afterwards. Since the 1970s Gelbvieh with bailage and hay grown on the property. have been an important component of the North They haven’t had to bring in feed even in times American beef scene, and Beverley imports most of drought. of her semen straws from there. Having produced some stunning pedigree “We put easy calving bulls over the heifers and animals, Beverley was looking forward to showing younger stock.” them at New Zealand’s A and P shows. Sadly, after Calves remain with their mothers for around six months, reaching between 250 and 300 kilograms. firstly being curtailed by Mycoplasma bovis, now Covid-19 has intervened, but she hopes to be able Stock numbers rise to 120 animals after calving. to share her cattle with others and showcase them “My best bulls leave to become stud bulls, to New Zealand in the near future. Catherine Fry as they perform well when put over Angus or
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‘Out of step’ on log fumigant While the journey has been long and somewhat tortuous, an advocate for alternative fumigation of New Zealand’s export logs has welcomed a reassessed “road map” on the future use of methyl bromide.
New Zealand for the treatment of timber and logs The Decision-Making Committee of the for export. The most prominent of these changes is Environmental Protection Authority recently around buffer zone requirements – which are tied to announced what it calls a “comprehensive suite” of recapture efficiencies - and subsequently air emissions, new rules for the toxic and ozone-depleting substance. Kade McConville, group director of he says. Melbourne-based Draslovka Services “Any technically/chemically astute individual can tell you that fumigant Group, says the outcomes of the EPA reassessment “are now based on science recapture in a fumigation scenario is merely smoke and mirrors.” over grandfather rights, and have The forestry industry had been given categorically changed the landscape of fumigation in New Zealand”. a 10-year deadline to stop using Draslovka is seeking to have methyl bromide, but this expired last ethanedinitrile (EDN), a “non ozoneOctober and has since been subject depleter” developed by the company to a number of extensions. Dr Hill says while methyl bromide in the Czech Republic, registered with use is being phased out globally, in the EPA in New Zealand. Kade says he sees the EPA New Zealand its use increased by 66 Kade McConville. per cent between 2010 and 2019. reassessment of methyl bromide as “We are currently out of step with most “justice for the environment and the other countries which are turning away from communities which this substance has affected this ozone-depleting substance,” he says. for decades”. “However, the combined controls imposed by this decision will result in methyl bromide emissions being A clear pathway reduced significantly over the next five years. The aim Dr Chris Hill, general manager of the EPA’s is also to disincentivise the use of this fumigant. Hazardous Substances Group, says the decision sets a “While the EPA would like to see methyl bromide use roadmap to full recapture of methyl bromide. phased out as soon as possible, we acknowledge that this “It provides a clear and structured pathway for is the only biosecurity treatment that some key overseas industry to reduce the amount of methyl bromide markets are prepared to accept,” says Dr Hill. emitted,” says Dr Hill. Ship-hold fumigation will be banned from January 1, 2023. A long, slow process He says ”stepped increases” will apply to the Meanwhile, Kade believes an EPA decision on the recapture of methyl bromide from containers and Draslovka registration of EDN may not come until covered log stacks, starting from January 1, 2022. the end of the year. Revoking the approval for methyl bromide (banning Following public consultation on a science memo it outright) was “not in the scope” of this reassessment, and EPA staff report, he expects the Decision-Making but Dr Hill says the decision provides for far more Committee to call another public hearing on the stringent controls on its use. matter which is being dealt with separately from the Kade says the new rules will make it “increasingly methyl bromide assessment. difficult” to commercially use methyl bromide in Kade says the EDN application has been before the EPA for nearly four years, with Draslovka having spent $5 million in the registration process. The EPA staff report and science memo concluded that the risks of EDN to people and the environment are “considered negligible” with proposed controls and requirements from the EPA and WorkSafe in place. Kade says the “challenge” is to gain acceptance of the alternative treatment from New Zealand’s forestry trading partners, chiefly India and China. At present India only accepts logs from overseas treated with methyl bromide. Kade says logs treated with EDN are exported to China from the Czech Republic.
Avocados prove popular in Asia As industries throughout the country struggle with the challenges of doing business in a Covid environment, the decade of work that Katikati firm, Darling Group, have put into markets throughout Asia are finally paying off.
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Jacob Darling, general manager of group sales and marketing, says the 2021 season remains on track. “Week 40 marks a significant milestone for the Darling Group team. We are now sitting at 40 per cent of our total volume picked, packed and on the water.”
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“We are extremely mindful that there is a significant amount of ‘water to still go under the bridge’, but the silver lining remains that we are within a few thousand trays of our goal.” “Pleasingly, Asia continues to return a premium over Australia, with the benefit of a short USA market allowing significantly less Mexican volume into our primary markets across Asia which has
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Darling Group have been exporting to Asia for close to 10 years now. A combination of strong campaigns involving engaging with customers, influencers, and in-market advertising companies has enabled them to expand their exports into this region year-on-year. “Of the 300,000 trays picked this season, 220,000 trays, or 73 per cent of the crop, has been dispatched to Asia. The difference has found its way to Australian retailers and into the domestic market,” says Jacob. “Our plan for the 2021 harvest was to place 70 percent of the total crop into Asian markets, so we’re well on track to achieve that despite global shipping delays.” The markets that Darling Group predominantly operates in across Asia are China, Korea, Thailand, and Hong Kong. “China and Korea are set up to take the bulk of the Asian volume for the group, however all markets in the region contribute significantly to the overall value of the export programme,” says Jacob.
SEE DEMO VIDEO ONLINE
Jacob Darling, GM group sales and marketing at Darling Group with a tray of their 2021 Avocado crop ready for market.
assisted with firm pricing in there,” says Jacob. Seasonal fluctuations are of course a major hurdle for all horticultural operations. “Quality and dry matter is one to watch! With dry matter levels creeping up every week across all regions this is something that our team is monitoring on a weekly basis. “The challenge is that we will come under timing pressure to pick and pack large volumes to tie in with sea freight schedules to Asia. “Our priority is to get crop picked, packed, and sold, with the aim of being 65 to 70 per cent through by week 45,” says Jacob. While Asian markets are growing from strength to strength, Jacob notes the Australian market is more challenging than in previous seasons. “The Australian market continues to be under pressure. Supply chain delays, domestic oversupply and Covid-19 in New South Wales and Victoria are all elements that are making it extremely tough in the Australian retail market and as a result we are redirecting fruit to other channels,” says Jacob.
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It seems cold, there’s been a real Last month I wrote an article chill in the wind, it seems wetter that included forecasting the than last year and there have been weather pattern of a cold spring. some big wind events impacting the
I was concerned that I was playing a game with the gods in that I could forecast weather. My concern about treading into others’ territories have been somewhat alleviated.
growing crop. Am I guessing? Someone will prove it right or wrong. Our spring growth is behind and our no-harvest days are above average and our bees have gone in later and for a shorter period.
However, as we head through flowering and into fruit growth, it’s a good time to start planning for the pruning programme.
It’s time to grow
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Avocados grow all year - somewhat slow, if at all, in the winter - but growth time between now and the peak of the heat in mid-summer is important. Many growers will be reviewing this year’s avocado growing programme as a method of containing costs. Working to a planned nutrient budget is important and it’s quite a timely season to start to get an understanding of the needed nutrient volume verses what you are applying. While more work is needed at an industry level on soil and orchard losses, targeting your nutrient programme will save time and dollars. In the same breath you might consider what you are going to do for your pruning and injecting programme. Pruning in the summer is not ideal as the sun can do a lot of damage to the outer layers of the tree tissue. Pruning in heat is also risky as a tree can suffer and lose significant vigour. Targeting an early prune programme will reduce stress in trees with big fruit numbers and it will encourage the limited food resources in a tree to be better allocated. Fewer fruit equals bigger fruit,
is the theory so the earlier you reduce fruit numbers the earlier and longer the remaining fruit can grow.
Good pest control is essential. Avogreen monitoring and timely pest sprays with copper will help you deliver the most fruit you can to the market. Likewise targeting fewer, but bigger fruit helps with early picking and getting a bigger percentage of the crop off earlier. Don’t miss this opportunity as we head into Christmas and the New Year. It’s important to maximise the trees’ growth rates in this period and it’s also timely to review your nutrient programme to see if you can reduce your applied nitrogen by using more effective mixes and targeting to reduce wastage. Simple things like applying fertiliser before a rain rather than in direct sunlight all work towards making your nutrient programme and budget more effective. So in a nut shell we have actions to do, savings to be made and fruit to get to the market. Here’s to some warmth and less rain and wind.
Welcoming new AGRC members Two long standing growers are stepping up to join the Avoco Grower Relationship Committee (AGRC).
New members Ross Woods and John Cotterell attended their first meeting of the AGRC governance group in October. The huge experience of Ross and John is welcomed by Avoco during a time of some uncertainty for the industry. Increased global competition and ongoing disruptions to shipping services due to Covid-19, coupled with increased domestic crop volumes in Australia, combine to make for challenging times. Avoco marketing and communications manager Steve Trickett says both Ross and John’s commercial and orcharding experience will be valued. “It’s great that we have growers of such calibre in Ross and John joining the AGRC to help guide Avoco through unsettling times for growers. Particularly when you consider the projected volume growth and the need to achieve incremental improvements in productivity, fruit quality and market performance.”
Based in the Far North and from a veterinarian background, Ross has been in the avocado industry for more than 20 years. He is keen to start advocating for growers. Ross would like to see Avoco remain a strong market player, and growers and marketers mutually benefiting from a close relationship that places excellent avocado product in diversified markets resulting in consistently good OGR’s. Ross is pleased the AGRC role will enable him to communicate more closely with marketers and other areas of the industry. “This gives me the opportunity to highlight things that may have an influence on marketing decisions at a regional or national level,” he says. “The Far North and Mid North areas are so different from the Bay of Plenty that we have to ensure that we are in their ear at times. Examples of this may be environmental challenges, labour challenges, pest or political challenges.
Tough test ahead. Experience Game plan Teamwork
Based near Katikati in the Bay of Plenty, John has been in the industry for 22 years, ever since he and wife Cindy bought their orchard in 1999. At that time, they planted 4.1ha in avocados. “In 2016 we bought a neighbouring property that had 1.0ha planted in avocados. We have since planted another 5.4ha to give us a total area of 10.5ha of avocados. It goes without saying I am very passionate about the industry and its future,” he says. John also managed a 40ha avocado development for an absentee American owner for three years from 2006, worked part time for Team Horticulture Ltd as well as for Riversun Nursery in 2009/10, and in April 2010 joined Southern Produce Ltd as a growers’ services representative for 10 years. A man who likes to keep busy in the industry, John has experience on boards that he is keen to utilise in the AGRC role. He served as a Team Avocado trustee for six years from August 2004 and was a New Zealand Avocado Board director for eight years from 2011. When he and Cindy aren’t spending time on the orchard, they enjoy spending time at their holiday house at Lake Rotoiti fishing for trout or socialising with family and friends.
“If I bring any of these challenges to a meeting with appropriate emphasis, then I am fulfilling one of my key roles.” Ross acknowledges that avocado growers are living in challenging times and need to support one another. “I don’t believe that it is all doom and gloom with pricing or Covid-19, and I suppose I’m an optimist. “OGR’s will be a challenge for some growers. “I’d like to be in a position to reassure growers that Avoco’s plans and structure are in a sound position to take us all forward in a sustainable manner.” Away from work, Ross and wife Kathy like to travel while engaging in their passion for scuba diving. They have been to countries such as the Galapagos Islands and love the fishing and diving opportunities the Far North offers from their beach house at Teal Bay.
We're all in this together. avoco.co.nz
The importance of observation when soil sampling Robin Boom
Independent Agronomy & Soil Fertility Consultant
and obvious urine patches. He applied a capital application of potassium and phosphorus and what a difference it made a year later. There were good sized clover over the whole property and ryegrass was now the dominant species and the pastures were really pumping. The farmer could see the big improvement himself, and with the healthy clovers the whole natural Earlier today I took nitrogen cycle was working properly, some samples off a rather than the anaemic looking pastures dotted run-off owned by a dairy farmer. Last year it with green urine patches observed a year before. It now looked as vibrant as his dairy farm. looked to be struggling, It is one thing to get soil test data back from a mainly because fertiliser laboratory, but this also needs to align with what inputs had been you observe in the field, and that is why I found minimal, with little it strange that this spring Ballance reps were not clover and a dominance taking many soil tests for farmers, but rather Hill of low fertility grasses Laboratories were employing their own staff to go around and take samples on behalf of Ballance reps.
I enjoy walking around farms observing the pasture make up and vigour, and discussing my observations with farmers as I take soil samples.
First hand observation
I can see this as being a win-win for both companies, as it gives the Ballance reps more time to visit more of their clients and work on fertiliser recommendations using Overseer and econometric models, and Hill Laboratories win by getting more soil samples through their laboratory. The problem I have with this model though is that it is important to actually walk through paddocks and make mental observations as you go on different parts of the farm, and by not observing the pastures first hand, an important link missing. Also when I push the soil probe into the soil, I can tell how tight or free the soil itself is, whether it is biologically alive or dead, and if there are compaction or drainage problems which in themselves can be just as important an issue as the chemistry of the soil. Sometimes I find with dairy farms in particular that the chemistry may be at optimum levels, but there may be an absence of clovers, too much poa or weeds like mouse eared chickweed, shepherds purse, sorrel, yellow bristle grass or stinking mayweed which tell their own story. On other properties the pastures may be open for some other reason, such as drought, pests or the overuse of nitrogen. In such situations I may suggest pasture species need to be considered a priority instead of fertilisers.
On hill country pastures, the grass, clover and weed species found are even more diverse than dairy farms and this is often determined by soil fertility. Clovers which are stunted or discoloured, pale around the edges or have red markings are all indicative of different elements which are deficient. Similarly with grasses, the dominance of browntop, sweet vernal, crested dogstail, danthonia, rice grass, or chewings fescue, all of which are often termed ‘native grasses’, not because they are native to New Zealand because they are not, but because they are the ones that persist and survive on low nutrient levels, or ‘native’ background fertility. All of these species point to some factor of fertility which is limiting production, but it is more often the clovers which are the canary of pastures, and ‘native grass’ dominance is caused by the absence of good legume growth, which fix free nitrogen which encourages the more productive grasses to compete.
Looking at the elements
Visual observations are vitally important in helping diagnose deficiency symptoms, a bit like a good vet can look at a cow and often tell what the issue is or a good GP can observe and push and prod to see what the ailment is. They will of course also use blood tests and other tissue tests to confirm their observations, as an agronomist will also confirm symptoms through laboratory analyses. There also comes the question of what is tested for in the laboratory. Many farmers I believe are short-changed as their fertiliser rep will only look at six elements, yet plants need at least 16 elements to grow and animals at least 17. This is one of the reasons I use Brookside Laboratories based in Ohio as their standard tests analyse 13 elements and there are other elements or means of testing the soils for looking at nutrient levels which provide more and better information than just relying on the old Olsen P test and MAF Quick Tests. The Olsen P test was developed in the early 1950s by Dr Olsen of Colorado State University using baking soda for the alkaline soils of the American mid-west. The question which should be asked is why are we still using 1950s technology when there are more modern and better tests used internationally on acidic soils like ours. Robin Boom is a Member of the Institute of Professional Soil Scientists 027 444 8764.
New fertiliser technology
Quinfert CEO and scientist Dr Bert Quin has developed new fertiliser technology which he says will permanently and greatly reduce the environmentally harmful effects on water quality of soluble P lost from farms using soluble P fertilisers, and greatly reduce CO2 greenhouse gas losses from peat soils.
Bert says that while not as environmentallyprotective or sustained-release as totally natural RPR, the new technology does permit the much safer use of superphosphate and other soluble P fertilisers such as TSP, DAP and MAP in otherwise very environmentally risky situations. “It is particularly beneficial on low P-retention soils like peats, podzols, and irrigated shallow and recent soils,” says Bert. “The performance of straight RPR can struggle on typically over-limed peat and other lowmineral, low-CEC soils. Excess undissolved lime in the surface soil reduces the rate of RPR dissolution. Quin’s new ‘Allophos’ technology is designed to at least match the productivity of untreated soluble P at any pH and rainfall, but without the losses in leaching and run-off.”
‘Excited’ about the potential
Bert is an ex-government chief scientist for soil fertility with the predecessor of AgResearch. He says a massive second benefit of the technology is that allophane has long been proven to increase accumulation and biological activity of soil organic matter, sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the process. “I am very excited about its potential,” says Bert. “With this technology, there is no excuse for any intensive grazing farmer on low-medium P-retention (aka ASC) soils to continue to use unmodified soluble P fertiliser.” The basis of the technology is incubating soluble phosphate-based fertiliser – of any type – with damp subsoil from allophanic or other highly P-retentive soils, which is present in huge areas of the North Island, and also in a few locations in the
Bert Quin enjoys a nice day at home in Auckland during level three as he experiments with different Allophos recipes.
and replaced after sand removal, so pasture production is not affected long-term. “Exactly the same would apply to the excavation of allophanic clay,” he says. “Lime use is excessive on many shallow, low CEC soils.
What they really need is allophane and less lime.” Full story can be read at: www.coastandcountrynews.co.nz For more information see their advert on page 50.
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South Island, Bert says. “Allophane is a very fine clay formed mainly from volcanic ash, but is also found in some high-rainfall areas in the absence of ash. Its main characteristic is its extraordinary ability to retain plant-available P in non-water-soluble form, which protects it from runoff and leaching losses.” For aerial application, the product will be predried with burnt lime. “Soils developed from allophane-rich ash deposits have been known for decades to have much lower losses of P than other soils for this reason,” he says. “But there can be 10 metres or more of allophane-rich clay below the root-zone of pasture and crops which is just waiting there to be put to good use.”
What they need is allophane
Bert says there are many locations in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, for example where old river sand under pasture is being removed for use in construction. In these areas, the topsoil is removed
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Silicon, the missing link? Silicon is a much-underrated nutrient ignored by mainstream agriculture to our detriment.
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Si is not usually measured in soils, but if it is, mostly shows up below 100ppm. This is the desired minimum. It is like a mediator that helps even out excesses and deficiencies of soil-plant nutrition.
When we rely too heavily on chemistry, chemical reactions in the soil between applied products and resident compounds can lead to wastage of the applied fertilisers if they are the wrong products to use. “Cheapest is best,” may turn out to be the worst decision that can be made. All plant types can be affected by conditions that include iron chlorosis which results in poor photosynthesis and is seldom diagnosed. Silicon can mitigate most of these flaws we unknowingly accept as part of the cost of doing business. Follow the trail below.
Significance of silicon
Based on current literature, silicon shows its significance for the life of plants and the performance of crops in the following aspects, but not confined to these. (1) Essentiality for some forms of life. Animals, (Diatoms, Bacillariophyta), and plants, (horsetails (Equisetaceae)). (2) Enhancement of growth, yield, and quality, up to and during handling, transport, and storage. (3) Promotion of mechanical strength, plant erectness and resistance to lodging. (4) Better light interception and promotion of photosynthesis. (5) Improved performance when insufficient sunshine or too much shading. (6) Improved plant surface properties. (7) Required by and promotes fungi, and non-rhizobia bacteria. (8) Physical resistance to plant diseases involving fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes. (9) Physical resistance to herbivores ranging from phytophagous insects to mammals. (10) Resistance to excess metal toxicity. (11) Resistance to salinity stress. (12) Inhibition of transpiration and resistance to drought stress and
inefficient water use. (13) Resistance to high temperature and chilling or freezing stress. (14) Resistance to UV radiation or monochromic exposure. (15) Enhancement of root oxidising power and root activities and hence alleviation of reduced toxicity under low Eh. (Oxidation-reduction conditions as measured by the redox potential (Eh), expressed in volts.) (16) Positive effects on plant enzyme activities. (17) Alleviation of stress from other mineral deficiencies or excesses e.g., potassium, phosphorus, manganese and iron, nitrogen, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead, zinc, copper, and boron. (18) Promotion of nodule formation in legume plants and hence promotion of N2 fixation. (19) Promotion of formation of log-term stable carbon and hence having implications in carbon bio-sequestration of atmospheric CO2 and global climate change. (20) Used by earthworms to grind up soil parent materials. (21) Biology is stimulated by calcium but may then run short of silicon. Silicon not only stimulates the biology but sequesters aluminium, sparing magnesium and phosphorus that otherwise would have been tied up, or complexed by bicarbonates.
Kiwi Fertiliser has inexpensive organically certified paramagnetic rock with 21 per cent silicon. Extra benefits from this material include the nutrients, B, Ca, Co, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, S, Zn. It also has paramagnetic energy that increases plant growth even when isolated from the soil or the plant. This energy is most common in the arctic region becoming least common at the equator.
Crop yields Are we getting the yields we think we should and can we actually determine possible yields using the Reams soil test? It certainly appears so.
Grant Paton from Environmental Fertilizers is here to shed new light on potential crop yields. Crop yields are determined by the energy that the plant can access from the soil from the start of germination to the point of harvest. This energy comes from the air, water, present soil mineral status and fertiliser inputs.
usher it around the plant so it can do its job – boron is critical here as well for cell wall strength which gives shelf life.”
Good start to life
The right minerals
If at any point of a plant’s productive life it feels energy for production is restricted, the plant will compromise yield for its survival. “The first 45-55 days of a plant’s life after germination is critical. During this growth phase, the plant is in a vegetative state of growth, so it requires an abundant supply of this form of energy - that is nitrate - nitrogen 80kg/ha, calcium > 3000kg/ha, magnesium <450kg/ha, remembering magnesium is an enemy of nitrogen but critical for photosynthesis. “For these vegetative minerals to function properly we need a phosphate to potassium ratio of 2:1 up to 4:1. The higher the phosphate the better the potential yield, as phosphorus ushers all minerals into the plant except nitrogen,” says Grant. “We need the phosphate soil levels > 400kg/ha and if the phosphate reading on the Reams Soil Test is at 400 the potassium must be 100-200kg/ha. “But the issue is we don’t normally see this critically important ratio between phosphate and potassium. “More often than not, the potassium out-dominates the phosphate. So here is our basic problem, a lack of phosphate and it is inhibited to correctly do its job by potassium. “How do we get weight into a plant? Well, the number one mineral is calcium, and this need phosphorus to
These plants have been grown under the RBTI (Reams Biological Theory of Ionisation) for agriculture here in New Zealand.
After the first 55 days of growth the plant is now starting to go from a growth phase to a reproductive phase, setting the stage to grow seeds and fruit. It requires an abundant supply of ammonium-nitrogen at 60-80kg/ha, phosphate, sulphate-sulphur and the trace mineral manganese is critical for germination, without manganese, seeds would struggle to germinate. “There are a number of other minerals to complete the picture, but if you don’t have the nitrate-nitrogen, ammonium-nitrogen, calcium and phosphate set, you don’t have any hope in reaching potential crop yields. “The plant can’t get off to a flying start, and it can’t get all its jobs completed on time for it to reach its potential. You see this in the sweetcorn you buy and the top kernels of the cobb have not filled out. 1 Railway St, Paeroa, PO 3640, Newone Zealand “Calcium availability inBox the204, soilPaeroa is probably of Telephone: 0800 867 6737, Fax: 07 867 6068, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org the greatest over-looked mineral issues we face and the www.ef.net.nz single biggest mistake that everyone is making. Quite often it is a soil biological issue. “Calcium gives you weight in a plant’s shelf life and phosphorus allows this to happen. “How you monitor this progress is important too. Measuring a plant’s sap pH, sap conductivity and sap Brix levels give an insight into your seasonal progress.”
Liqu /Cal Incre activ
Solid and Liquid Fertilisers
Liquid BioChar/Humus Builder /Cal-Phos Increase soil humus and biological activity – from $15/ha
Soil Force Biological Phosphate Fertiliser Re-Charge/Nano-Cal/Multi-Cal Calcium-Carbon Fertilisers
Stock Primer – Mineralised Carbon Drench Build immunity, suppress pathogens; e.g. Rotovirus & E.Coli for as little as 4¢ per cow per day
Humates/Humic Acid/Fulvic Acid Increased water retention & nutrient release. New Biological Controls for Cricket, Cicada, Argentine Stem Weevil, Clover Flea – all added into solid and liquid fertiliser programmes.
Biological PSA management options. Reams Soil Testing, Home Garden Fertiliser.
Solid and Liquid Fertilisers Liquid BioChar/Humus Builder /Cal-Phos Increase soil humus and biological activity – from $15/ha
1 Railway St, Paeroa, PO Box 204, Paeroa 3640, New Zealand
Hum Incre & nu
Soil Force Biological Phosphate Fertiliser Re-Charge/Nano-Cal/Multi-Cal Calcium-Carbon Fertilisers Stock Primer – Mineralised Carbon Drench Build immunity, suppress pathogens; e.g. Rotovirus & E.Coli for as little as 4¢ per cow per day Humates/Humic Acid/Fulvic Acid Increased water retention & nutrient release. New Biological Controls for Cricket, Cicada, Argentine Stem Weevil, Clover Flea – all added into solid and liquid fertiliser programmes.
Biological PSA management options. Reams Soil Testing, Home Garden Fertiliser.
Telephone: 0800 867Paeroa, 6737, Fax: 07 867 6068, Email:204, email@example.com 1 Railway St, PO Box Paeroa 3640, New Zealand www.ef.net.nz Telephone: 0800 867 6737, Fax: 07 867 6068, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stoc Carb Build path for a
New Cric Stem all ad ferti
COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
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Te Awamutu Rose Show,
1-6pm (Fri) & 9.30am-4pm (Sat), Baptist Church, Teasdale St, Te Awamutu, $3. Tauranga Rose Show, 11am, Wesley Hall, 13th Ave, Tauranga, $3, plants for sale. Ph/txt: 027 222 6081. Crop Swap, 10am-11am, 14 Jocelyn St, Katikati. Veges, fruit, seeds, baking, books, eggs, etc. Ph: 07 549 4522. Real Homes & Gardens, Matamata, 9.30am4pm, $49. See: tinyurl.com/rry2v8xc
Poverty Bay Horticultural Society Rose & Iris Show, 1.30-4pm (Sat), 9.30am-3pm (Sun), Showgrounds Events Centre, Gisborne, $5 (under-12 free). Ph Anne: 06 868 5245.
Up the Garden Path, 9am-5pm, Katikati area, wet or fine, $10. Tickets from i-Site, ph: 07 549 1658.
Huntly Garden Ramble, 10am-3pm, $25, tickets from Friendship House (William St) or Allens Fabrics in Huntly, or ph: 07 828 7559.
Te Awamutu Garden Ramble, 9.30am-4pm,
tickets from the i-Site, ph: 07 871 3259.
Nov 12-14 NZ Iris Society
Convention, Tauranga, open to the public, includes garden visits, $32. See: tinyurl.com/wbhf28e6 Rotorua Garden Festival, $49 (3 days). See: rotoruagardens.org.nz
Yacht Club, Sulphur Point, Tauranga, free entry. Ph: 07 576 7711. Plant Lovers Group Sale, 10am-2pm, Puketaha Hall (near Gordonton), Waikato, $2. See: tinyurl.com/k4s83v5b
Waikato Rose Show, noon-5pm (Sat) & 10am-4.30pm (Sun), Hamilton Gardens, $5 ($2.50 Gold Card). Turangi Garden Ramble, 10am-4pm, $20 for both days. Talk by Lynda Hallinan on Saturday evening, $10. Contact: turangigardenclub@ gmail.com
Quarry Music Fest,
10am-4pm, Maramatanaga Park, Te Puna, $5. See” tinyurl.com/y8uebzdn
Bromeliad Display &
Matamata Rose Show,
noon-5.30pm, Civic Centre, Matamata.
Sales Day, 8am-noon,
NZ Herb Federation
Conference, Waihi. See: tinyurl.com/4usxce5e
2, Hamilton Gardens, $5 non-members. Ph: 07 855 3404.
Garden & Art Trail, 10am-4pm, Taupo, $40. See: gardenwalkstaupo.nz
Group Open Day, 1.30-4pm, Arts & Crafts Centre, Elizabeth St West. Plants for sale and miniworkshops. Ph Pat: 07 579 1655. Home Composting Workshop, 1.30pm, Turangi & Taupo, free. See: tinyurl.com/zsvdvub
$40/$30. See: www.cgf.nz
3pm, Koanga Institute, near Wairoa, $40. See: tinyurl.com/4xy3n6w4
High Tea Suffrage
Celebration, 3-5.30pm, Mystery Creek, near Hamilton, $20. See: tinyurl.com/weht7234
Cambridge Garden Festival, 9am-4.30pm,
Te Puna Quarry Park AGM, 1pm, guest
speaker Chris Reynolds from BOP Tree Society, Gallery (far end of the car park).
Waikato Horticultural Society, 7.30pm, Wintec classroom, Gate
Guided Tour, 10am-
Crop Swap, 10am-11am, 14 Jocelyn St, Katikati. Veges, fruit, seeds, baking, books, eggs, etc all welcome. Ph: 07 549 4522.
King Country Garden
Ramble. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tough season for growers - enticing for buyers “On the positive side, we’ve got a good crop, we’ve got a good volume... but we’re faced with those global disruptions. “The New Zealand market is also very impacted. We oversupplied the New Zealand market early on and that meant that values took a tumble.” Jen says New Zealand Avocado’s market research showed about 30 per cent of New Zealanders didn’t buy avocados but she hoped the lower prices on offer this season would help entice them. Bert Quin DrDrBert Quin “We’re certainly working on increasing the demand for avocados in the New Zealand RNZ/Maja Burry market this season.”
Dr Bert Quin
The industry group New Zealand Avocado says less product is being exported to Australia because of an oversupply there of locally grown avocados, while in New Zealand Covid-19 lockdown restrictions had dented sales to restaurants and cafes. Bay of Plenty grower Hugh Moore describes the situation as a “perfect storm”. Another challenge for exporters was
Covid-19 related freight delays and higher shipping costs, which made reaching markets in Asia harder than usual, he says. Returns for growers were about a third of what they were this time last year, Hugh says, and about 20 per cent of the way through the harvest it had slowed down because of market conditions and shipping issues. “The wholesale market is flooded... everyone’s going to run at a loss this year.” New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular says this would be one of the toughest seasons the industry has had in the last decade.
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or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Avocado growers are having a tough run this season, with large volumes of fruit coupled with weaker than usual demand pushing down returns.
COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
DEUTZ-FAHR 5105.4 & 5125
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COAST & COUNTRY NEWS
Izzy,11, with Coco the lamb, home schooling during lockdown in Katikati. Quinn, 3.5 years, overseeing his herd on the farm, near Waotu.
Rex, 13 months, exploring the calf sheds in South Waikato.
Amelia, 16 months, helping with farm work in Putaruru.
Isaac and Charley spending some time with their pet lambs during lockdown in Te Kuiti.
Please send your high resolution photos to email@example.com - ‘Country Camera’ in the subject line. Please include the name, address and phone number with your entry.
FARM BUILDING SPECIALISTS.
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