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Issue No. 145
Bay of Plenty & Waikato Farm, Orchard & Rural Lifestyle news
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DAIRY 8-14 HORTICULTURE 16-21 MAIZE 22-26 RURAL DRIVER 28-29 HUNT FISH EAT 30-31 MACHINERY 35-38 COUNTRY LIVING 43-49 FORESTRY 50-51 TRADES & SERVICES 52-53
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Cyclists boost economy
Carol White and Peter Maynard are among the hundreds of cyclists who have enjoyed the Hauraki Rail Trail since it opened in May, and it’s set to get even busier, bringing a welcome boost to the local economy. Read more on pages 6 and 7. Photo Supplied.
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COAST & COUNTRY
Put a positive ‘SPIN’ on your next fertiliser application
Growing our own tradition born of troubled times In the small shade house in our garden tiny green shoots are beginning to emerge in pots of black soil – the promise of tomatoes, courgettes, lettuce and sweetcorn to come. Growing vegetables is a family tradition, fostered by parents who lived through the Great Depression of the 30s and World War II when food and money were in short supply. They never forgot the lessons of those hard times and had a resolve to be as self-sufficient as they could. We’re lucky we can grow our own and if the worst came to the worst, New Zealand could feed its population but that’s not the case for many nations of the world. As Don Fraser points out in his column this month (page 15), the world has only three days’ food in reserve. That’s concerning given that extensive drought in the US, storms in Europe and other weather events have had impacts on current food production. As food becomes scarcer prices rise, which is good for producers but not for those who have to work longer to pay for even the basics such as rice. Food shortages can result in civil unrest or worse and the world has enough trouble spots right now without any more. Closer to home the kiwifruit industry is still grappling with the seemingly unstoppable disease Psa-V. Late last month it was
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found in Waikato and while 50 per cent of the hectares growing the fruit in New Zealand are so far unaffected, keeping them that way will not be easy. This bacteria came in somehow (maybe in legally imported pollen) across our borders and now pig farmers are fighting to keep out a disease they believe might get here on pig meat, if the Ministry for Primary Industries changes import restrictions (see story page 3). New Zealand Pork is to argue in the High Court in November for restrictions to remain on the importation of fresh pork in a last attempt to keep out Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) which has been likened to HIV in humans. Beekeepers are under threat too. Ten years ago New Zealand had some of the healthiest bees in the world but an increasing number of new diseases have got here as well and hives to pollinate kiwifruit could be in short supply this spring. (see story page 17) There is however, some good news for the rural communities of the Hauraki, Piako and Thames regions and it’s being generated by a previously redundant strip of land around 60 km long. Despite this winter’s dismal weather hundreds of people have biked the Hauraki Rail Trail, generating welcome income for businesses along the way and promising an even bigger economic boost come summer. (see page 6).
Trees for Bees initiative takes flight Bees may be under attack from pests and diseases but a new initiative called Trees for Bees should improve their chances of survival and that of everything they pollinate. “Just like with all livestock, the health of bees reflects the protein and energy sources available to them,” says John Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees spokesperson and an exporter of bee products. “After several years’ work, Federated Farmers Trees for Bees now has 10 regional planting guides available for anyone to create a bee friendly space. “Even in deepest suburbia, the planting guides can suggest appropriate trees and shrubs for homes and schools to plant. Farmers can even plant bee friendly plants on
unproductive land, like fenced off waterways, tight corners and even steep hillsides,” says John. “Good protein and nectar produces fat bees and in nature, fat bees are healthy bees. Federated Farmers I guess is standing up for the right of bees to become fat. Federated Farmers is now working with the Sustainable Farming Fund (SFF) and other industry groups to understand the true pollen value of every plant available to the New Zealand bee industry. Under the leadership of Dr Linda NewstromLloyd from Landcare Research, this project is called ‘Trees for healthy bees’. “We now have farms in the process of being planted with ‘bee friendly’ trees and shrubs.
This will allow scientists to monitor the health of honeybees from an unfriendly environment, to one which has a good balance of pollen bearing trees and shrubs. “The knowledge we will gain will feed into future planting guidelines for both the North and South Island’s. These guides will be suitable for town as well as country,” says John. To find the guides type “trees for bees” into Google.
COAST & COUNTRY
Risk of pig virus arriving on uncooked meat is ‘negligible’ Negligible is how the Ministry for Primary Industries is describing the risk of a serious pig disease getting into this country if pork import restrictions are changed, but pig farmers don’t agree.
health standards was made after years of assessing all available science and a comprehensive risk assessment process, “which showed that the risk of PRRS entering New Zealand can be effectively managed through the measures outlined in the pork import health standards”. The main change to the standards is to new import MPI director general Wayne McNee allow the import of fresh pork that has health standards says the risk of Porcine Reproductive been prepared as consumer-ready cuts and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) packaged for direct retail sale. This for pork from being introduced into New Zealand does not include minced (ground) countries where through uncooked imported pork can meat or the head and neck, and cuts be managed However, pig farmers’ must not exceeding 3kg per package. the disease fear an outbreak of the disease and The cuts must also have specific lymph New Zealand Pork is taking a case to the PRRS is present. nodes removed. Court of Appeal in November to stop the Under the proposed standards, fresh pork changes. (See story page 4). could be imported from Canada, the EU, the In May 2012 the High Court upheld MPI’s deciMexican state of Sonora, and the USA, all of which sion to issue new import health standards for pork have the disease PRRS. Imports of untreated pork are from countries where the disease PRRS is present. already possible for Australia, Finland and Sweden NZ Pork appealed the decision and in June granted (countries free of PRRS). further interim orders, which will be in place until MPI has long restricted the import of live pigs, pig the appeal is heard. semen and used farming equipment, as these are the MPI says the decision to issue the new import principal ways PRRS is spread. MPI does not want
Entries now open for environment awards The search is on for the country’s most sustainable and productive farmers and horticulturalists with entries now open for the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. The New Zealand Farm Environment (NZFE) Trust administers the annual competition and chairman Jim Cotman says entering is the perfect opportunity “to show our fellow New Zealanders that we do care about the environment. And most of us are doing a damn good job.” With a focus on promoting profitable and sustainable farming, the awards now cover every aspect of agriculture and horticulture. It includes category awards that recognise sound farm management and business practices, efficient energy, nutrient and water use, excellent crop and animal husbandry, protection or enhancement of special habitats on-farm, and outstanding innovation.
Chairman for the Bay of Plenty awards is Bruce Calder who with wife Tessa is a past supreme winner. “I would encourage anyone who is working to enhance the environment on their property to consider entering the awards because there is much to be gained from doing so,” says Bruce who entered three times over a six year period. “One of the biggest benefits we found was when assessors visited our farm and gave advice on things we could do that we hadn’t even thought of and opened doors to funding for planting. Today our farm is benefiting from their advice.” Bruce says people often feel they are not ready to enter because there is still so much they want to achieve but the awards have a broad range of categories which recognise those who are performing well in specific areas. “When it comes to managing the land, no one is ever ready as it’s always a work in progress, but that shouldn’t put anyone off.” This year there are two new awards; the Meridian Energy
Excellence Award designed to drive excellence in utilising on-farm opportunities to generate energy and maximise energy efficiency, and the Donaghy’s Farm Stewardship Award for achieving a balance between managing sustainable productivity while developing or protecting unique habitat. John Cotman says the regional councils that support the awards are an essential part of the success of the programme “because they recognise that the promotion of sustainable farming is a win-win situation for their regions”. “When you add in the support provided by sponsors and strategic partners like Fonterra, Rabobank, DaiyNZ, Federated Farmers, QEII National Trust and the Ministry for Primary Industries, it becomes obvious that New Zealand’s sustainability focus is well on the front foot.” Entries for the 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards opened on August 1, 2012, and John urges farmers and growers to get their entries in well before the closing date of October 12.
PRRS in New Zealand, says Wayne. “For most of the 1990s New Zealand had no restrictions on importing pork from countries where PRRS was present. During this time tens of thousands of tonnes of pork were imported, and for some of this period there were no controls on the disposal of either meat or waste. New Zealand didn’t get PRRS.” By Elaine Fisher
COAST & COUNTRY
Disease could wipe out pig farmers if it crosses border The simple act of feeding a pet pig slops from a restaurant could start an epidemic of a serious pig disease not currently in New Zealand, which is among the reasons the pork industry is opposing plans to relax standards for imported pork, says Ruth Lee of Te Puke. The disease she and others in the industry fear is porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus, which can cause severe immune suppression (similar to HIV in humans), making the animal susceptible to other diseases, including pneumonia. Ruth is a director of the industry organisation New Zealand Pork and
Ruth Lee of New Zealand Pork and her husband Ian Schultz want their pigs and those on all New Zealand farms free of the disease PRRS. They raise their pigs in large, light airy barns, the sides of which can be opened in summer.
NEher NE NE with N NE Ian Schultz farms pigs and owns a WEhusband W W W Wnow infected with the vine-killing kiwifruit orchard,
bacteria Psa-V. The parallels between the arrival and spread of Psa and what could happen with PRRS are frightening, she says. “Psa is not able to be eradicated and it’s airborne and so is PRRS, which is a very contagious and virulent virus easily spread on the wind or by birds, so it would be only a matter of time before a small local outbreak became countrywide.” Currently New Zealand imports hundred of tonnes of pork every week but it must be heat treated to deactivate the PRRS virus. Now the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI, formerly MAF) wants to reduce the biosecurity standards for the importation of fresh pig meat into New Zealand and New Zealand Pork has appealed a high court decision to the Court of Appeal to stop those changes. The case is due to be heard in November. “We are not against the importation of pork. New Zealand is only 55 per cent self-sufficient in pork production but we want all imports heat treated.” Ruth says Biosecurity NZ admits that two per cent of pork imports will be infected with PRRS. “It says only high quality, pre-trimmed cuts will come in and none will be wasted - there will be no left-overs, so no waste. But not all that meat will be consumed, or the raw fluid around the cut disposed of correctly, and there is every likelihood it will find its way into the slop bucket to be fed to pigs, as many New Zealanders have a backyard pig. “It is illegal to feed any uncooked food waste to pigs, even a pet pig, but these regulations are not enforced by MPI. This provides a potential entry point for the virus. “I don’t think anyone realises how many people keep pigs, and not just on rural properties. There are pigs living in many Bay of Plenty and Auckland backyards and there is no way of being sure they are fed only cooked food waste.” Biosecurity NZ’s own modelling shows New Zealand will eventually succumb to an outbreak, but not for 1200 years. However, Massey University has predicted the arrival of PRRS is more likely to happen in three to 10 years. “New Zealand and Australia are two of very
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few countries in the world that have not had this devastating disease and Australia has significantly stronger border standards for PRRS and has no intention of changing their current standards.” PRRS is a distressing and debilitating disease which would probably put many of New Zealand’s pig farmers out of business, Ruth says. “In many cases piglets simply waste away until they die.” During the acute phase, piglet mortality preweaning can peak at 70 per cent (normal figures are 8-18 per cent), and another 12-15 per cent will die post weaning (normal figures are 2-4 per cent). “These are huge statistics.” The impact of PRRS on the New Zealand industry would be significant death and disease on-farm and significant animal welfare issues – which in some cases could only be managed by the humane destruction of pigs. “This would lead to significant productivity losses and, therefore, financial and personal hardship for farmers and their families. It would undermine the industry’s ability to meet consumers’ demand for New Zealand grown pork, bacon and ham. “The impacts of the disease would also compromise the New Zealand pork industry’s commitment to world leading animal welfare and the fall-off in production would be replaced by imported product produced under lesser welfare standards.” With just 160 sows, Ruth and Ian are among the smaller of this country’s commercial pig farmers. The majority of commercial farms number between 250 to 400 sows but the larger ones range between 800 to 3000 sows. The industry has been challenged over the housing of sows and farmers have either stopped using or reduced the use of gestation stalls to comply with the new welfare code requirements. “Some have invested in new buildings. The animal welfare standards in the New Zealand industry are well ahead of the game internationally.” Ruth says MPI is sending conflicting messages about animal welfare. “On the one hand it is asking New Zealand farmers to remove dry sow stalls to improve welfare of pigs while, on the other, putting all pigs at risk of this imported, highly distressing and debilitating disease.” By Elaine Fisher
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COAST & COUNTRY
Gardening music medley The day begins with music lessons in Tauranga for Pauline Alexander and Tor Stenbo but by midmorning the couple are gardening at Pahoia.
Winning a national award was not what Tor and Pauline set out to achieve when they began growing vegetables in 2008.
When the couple bought the property 12 years ago it They don’t see anything incongruous about teaching was a poultry farm with hundreds of birds in cages. piano, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone to “We quickly converted it to free-range but hens don’t school students before heading to the country to tend stop laying, even on Christmas day, despite the fact I extensive vegetable beds. In fact Pauline says there’s a asked if they would. In the end it was just too demandcertain synergy between the two. ing, so we decided to try something else.” “I love coming out here to work. Music The property has a number of hen houses can be rather sedentary, so it’s good to have potatoes, beans, and Pauline and Tor have converted one the exercise of gardening.” snow peas, to a shade house by covering the roof in Tor doesn’t completely leave his music plastic. Others were demolished and courgettes, lettuce behind. He likes to whistle while he their concrete floors now form convenand mesclun, baby works and when one friendly tui learned ient paths between the vegetable beds, turnips, onions, to mimic him, the pair established their which are well nourished with chicken spring onions, own garden music. manure. pak choi, Scarlett However, Pauline and Tor don’t just The couple raise their own plants from garden for pleasure. They raise a wide Nantes carrots, peas, seeds supplied by Kings Seeds and these variety of vegetables on the four hectare turnips, eggplants are propagated in the shade house where, property at Pahoia to supply their stalls at and capsicum. without heating, the temperature stays the Tauranga Farmers’ Market and the Mount several degrees higher than outside, even in Maunganui Market, under the name of Pahoia Fresh winter. Produce. In the floor of another former hen house they went The quality of their produce is so good they have one step further. Tor smashed regular holes in the conwon the Freshest Food Producer from the Paddock crete, forming small gardens in which Pauline installs category in the national 2012 Taste Farmers Market a few plants. “This means less weeding and the plants awards. benefit from the warmth of the concrete.” Pauline says neither she now Tor knew much about Thrilling win growing vegetables on a large scale when they started. “We were thrilled to win and really pleased when “We were advised to grow courgettes and brocone of the judges, MasterChef winner Nadia Lim, said coli, which we did, selling them through the auction our vegetables were so fresh and tasty that the judges system, but even though the rates were fair, by the started eating them raw,” says Pauline. time the commission came off, plus the costs of getting Tor and Pauline entered a basket of tender brocvegetables to market and other expenses, there wasn’t coli stems, beetroot and courgettes which the judges much left for us.” Tor says it felt like they were workcooked in recipes designed to showcase how fresh ing seven days a week for around 50c an hour. produce can be used. The judges in the Taste Magazine sponsored competi- Recipes tion said they loved the inconsistent shapes and sizes of Then they decided to sell produce at the Tauranga the courgettes. The beetroot was earthy and sweet and Farmers’ Market and not only is this more profitable, the broccoli fresh and crisp. Overall the vegetables had they also enjoy the contact with customers. Pauline a fresh earthy taste “like you have just stepped out of posts recipes on the Tauranga Farmers’ Market webthe garden – perfect”. page and their stall features labelling and information
to help customers enjoy the produce they purchase. Each year the range of vegetables has increased and even in August the gardens produced tender broccoli stems, cabbage, cauliflower, pak choi, lettuce, tatsoi (a member of the broccoli family also known as spinach mustard), spring onions and some indoor-grown courgettes. “It’s been a very wet winter and we haven’t been able to get onto the gardens to keep up with the weeds. We don’t use sprays,” says Pauline. The couple do all the work themselves, with the help of a rotary hoe and small tractor. This spring they will grow potatoes, beans, snow peas, courgettes, lettuce
Tender broccoli stems are among the popular winter vegetables Pauline Alexander of Pahoia Fresh Produce grows for farmers markets. and mesclun, baby turnips, onions, spring onions, pak choi, Scarlett Nantes carrots, peas, turnips, eggplants and capsicum. They also sell free range eggs (some of the hens remain), and in season, oranges, tangelos, avocados and walnuts, all grown on the Pahoia property. And if that’s not enough, Pauline and Tor continue to teach and play music. Both are accomplished musicians who have won awards for teaching and playing and as well as teaching at local schools, have a music studio at their Tauranga home. By Elaine Fisher
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COAST & COUNTRY
Wheeling in the economic benefits of the rail trail Cyclists are spinning the wheels of commerce in what is being hailed as an environmentally and economically sustainable development to breathe new life into the Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel and Matamata-Piako districts. By Elaine Fisher
In the four months since the Hauraki Rail Trail opened Hauraki District Council Mayor John Tregidga says it has already exceeded predictions. “The number of cyclists on the trail during winter has been more than we expected and we anticipate even bigger numbers during the summer. “We will need at least another 250 beds in the districts in the next three years to meet demand for accommodation and that will include everything from backpacker and homestays through to top end accommodation,” John says. So far around 60 kilometres of the trail, including 54 bridges, have been constructed from Kopu to Waikino, with a further section to be formed from Thames to Kopu. However, the trail nearly didn’t happen. John says initially the route, much of it following old railway corridors, was chosen by the Government to be one of seven ‘quick start’ trails around New Zealand with a promise of $10 million in funding. “However, the funding was cut, putting the project in doubt. “When I looked at the economic benefits it could bring to our districts, I knew it had to go ahead.”
In the end the Government invested $4 million into the trail, and the rest was funded by a partnership between the Hauraki, Matamata-Piako and Thames-Coromandel councils and the Department of Conservation. “There was some initial opposition from ratepayers, including one woman who was particularly upset. However, someone took her on a bike ride and she came into my office to apologise and say what a wonderful asset it was.” John says once the Thames section is complete the trail will be a three-day, two-night experience along a grade 1 route which is ideal for bikers of all ages and levels of fitness, plus walkers, wheelchairs and pushchairs. However, as access to the trail has been designed to prevent horses and motorbikes using it, special arrangements need to be made for wheelchairs and recumbent bikes to gain access. It was Mark Barnett of Queenstown who carried out the economic feasibility study on the trail and he was so impressed with its potential, he tendered for and gained the contract for its management. “I could see from the start what the potential was. Around 50 per cent of New Zealand’s population lives with a two-hour drive of the cycle trail. The majority of people who ride the Otago Rail Trail are from the North Island, so there is obviously an appetite for it.” Mark believes the trail will help sustain small rural towns which could otherwise suffer from dwindling populations and centralisation of rural-based companies such as freezing works and dairy companies, and do so with a minimum of environmental impact. “Already this winter businesses along the route are
reporting increases in turnover of up to 70 per cent in some cases. This will only grow in summer. We already have advance bookings for October, November and December.” He predicts the majority of riders will be New Zealanders, with around 20 per cent overseas tourists. Cycling holidays are a worldwide trend and New Zealand is lagging behind other countries in
Hauraki Rail Tr ai
l: • Kopu to Paero a– • Paeroa to Waik 27km ino – 14km • Paeroa to Te Ar oh • Smooth gravel a – 20km surfac approximately 2.5 e, • Trail through far m wide mland fenced on both sides • Bridges are 1.5 m wide making provision for them. “Biking is a lifestyle thing. It’s about health and family and friends and doing something enjoyable in the outdoors.” There’s no charge for using the trail but it is possible to book guided tours, hire bikes and arrange to be dropped off and picked up at any point along the route. To find out more, go to: http://www.haurakirailtrail.co.nz
Eruption prompts plan change Jane and Mark Brunton of Hamilton on the Hauraki Rail Trail at Matatoki.
Jane and Mark Brunton of Hamilton had planned a weekend skiing on Mount Ruapehu when its neighbour Tongariro burst into life after 115 years of inactivity last month. While the ski slopes were still open, the couple decided to bike the Hauraki Rail Trail instead and were delighted with their change of plans. “It’s been so easy to arrange and the weather is beautiful,” said Jane as she and Mark enjoyed a coffee at the Matatoki Cheese Barn, some 20km into their bike ride. Mark, a real estate agent, and Jane, a nurse, hired their bikes at Kopu near Thames, leaving their car with the hire company, which had arranged to have it delivered to their accommodation in Te Aroha that evening. “This is a great ride. The trail surface is probably better than the Otago Rail Trail because it doesn’t have large stones and the route is virtually flat, making it easy for bikers of almost any age or fitness,” said Mark.
The couple took a short diversion off the trail to reach the Cheese Barn Café and then continued on to Paeroa and Te Aroha where they intended to ease any bike-weary muscles with a soak in the town’s hot pools. Also enjoying a rare fine day in early August were three friends who biked from the Waikino Railway Station to Paeroa and back on Friday August 10. Les Dobson of Plummers Point near Katikati, Colin Merrick of Mount Maunganui and Wayne Smith of Tauranga made good time along the trail, enjoying both the exercise and the experience, especially the Karangahake Gorge where the ride goes through an old railway tunnel. They arrived back at Waikino just in time for lunch at the railway station café.
COAST & COUNTRY
Boost for business, despite wet winter The Hauraki Rail Trail has brought more business to the Matatoki Cheese Barn than owners Kelvin and Cathy Haigh anticipated.
Not far away at Hikutaia, Megan Bax – owner of the Convenient Cow café and store – is feeling a little nervous about the rail trail’s impact on her business. “The first sunny Sunday we’d had in weeks brought about 60 people through the door all around lunchtime. I ran out of food. It was embarrassing but I just didn’t expect that many people,” says the former school teacher who bought the business 12 months ago. The trail goes right passed the door and Megan is planning how she will cope with the predicted significant increase in bikers this summer. By Elaine Fisher THE
This winter has been one of the busiest ever for the Matatoki Cheese Barn, where plans are in place to extend the premises to cope with what promises to be a record summer and it’s due to the Hauraki Rail Trail that opened in May. Cathy and Kelvin Haigh say the increase in business generated by the rail trail has so far exceeded their expectations. “We are going to extend the kitchen and apply for a liquor licence so people can enjoy a glass of wine at the end of a ride. We also plan to take on more staff in the summer,” says Cathy. After the trail first opened there was an initial rush of locals trying it out but today’s bikers are mainly from Auckland, the Waikato and
C HEESE B ARN Bay of Plenty. “It’s turning out to be a real asset. There are a number of locals who regularly walk or bike it and when conditions were too wet for the Matatoki School to hold its cross country through a farm, the children ran along the rail trail instead.” Kelvin built the cheese barn 18 years ago and continues to produce both soft and hard cheeses there, using organic cows’ milk. The factory has a viewing window so visitors can watch the process and there’s also a window into the curing room, where large wheels of hard cheese mature. Kelvin delivers his cheese and yoghurt products to Auckland each week and supplies speciality stores as far south as Wellington. Cathy runs the café and the gift shop. The cheese barn also has animals the public can feed including goats, alpaca, rabbits and guinea pigs.
Smartphones help lift citrus sales Smartphones are helping shoppers make decisions about what fresh produce to buy at the supermarket and citrus growers in particular are applauding the technology. David Ingoe, of Gisborne, Chairman of the New Zealand Citrus Growers Incorporated orange and tangelo product group says the month-long promotion of citrus fruit by Countdown was so successful he wants the supermarket to do it again. As well as in-store promotions, barcodes on fruit packs provided a smart phone link to the supermarket website where photos of growers, information about the health and nutritional benefits of citrus, plus recipes, was available. “We are over the moon about how successful it was and we’d like Countdown to do it again. We have mid-season naval organises coming on now and late season naval oranges to follow. “New Zealanders need to be able to buy local product and we firmly believe that we grow the best naval oranges in the world here in Gisborne.” Ben Bartlett, Countdown’s fruit Category Manager says citrus sales were up and the smartphone idea was well received by consumers. “By providing information regarding growers of each product within the range we are able to communicate to and make a connection with the customer. This provides important product origin information which our customers can identify with and as a result purchase with confidence.” Ben says an important aim of citrus month was to educate customers about the range of New Zealand citrus available and also Countdown’s commitment to providing supply. “Countdown is keen to promote New Zealand product when available. Citrus is a strong category
and it is important that we are also supporting domestic growers when new season product is available. “Moving forward we will certainly be looking to repeat such programmes. We are certainly looking to continue
promoting fresh New Zealand produce when we can. We are working closely with industry bodies to ensure that we are more in touch with local growers in order to continue providing a great range to our customers.”
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is able to offer farmers a complete design and build effluent pond service. Stephen Claydon says the company has become an installer of the Firestone EPDM pond liner meaning it can carry out full pond construction from the earthworks through to the supply and installation of the pond liner itself. “We have been doing the earthworks for effuluent and frost ponds for a long time but now, in conjunction with the Firestone liners we can carry out the entire project.” “This is an additional service to farmers on top of our standard farm drainage, raceway, tree-topping services we currently provide.” Regional and district councils are being driven by the Resource Management Act to regulate the rules around farm effluent waste
management and effluent pond construction. “Fonterra and DairyNZ continue to raise the profile of effluent management encouraging farmers to build effluent ponds that meet industry best practice. Recently they published the FDE Design Code of Practice and the FDE Design Standards which provide generic guidance on the design and development of effluent management systems.” Stephen says Waiotahi Contractors researched pond liners before deciding on the Firestone EPDM geo-membrane rubber liner. “It is used worldwide and has a 20 year warranty and is able to withstand temperature fluctuations and exposure to sunlight.” The liner can be used for all types of ponds including for frost protection or water stor-
age. It is tear resistant and fish, plant and environmentally friendly. It comes in large panels and has a superior joining system designed to treble the strength of the membrane. Installed by trained operators, it is quick and easy to put in place, once a pond has been formed. Waiotahi Contractors was established in 1957 and is known throughout the Eastern Bay of Plenty as competent, customer oriented organisation providing quality civil engineering services and transport needs to a diverse customer base. Key activities include road construction, agricultural contracting, site works, subdivisions, maintenance, metal supplies and specialised cartage services developed for the forestry, dairy, grain and fertiliser industry.
Support needed when making changes There is one question nearly every child asks prior to their first day at school, “what if the other kids laugh at me?”
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And that’s normal, and sensible. We all like the support of our peers and learning is fastest when there are others to bounce ideas off. Even as adults when contemplating or making changes from the accepted ways of doing things we like to discuss them with those closest to us. It’s often not so much the thought of change that causes us to be nervous, although generally we don’t initially enjoy change, it’s the concern over what our friends and peers think of what we plan to do, that causes the most concern. It’s not possible to operate entirely alone so the support and acceptance of friends and neighbours is an essential part of daily life. I really disliked having hungry cows during spring. Often bought in feed was expensive and not always easily obtained and spring growth “was due any day”. The obvious solution was fewer cows and a slightly later calving date however when that idea was aired with farming colleagues it was given the big ‘thumbs down’ as the ‘best’ farmers had
the most cows and the earliest calving date. Knowing what I know now we would have backed our own judgement - calved fewer cows fed them more and been better off in all respects.
Doubtless we would also have enjoyed spring a whole lot more, a good enough reason in itself. One of the reasons given by farmers for applying nitrogen throughout winter and spring is that it’s what everyone is doing, and we could be missing out on something if we didn’t do it. And yet nearly every one of those farmers has also expressed the view that it’s not a sustainable long-term practice, but there’s no alternative. Well there is. Nutrient programmes based on the use of DoloZest in autumn and CalciZest in spring grow more total pasture throughout the year, with a more even spread of growth particularly from late September through until mid-May. In 1979 nitrogen held in the top 150mm of New Zealand soils was measured at between 3400 and 6800kgN/ha and increasing at the rate of around 100kg annually. The annual uptake of N by pasture is probably no more than 500kg/ha so why is it being applied in such large amounts? The answer lies with the soil,
particularly the physical structures and biological activity, the two aspects equally as important as the nutrient content. When soils are compact they won’t be breathing as they should, fungi, bacteria, and earthworms will be less active than they ought, and nitrogen along with all other nutrients will be in short supply. DoloZest and CalciZest based programmes are based on the conventional model of nutrient inputs, with the exception of nitrogen which becomes available direct from the atmosphere and soil in sufficient quantity to grow up to 18 tonne of dry matter per hectare per year.
When initially putting together a DoloZest/CalciZest based programme, soil tests a little more comprehensive than usual are taken. Knowing what fertiliser has been applied previously is also important. Growing less feed before growing more is never an option. The programmes are formulated to grow more pasture from day one and the many measurements from a number of farms over 10 years always show a measurable increase in pasture growth. And with a steadily increasing number of farmer clients there are others to talk to, visit, and bounce ideas off, without fear of ridicule. By Peter Burton, Eco-Logic Soil Improvement Ltd
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Mastitis incidence not decreasing which develops between birth and 10 months of age. After that, the animal’s genetic immune level can only be boosted and not developed further. A calf ’s immune system develops best when challenged but not overwhelmed, by the bugs in its environment.
Having to deal with newly calved cows with clinical mastitis in the first weeks of lactation is too common an event in most herds – even in those that have used blanket Dry Cow Treatment (DCT) and teatseal, or both. It’s depressing to hear how so many farmers have followed current best practice, who have not achieved the spectacular results in lowering mastitis that veterinary research has shown. Usually the farmers are blamed for not following the programme correctly.
With payout down next season and costs still rising, there needs to be an urgent push this season to cut income lost from milk withheld from the vat, from cows under antibiotic treatment.
Too many farmers write off this loss by feeding their ‘penicillin milk’ to calves, but this is now accepted as a bad practice in the long-term war to reduce mastitis, and avoid the build-up of antibiotic resistance in bacteria in both farm animals and humans. Positive change can only be achieved by concentrating on the young animal’s immune system,
In recent seasons, farmers using the Mastade Nutritional Supplement Plan have found that the Oral Mineral Supplement (OMS) has improved nutrition, which then has boosted immunity, so the animal could handle mastitis infections, especially from Strep uberis which is rife on muddy and wet spring pastures.
ferent shifts. Being the person who ‘stuffed up’ is not good for morale or job satisfaction, even if it was the system that was at fault, and the risk of errors should have been prevented. The OMS programme can help to mitigate this risk. Supplied by Wormade
The biggest advantage of OMS is to help milk harvesters to banish antibiotics from the farm dairy. This takes enormous stress off staff at this very busy time of year when the risk of errors can be high. An inhibitory grade for sharemilkers these days can vary from $10,000 to $50,000, so it means they working for a very long time for no income. Antibiotic errors are also a special risk in large herds with up to a dozen or more staff working dif-
Winter’s been wet but that could all change There were very few days without rain in August and everyone had had enough of mud and lack of sunshine but in a few months we could be complaining that the weather is too dry.
Because we don’t know exactly what’s ahead, now is the time to plan for summer to ensure if we do have a drought or a dry spell, there’s good quality feed on hand to get the livestock through. The drought in the US has seen expected grain yields drop by 12 to 13 per cent on last year even though more was planted. This might bring some benefit for New Zealand in terms of increased prices for grain and improved milk pay outs, but the adverse is the increasing cost of PKE which is likely to continue well into next autumn. It’s also bad news for the farmers and croppers caught up in it. Now is the time to be thinking about what paddocks to shut up for silage and what crops to grow for feed. The best silage is made from short leaf, early crops which are harvested before 10 to 15 per cent emergence of seed heads. To be worthwhile as quality feed you can milk cows on, silage should have ME (Metabolisable Energy) levels of 10 .5 to 11, not 9 to 10 as is often found in later crops. Harvesting early is just part of the story. Compacting and covering the silage is crucial to maintaining its feed quality. It is essential to get a big enough
tractor on the stack to roll it down well while the stack is being built and then it must be covered completely. If the silage is not properly sealed the air and water will get in, Ph levels will rise and the stack heats up so that instead of a high quality feed, you end up with something more like compost. Bait stations to kill rats and bird netting to keep pukekos out is also needed as pukeko will rip the cover, exposing the silage to air and rain. Planning which paddocks to close up for crops such as turnip, chicory or maize should start now and we are able to help with those decisions, giving unbiased advice because we are not contractors. It’s worth considering spreading cow shed effluent onto cropping paddocks and litter from calf sheds to help increase the organic matter in the soil, providing a solution for the disposal of the waste and saving money on fertiliser. Increasing organic matter will help the soil withstand prolonged dry periods too. If you can’t grow your own, order maize and wrapped silage now to lock in both the price and supply so you can be assured of being able to feed your livestock even through a dry summer. Be sure to check the quality of what you are getting as all baled silage is not equal. We are taking orders for high quality feed now including silage with an average ME of 11.4 and and maize silage with energy levels of around 12 ME and over. By Bill Webb
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The recent Government announcement of a deferment for agriculture entering the ETS will not only ease farming pocketbooks, but will also provide more time for research into ways to reduce just how much methane and nitrous oxide our ruminant export earners produce. While some publicly funded research has been looking at methods to change how the rumen works in the animal, some private research has also focused on the pasture that goes in, and not just the gases coming out. Indigo Ltd, who has produced Agrizest for orchardists since 2005, has turned its focus to pasture, and recently launched Biozest, a patented New Zealand spray for pasture which is already certified as an organic agricultural compound. Indigo has taken the learning from a variety of published and peer reviewed scientific papers on what plants can do when stimulated, and what effects this has on what goes on in the animal rumen.
Repeated trials on different farm types around the country have confirmed some remarkable results, not only in pasture growth rates, but also by increasing milk and meat production, due to the protein in the pasture eaten being used by the animal, and not just quickly excreted, as generally happens now. Profitability per hectare increased markedly on the trial areas. Plants contain receptors which react to a variety of stressors (such as cold, salinity and light) and also defend against pathogens and pests. What Biozest does is trigger these receptors, resulting in production of essential oils by the plant. Essential oils not only trigger more pasture plant growth (between 89 per cent and 127 per cent more after 19 days), but also assist the plant to more efficiently make use of the elements in the soil around it. The plant grows faster, produces
higher levels of sugars, with some of the essential oils being flavour compounds, making the pasture more palatable to ruminants. Trials showed animal preference for treated pasture, and higher Brix levels in it. These higher levels of essential oils have resulted in combined benefits of increased milk production (up to 33 per cent for goats), higher levels of protein in milk, enhanced animal weight gain (up to 22 per cent for bulls over 68 days), and a marked reduction of an average 26 per cent in urea production in cow urine. The effect of this is not only to increase benefits to the animal, but to reduce the amount of urea and methane produced in the extended digestive process. Urea patches from cow urine have already been proven to cause the most leaching through soils. If the plants can be persuaded to grow more and faster with Biozest rather than farmer-spread urea, and if the animal gut doesn’t produce so much urea in the urine, then leaching of nitrogen will likewise reduce significantly.
An additional benefit from the essential oils is that earlier research has found direct benefits in animal health and immunity from supplementation with essential oils. However, in the case of ruminants, the benefits accrue only from essential oils contained in pasture, and there is no benefit from direct supplementation. Recommended application of Biozest is for two sprays (1 litre in up to 500 litres of water per hectare), a week apart for the first doses, and then applied to pasture three to five days after grazing thereafter to retain the full benefits. There is nil withholding or waiting period after spraying, and the product comes in 5 litre containers. The trial farms showed a consistent ability to increase farm profitability by $1000/ha after using Biozest. With proven reduced emissions there could also be opportunities for carbon credits (eg under the Kyoto Protocol Implementation of Clean Development Mechanism). By Sue Edmonds
Planning and getting started on waterway management Full planting along waterways takes time to establish but the results are well worth the effort. This is the second in a series of articles from DairyNZ on managing Trust). Explore any funding that might waterways on farms be available for fencing and planting (ask A little planning goes a long way. It can help make the most of the time and resources put into any planting and fencing efforts. Here are some suggestions for getting off to a good start – things to consider and steps to take. Seek specialist advice: Talk to regional council staff and connect with nurseries, suppliers, consultants and contractors. Find out what other organisations can help (e.g. QEII National Trust, NZ Landcare
regional councils). Plan ahead: Use a farm map to work out fence lines and crossings and decide on a logical order for doing the work. Set realistic timelines for completion. Allow adequate time for site preparation (e.g. weed spraying) and plant delivery. Cost out materials, plants, labour, etc including ongoing maintenance. Once all that is done, confirm a plan that suits the budget. Sort consents: Find out if consents are required for any of the work – culverts or
bridges, for example – and apply for them in good time. Make a start: Get on with it. Go for steady progress – not a big push. Count on doing maintenance. Don’t underestimate the time and effort required to maintain planted areas. Prepare for plant losses in the budget and for the time necessary for replanting (in well-planned projects losses could be 10-20 per cent). Set up a regular schedule for weeding, drain clearing and replanting as needed. Keep the momentum going: Progress at a manageable pace. Make it an interesting change from daily activities, not just another chore. Involve farm staff in all aspects of the project so there is a sense of ownership. If there is a lot to do on the property, do it in stages. Start with the easy and most effective stuff. As you go, you’ll learn what
Purchase expands agricultural spray company A well-known Pongakawa agricultural spraying company has expanded its operation with the purchase of Eastern Bay Sprayers. For seven years Paul and Shona McDowell have successfully operated McDowell Spraying Contractors and when the chance came to purchase the Whakatane business, the couple took it up. “We were ready to grow and this seemed a great opportunity. We are very excited about our new venture and looking forward to meeting our new clients in the Whakatane areas,” says Shona. The name has been changed to Eastern Bay Sprayers 2012 Ltd but for clients of both companies, not a lot else has changed.
“We have retained our bases at Pongakawa and in Whakatane and the same, well known, experienced staff at both locations,” says Paul. What the expansion does mean however, is that the company now has a larger fleet of specialist vehicles and seven experienced staff. “As well as the boom spraying McDowell Spraying was known for, we now have two specialist hand gun trucks and trained staff to operate them,” says Paul. Eastern Bay Sprayers has a fleet of five boom spray trucks, the two hand gun trucks and a four wheel motorbike for the roadside and reserves spraying it carries out in Whakatane areas. The company offers a full range of pasture spraying services such as gibb and liquid nitrogen for increased pasture growth, selective weed control and facial eczema application.
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Paul McDowell Crops such as maize and turnips are also a speciality of Eastern Bay Sprayers with all stages covered from spraying out to pest control. Hand gun spray application for gorse, ragwort and blackberry is another service and in the past specialist operators have been spraying on farms as far away as Gisborne and Wairoa districts. The areas Eastern Bay Sprayers operate in include Opotiki, Whakatane, Kawerau, Rotorua, Te Puke and Tauranga.
works best for you. It will be easier to keep up with maintenance this way, too.
This article is adapted from the second in a series of nine DairyNZ Farmfacts on managing waterways on farms. They can be viewed at www.dairynz.co.nz in the Farmfacts – Environment section.
Training to meet shortage have at least 1000 people in active management training for dairying. Across AgITO we have around 300, and in total including universities there are only 380 actively upskilling to agribusiness management qualifications,” said AgITO CEO Kevin Bryant. As the dairy industry pushes ahead to five million plus cows by 2020,
AgITO together with industry partners DairyNZ is aiming to head off a major shortage in dairy industry management skills. By restructuring its highly regarded Diploma in Agribusiness Management, enabling more people to complete it on terms that suit family and farm demands. “We are looking at a need to
September 2012 Matt Webb, variable order sharemilker and AgITO Diploma in Agribusiness management holder.
a greater problem than creating the farms is finding the people with the skills to manage them. In response AgITO has separated the diploma into specific modules which can be completed on their own or in combination, depending upon what suits the participant’s skill needs. “In the past anyone choosing the
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diploma would have to commit to completing two full national certificates and a property report, working progressively through them over two to three years,” says Kevin Bryant. The new approach has accordingly won the approval of major industry bodies DairyNZ, Federated Farmers, Dairy Women’s Network and NZ Young Farmers. Research undertaken by AgITO has indicated there is significant interest among people at the right stages of their dairying careers to complete the diploma. However sheer time demands meant this was not always possible, with many also running busy farm operations, juggling family commitments and the usual business paperwork. “This was particularly noticeable amongst women who were often dealing with all aspects of farm and family, but are particularly keen to up-skill themselves at the same time,” said Kevin. The diploma itself has not changed, retaining its well-regarded key learning components. However the modular approach now recognises the different stages people can be at when they want to pick up specific skills within the diploma. The five module breakdown covers key aspects of running a successful agribusiness operation, including human resources, financial planning, taxation, ownership and risk assessment, resource management and a property report. “For example a herd manager may want to move up to management, but knows he needs to up-skill in human resource management. For a lower order sharemilker, they may be comfortable with HR, but know they need to have
better financial planning and tax skills to get the most out of their current position, or to move to their next role.” Dairy operators who have completed the diploma testify to the skills they have learned, and the immediate value those skills deliver to their farm businesses. Piako contract milker Matt Webb attributes the understanding he gained about tax management in the diploma’s taxation/investment module to delivering a “no surprises” tax bill this year. Under the ownership-risk management module he also learned to closely assess the twin risks of pay-out volatility and production uncertainty in the dry-prone Hauraki Plains region. “You cannot change what the pay-out will be, but you can smooth out the income through the year to balance those unknowns of production and pay-out.” DairyNZ strategy manager Mark Paine says the modular nature of the AgITO Diploma captures all of the strengths in AgITO learning. “We get strong feedback from students that they value the sense of community they experience on those courses. The modules mean you can still participate in a group learning environment, without having to step out of your farming career to do so.” DairyNZ also valued the high degree of relevance the diploma has to candidate’s businesses. Kevin Bryant believes the new structure will open up the diploma to many in the industry who know they need more skills, but struggle to find the time to up-skill. To learn more about the AgITO National Diploma in Agribusiness Management, contact www.agito.ac.nz
Rebuilding the ground up In two months, the Bay of Plenty based Scenic Lands dairy farm saw the demolishment of its rotary cowshed and a complete, fully equipped 26 bail herringbone dairy built in its place. The development and installation of the new dairy shed at Scenic Lands required a very tight time frame to ensure the shed was operating before calving. Qubik TMC Ltd were selected as the dairy service provider as they offered the complete package; milking systems, effluent management, water reticulation and refrigeration, and had the large and experienced team required to complete the job on time. Once the shed was built the Qubik team had little over a week to fully equip the dairy with some of Waikato Milking Systems latest automated equipment. Qubik installed Waikato Milking Systems herringbone Supa4 milking
system and Hurricane wash system. The Supa4 milk line system is known for its fast, clean milking characteristics and is admired for its simplicity, and when paired with the Hurricane wash system, the machine can milk and clean more efficiently. Additional premium Waikato products were also installed to ensure optimum milking performance. The Waikato Milking Systems Ultimate Electronic Cup remover was installed for accurate end of milking identification, and the SmartPuls pulsation system to ensure that the pulsation works in harmony with the cows. Qubik Managing Director, Ken Osborne says “because we were in control of each part of the process we were able to allocate time when each division was required to be on-site. This ensured the job was completed to specifications and the shed was up and running before the first calf ”.
DAIRY DEVELOPMENTS URWIN FARMS
New dairy increases family time When dairy shed builder, Warren Davenport, was approached by Carl and Kylie Urwin about building a new dairy on the same site as the old one, he took one look at the old one and said, “It’s stuffed and it needs replacing.”
for the vet I decided the old shed had to go,” says Carl. The couple did their research, got recommendations from other dairy farmers and then decided on W D Davenport and Company from Morrinsville. “We had a gut feeling about Warren and they seemed a family firm. They had also been recommended and the price was competitive so the old dairy shed was demolished on Friday 13 and 11 weeks later the new dairy was all finished at 2.30pm and we milked 16 cows at 3.30pm,” says Kylie. “We had good weather to speed the project along, the contractors completed their respective parts on time, I helped do a bit of digging and Carl was there to “go for” anything we needed. A few of the neighbours got dragged in to help out too. Everything went well and we even had time for the odd refreshment stop,”
The pit area. Wayne Barker, Warren Davenport, Liam, Kylie and Carl Urwin all helped on the project. That sealed the deal and Warren and his team started work on the project on April 20 this year and the Urwins started milking in it on July 5. Carl and Kylie Urwin have bought a 25 per cent share in Kylies’ parent’s farm at Turua on the Hauraki Plains. The home block is 42 hectares; they own 12 hectares of adjoining land and have 6.1 hectares of stop bank lease. They milk 185 cows on 60 says builder, Warren Davenport. hectares effective. The 20 aside herring bone dairy The Waihou River, which The old 11 aside herring bone dairy shed. shed is a standard design and has is tidal, runs along the back good cow flow. There is room to of the property and the stop banks are vital in stopadd another two sets of cups in the future if needed. ping flood waters encroaching on the farm. Waikato The walls of the building are refrigeration poly panels Regional Council monitors the stop banks and with long run coloursteel roof, both maintenance free stocking rates of them is strictly controlled to reduce and easy to keep clean. pugging and erosion. Regular inspections are made to The farm is flat and the soil type is marine clay which ensure they are in good condition. can be challenging. It dries out in the summer and can Previous to coming to this farm Carl and Kylie had be unstable. The tank stands had to be reinforced with been 50/50 sharemiking on a 500 cow farm close by. large amounts of steel to strengthen the piles before the “We found the hours long, a few staff issues and with concrete could be poured. a young son, we weren’t getting the time to spend with Warren Davenport has been building dairy sheds for him, so we decided to down size so I could milk on my more than 25 years, covers the greater Waikato area own,” says Carl. and is well respected for his quality rotary and herring The first year on this farm, Carl milked in the old 11 bone dairy sheds. aside herring bone, which had been originally conWayne Barker, owner of Ngatea Milking Machines verted from a walk through in 1969, and it took three and Pumps, has worked with Carl and Kylie in the hours to milk 165 cows. “After one bad milking when past so it was a logical choice to use his services for the the cows broke down a gate when I was drafting them installation of the DeLaval milking plant.
Rural Engineering Ltd
New dairy means more family time and happy cows The plant is a standard DeLaval one, has electronic pulsators with MC32 claws which gives very good milking flow. There are swing down jetters and a four inch milk line. “The Urwins also installed a variable speed vacuum system and a BMPR51 plate cooler for optimum flow. We also supplied and installed the water system, which includes the vat wash, wash
down pump and cooler. Carl decided to use the existing effluent pump. There is provision for automatic cup removers in the future and there is a milk purge system to get the last bit of milk from the pipe to the vat,” says Wayne. Ngatea Milking Machines and Pumps employ five full time staff and their area is Hauraki Plains and Franklin. Their retail shop at Ngatea sells all consuma-
PRE-CAST CONCRETE & STEEL CONSTRUCTION SPECIALISTS
bles relevant to farming. “Having worked with Carl and Kylie in the past we are looking forward to an ongoing relationship in the future,” says Wayne. Carl and Kylie contracted Rural Engineering to do all the steel work in the new dairy shed. “We specialise in dairy shed work and also cover general engineering such as farm machinery repairs, on site welding, trailers, ute decks and we can install and maintain in-shed meal feed systems,” says Brad Johnson, who owns a 50 per cent share of Rural Engi-
Twenty sets of DeLaval cups.
neering with his father, Neville Johnson. The company is based at Waihou, between Te Aroha and Morrinsville and covers the greater Waikato. The new dairy has cut milking time in half, the cows are a lot happier as they can see where they are going and have a million dollar view over the Coromandel Ranges. Kylie has been made redundant from feeding calves as Carl now has time to do that chore. They have more time to spend with their two year old son, Liam, who already enjoys being out on the farm and helping out. By Helen Wilson
Wayne Barker, owner of Ngatea Milking Machines and Pumps.
Internal parasites major health issue for lambs
One of the leading animal health issues with growing lambs is internal parasites, commonly known as “worms”. Uncontrolled infestations can have dramatic effects on live-weight gain. The three main types are roundworms, tapeworm and liver fluke. In this column I will only discuss roundworms which are generally the most important. To be able to maximise roundworm control, it is important to understand the basic life cycle. The adult worms live in the gut (abomasum or intestine depending on species) of the sheep,
vet’s view with Ravensdown Vet Gavin Goble BVSc MRCVS
where they mate, and the females lay eggs. These eggs pass out in the faeces where they develop, inside the faecal pallets, to the first larval stage (L1). They then moult to the second larval stage (L2) and on to the L3 stage at which time they migrate out of the faeces onto the grass. Grazing sheep accidentally pick up the L3 (which is the only infective stage of the life cycle) which are swallowed and moult to L4 then a young adult stage inside the gut. The adults then mature to complete the life cycle. In New Zealand, usually the vast majority (95 per cent) of the worm population is in the environment (eggs, L1, L2 and L3), and from eggs being shed to development of the L3, it generally takes several weeks (Nematodirus are the exception to this).
When the L3 are ingested by the sheep, it generally takes three weeks before eggs are shed in the faeces. The keys to good parasite control in lambs involve: • Good nutrition; well fed animals are always more resistant to parasites. • Genetics; genetically some lines are more resistant or resilient to parasites but this is a long-term strategy. • Minimise larval intake; through grazing management (low larval intake = minimal worm problems). • Drenching; regardless of management and genetics, chemical control is usually required to some degree. This will be discussed next month. Every property is different and requires a tailored approach, which should vary depending on the season. Check out Wormwise at www.beeflambnz. com/farm/tools-resources/ wormwise for more information.
Three days between peace and revolution? On the back of rising food demand and falling or stagnant food supply, prices of food are rising to record levels. If you look at Egypt, Libya, Iran, Syria, the uprisings there were in part, caused by soaring food prices and a lack of food security. Governments are now realising that food security and food price rises are causing civil unrest and anarchy. It is important to realise that the people identify food security is a big issue. The demand for wheat, rice, beef, pork and dairy are at an unprecedented level. Commodity traders have never been so busy as supply stalls and demand increases. If you take the available food in the world and divide it by the current population you only have three days of food available. It is called integrated food logistics or no stored food. Droughts across Mexico and the United States have had a devastating effect on food supply. Helen Clark, who has recently returned from the United Nations in New York, and addressed a Katikati Rotary dinner, spoke of the civil unrest and general shortage of food across the world. A lot of African countries are on the poverty line and unable to feed them-
selves. Helen was advocating teaching these countries how to grow, fertilise and irrigate their crops rather just giving more money. She also talked about countries identifying what they could not grow and ensuring adequate food supply. There is no end in sight. The world population continues to grow as food supply remains static. There is a push in New Zealand agriculture to double food production by year 2050.
friends of ours have three months food stored at their home.
The massive increases in production gained last century appear hard to replicate. Some of our best food producing land is covered in concrete and houses as cities have expanded northward over rural land. For example some of our country’s best producing soils, called Kairangi silt loam
Grape growers’ income up The outlook for grape growers for 2013 is positive, with the benchmark model vineyards forecasting an appreciable rise in prices achieved per tonne, according to a Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) analysis of viticulture production and profitability. However, future profitability for individual grape-growing businesses is largely dependent on having desirable grape varieties, a good business structure and a healthy equity. “Growers believe that changes made to vineyard practices in recent years to reduce costs will be able to be maintained longer term,” says MPI’s Nelson-based Senior Policy Analyst Nick Dalgety. “Examples of such changes include
setting up tractors with machinery to carry out several tasks at once and the introduction of mechanised vine strippers at pruning time. “A more sustainable business return would enable much-needed reinvestment in vineyards, especially to support a rolling maintenance plan to replace old, diseased and less marketable vines.” To view the full report, go to the Publications section of the MPI website, www.mpi.govt.nz <http://www.mpi.govt.nz/newsresources/publications>
north of Palmerston North, are covered in houses. Then you have the collision of increasing dairy production with the restrictions provided by the environmental councils throughout this country. They are taking on more and more staff to monitor and may restrict dairy production. On a personal level, do we as individuals start to store more food to avert hunger should a world food crisis evolve? Should we ensure there is plenty of rice, flour, sugar and tinned food stored in our larders, plus a vegetable garden and a freezer full of food? Interestingly, thinking friends of ours have three months food stored at their home. They say that a food crisis is inevitable and they are not prepared to take risks of running out. Try to imagine what chaos there would be if the whole world woke up one day realised we were going to run out of food. We would empty the supermarkets in about one day and then what happens? Would countries stop exporting so as to feed themselves? Should we be as self-sufficient as we can?
So, these matters need some serious consideration. All the evidence is that there is a looming food crisis, which will have devastating economic and social affects the world over. We in New Zealand are very fortunate to be net food exporters and where it rains every 10 days with food in plentiful supply. However, this issue does need your serious consideration as to what you might do to preserve your flow of food for your family if a crisis occurred. These are the opinions of Don Fraser of Fraser Farm Finance. Any decisions made should not be based on this article alone and appropriate professional assistance should be sought.
Small in size but not performance
Sweet handful – Kiwiberry are the size of a grape and can be eaten whole. Photo by The NZ Institute of Plant and Food Research Ltd.
Sweet little ‘kiwi’ The focus this winter has been on the extensive grafting of a new gold kiwifruit but another, much smaller fruit from the same family is also being established in the Bay of Plenty.
Seeka Kiwifruit Industries, working closely with Freshmaz NZ Ltd, has contracted several growers to graft the grape-sized kiwiberry this winter. Kiwiberry is characterized by its sweet, kiwifruit-like flesh, small size and thin skin which means it doesn’t need to be peeled and is delightful eaten whole. “New Zealand-grown kiwiberry has access to an extensive range of international markets, a privilege not available to many export fruit categories. Our Kiwiberry marketing strategy is focused on steadily and significantly building demand in New Zealand, Europe and Asia, demand which is yet to be realised due to the lack of volume supply from New Zealand so far,” says Tony Mahoney, Freshmax Group CEO. Over the last few years global demand for kiwiberry has continued to rise on the back of a sustained increase in market share for berryfruit. Freshmax has recognized this opportunity for New Zealand growers to benefit from increasing demand, through investment in kiwiberry production. The company is the holder of the exclusive New Zealand master kiwiberry license, granted by Plant & Food Research (PFR) to commercialise four of their proprietary kiwiberry varieties. Freshmax says evidence to date is showing these kiwiberry varieties have a low level of susceptibility to the vine disease Psa-V.
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.
In an industry dominated by large players, a 25 year-old Katikati kiwifruit post-harvest company is proud to be small. Birchwood Packhouse Limited believes “small is best” when it comes to giving service to its growers and shareholders. However, “small” is a relative term because last season Birchwood packed close of 1.4 million trays and in 2007 and 2008 built two state of the art 400,000 tray coolstores to further expand the capacity of on-site cool storage. In 2008 its packhouse was renovated and today its four lane grader works at efficiency levels equivalent to a six lane version. The facility can comfortably handle up to 1.6 million trays of green, gold and new varieties. General manager Karen Roche says Birchwood has endured where other smaller companies have not because of the results it achieves for growers, its co-operative structure and the foresight of its board. Birchwood was founded in 1987 by four growers who combined resources to pack their fruit. In 1994 Birchwood was purchased by its grower clients and became registered as a co-operative in 1997. “We remain a co-operative but while new members are welcome, it is not necessary to join the co-op to pack with us,” says Jane Wordley of grower liaison. High tech In 2006 the company sought a cornerstone investor to enable it to expand and upgrade facilities and DMS Progrowers Ltd now has a 25 per cent shareholding. Operations manager David Wright says that investment enabled the construction of the high tech coolstores which use an energy efficient water defrost system. “With the new coolstores we are well placed to handle new varieties because we have multiple rooms which can be run at different temperatures to suit the fruit.” Currently the majority of the crop the facility packs is green kiwifruit with 15 per cent gold Hort16A and around 10 per cent new varieties. Most of its suppliers have been with the company for years and the same is true of the packhouse staff, many who return season after season to work in the facility which has a reputation for its friendly `family’ atmosphere. “Every year our motorhome workers arrive and camp on site and as well as local people, we also make sure we have jobs for backpackers from around the world,” says Karen. Birchwood also manages and leases orchards and its supply base is largely Katikati, with no fruit coming from Te Puke. The facility responded early to the concerns about the disease Psa and has invested in a truck wash and a bin sanitisation system and adheres to strict bio-security protocols for all its staff and contractors entering and leaving orchards.
Our Atoms are set up with radar speed sensors, this combined with fully automated sprayer controllers and three nozzle rings enhances application efﬁciency and accuracy. We also use a quad bike for strip weed spray applications. We hold all certiﬁcates needed to meet Globalgap compliance. We look at all challenges to help ensure we protect your crop with excellence.
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Pollination hives may be in short supply There could be a shortage of pollination hives for kiwifruit this season because of the impacts of bee pests and diseases. Neil Mossop of Mossop’s Honey says the cold wet winter has been tough for many apiarists trying to keep their hives alive as they battle the impacts of varroa mite and Nosema ceranae, a microscopic parasite that infests the gut of bees. “I have heard of some beekeepers who have lost almost all their hives this winter. The problem seems to be worse in Northland and is partly because the varroa mite has become resistant to the treatments used by some beekeepers to control the mite.” Neil says the arrival of a new pest which affects the bee’s digestive system is another blow for beekeepers and some are leaving the industry because it is becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain healthy hives. There will be fewer kiwifruit flowers to pollinate this season because around 2000 ha of orchard has been grafted to new varieties in the hope of helping the industry recover from the disease Psa-V but Neil says even so growers need to be making
arrangements to secure hives early. Some growers prefer to have the hives dropped off outside the “Last season we had a number of orchard and that can be arranged growers ring us needing hives just to. “Our hives are on pallets so before pollination because growers can move them into their beekeepers couldn’t the orchard and even feed them supply them.” with our safe and unique feeding Hives will be going into system, so we do not have to Hort16A orchards from enter the orchard at all.” mid-October, followed Most orchards have by orchards growing between eight and 10 the new variety G3 hives per hectare but and by November some have up to green orchards 12 hives, workwill be in flower. ing on the basis Mossop’s is that one hive acutely aware of the impacts of the vine disease Psa on kiwifruit orchardists. “Since Psa was first identified we have had a policy of not using hives in more than one orchard, so once they come out of an orchard, they don’t go to another one in the same season. We also have bio-security protocols of spraying our vehicle tyres and our footNeil Mossop extracting hive from wear when one of Mossop’s Honey’s healthy, we leave productive hives. orchards.”
Ladybirds and pirates in the garden Gardeners and orchardists are being asked to watch out for two exotic insects, but not because they have breached biosecurity. The Ladybird beetle (Serangium maculigerum) which doesn’t look much like the well-known red-withblack-spotted ladybird, and the Pirate bug, are both beneficial insects which prey on the citrus and plant pests whitefly and thrips. Pirate bugs are about 1.5mm to 5mm long and their body is described as oval to triangular and somewhat flattened, sometimes with black and white marks on the back. They are of the genus Orius and both nymphs and adults have a ‘piercing-sucking beak’ used to pierce a hole and suck their victims dry. Pirate Bugs prefer thrips larvae, but adult thrips are also killed as well as spider mites, insect eggs, aphids, and small caterpillars. The ladybird beetle is just 2mm in length and first recorded here in 2005. It is a member of the Serangium species which are used world-wide as biological agents for the control of whitefly and are reared commercially for this purpose.
New Zealand Citrus Growers Inc is keen to hear reports of sightings of these two insects in order to assess how well they have established themselves, particularly on citrus trees and orchards, as the insects may warrant further investigation as potential biological control agents. To report findings of the insects, email details of the location and date to: email@example.com
will pollinate enough fruit to fill 1000 trays. While bees are excellent pollinators, Neil says in some orchards growers can supplement bee pollination with artificial pollination, especially in parts of the orchard which are colder. However, he knows many growers are nervous about artificial pollination given that imported pollen may have been a way Psa was introduced into
New Zealand. Since Psa was found there has been a dramatic decline in artificial pollination. Mossop’s were the first company in the world to supply beehives for commercial kiwifruit pollination when Neil took part in the pollination trial for the kiwifruit industry using 89 hives in 1972. “We were paid $10 a hive back then.”
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Pahoia School a-buzz with bee study
Classrooms at rural Pahoia School near Katikati were full of bees for weeks last term, but no one got stung and the only beekeeper called in was a dad who turned up in full protective gear to explain to students the art of extracting honey and caring for bees.
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Bee fans – Pahoia School pupils Theo Turnwald, Conrad Hodgson, Matisse Clark, Renee Evans, Mikaela Banks and Maia Armstrong were among the students who spent a term studying the life of bees. of bees in pollinating much of the food Teachers Karen Radley, Gemma they eat and how important it is to help Grinder, Corrine Devitt and Billy create a bee-friendly environment with Edwards choose bees as the theme for a term-long study because bees were a sub- plants to provide nectar for bees and one in which sprays are used carefully to ject of national significance and also of importance to the school’s own commu- avoid harming bees. “Without the incredible honeybee, nity, with many farming and orcharding two-thirds of the food we take for families relying on pollination. granted would almost vanish, making “Bees also gave us the chance to learn life as we know it impossible,” says John that it is not just humans who live in Hartnell communities but that bees have com“The reality is that no bees mean munities too and need to work together no food and no people. That’s no joke to survive,” says Gemma. because bees make civilisation possible. Artwork featuring bees, flowers and “If we don’t look after all natural polhives decorated the walls and ceilings of linators and the honeybee especially, we the classrooms and Karen was so proud could see economic and social collapse. of the children’s efforts and what they We are truly tiptoeing around the edge had learned, she sent photos to John of a global chasm.” Hartnell, Federated Farmers Bees chairJohn says one-third of the food all person. In turn John congratulated the humans eat is directly pollinated by school. “Federated Farmers Bees would honeybees. “Nothing comes close to like to single out the work of Room five matching nature’s super pollinator. It is at Pahoia School. why the honeybee is most indispensable “Under teacher Karen Radley, these animal to modern society. When you eat primary school children have worked your main meal tonight, just examine hard to understand how important bees what’s on your plate. Anything of are in feeding New Zealand and the colour, from avocados to zucchinis, are world. The children studied all aspects only there because of honeybee pollinaof a honeybee’s life by building displays tion.” Another third of the food we eat and even, a replica hive. from agriculture is indirectly supported “Having seen the photographs of their by honeybees pollinating pasture and work, they deserve to be proud of their crops. efforts. Karen Radley commented to us Fruit is New Zealand’s sixth largest that her students have learned a terrific amount about bees and the bee industry. export worth over $1.6 billion each year. “By working with schools and by turn- Whether it is kiwifruit, apple, blueberry, ing on the imagination of children to the cherry or pear, all are directly pollinated by the honeybee. world of bees, it can only be of benefit “Without the honeybee, we’d be pretty to this fascinating creature beekeepers much dependent on an austere diet are proud to work with,” John says. of fish, starch, grains and seaweed. In The children, aged six to eight from four classrooms at the school also visited China, much of its pear industry relies on pollination by human hand because Mossop’s Honey to learn about honey the overuse of agricultural chemicals has extraction and honey based products. made the land hostile to the honeybee. The project was obviously a hit with “That is why bees are an industry the students who can happily recall a group within Federated Farmers and number of facts about bees, including the meaning of their ‘waggle dance” used share policy resources with our arable sector. This recognises just how vital to tell other bees where to find a new bees are to farming and farmers nectar source. know that.” The students also understood the role
about with Rick It had been a while since Bert had ventured from the back blocks to stock up on supplies and as he later told his good mate Fred, there was a bit of confusion at the store when he did. “When I was ready to pay for my groceries, the cashier said, "Strip down facing me". I know people are scared of terrorists and I might look a bit rough – with the beard and all, but I figured this was taking the security thing a bit too far. “So’s not to create a scene I did just as she had instructed. “When the hysterical shrieking and alarms finally subsided, and someone had handed me a plastic bag to cover-up - I found out that she was referring to my credit card. “I have been asked to shop elsewhere in the future. They need to make their instructions to us blokes a little clearer I reckon!”
Victory over pylon buffer zones On August 10 we received a copy of the Independent Commissioner’s decision on an application made by Transpower, the national grid operator. Transpower wanted the Western Bay of Plenty District Council to establish buffer zones under its District Plans around power lines where many activities, including earthworks, would be prohibited or require resource consents. Transpower wanted a Western Bay of Plenty District Plan Change to create two zones around its transmission lines: Zone A would restrict activity 12 metres either side of the power lines and, Zone B, 12 to 32 metres either side of the power lines. The plan could then restrict the construction of crop support and protection structures on rural land. On behalf of growers we opposed this. In what was a good example of the rural sector coming together to oppose encroachment onto rural land and interference with primary production, New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers joined with Federated Farmers and HortNZ to oppose the Transpower proposal. Even the Western Bay Council opposed Transpower’s application. Transpower were wanting to double up their legal authority over growers and farmers by having both District Plans and the code of practice NZECP 34:2001 restricting farming activities. We submitted Transpower were using the District Plan for a purpose it was not intended to be used for. We submitted that Transpower was actually seeking a clear pathway under lines, with no regard to the local environment, community or rural production. The point is that Transpower already has, through the code of practice NZECP 34:2001, the control it needs under its power lines. Growers meet these obligations. The relationship is working. So why did
Transpower want more? Our joint opposition worked. We were successful. The Independent Commissioner: • Rejected Transpower’s submissions that a plan change was required, and rejected the need for any rules in the plan relating to transmission lines. • Pointed out there is existing regula tion governing any structure (including buildings), subdivision or earthworks around transmission lines (Electrical Safe Distance code of practice NZECP 34:2001). • Directed relevant planning maps be amended to show transmission corridor buffers at 32 metres and 16 metres from the centrelines of the 220kV and 110kV lines respectively, and those maps be annotated to advise that compliance with NZECP 34:2001 is required. • Recommended to council that NZECP 34:2001 be specifically referenced on the relevant property Land Information Memoranda and Project Information Memoranda (LIM) to alert potential purchasers and landowners. The Commissioner said that Transpower’s proposal was “unnecessary duplication” and that the rule “would be neither efficient nor effective”. Translated what this means is: Transpower didn’t get the Western Bay of Plenty District Council plan changed. This is because the code of practice NZECP 34:2001 adequately deals with Transpower’s safety and operational needs. What has been done is for the District Plan and LIMS to now clearly make reference to the code of practice NZECP 34:2001. This is very different from Transpower having compliance required in the District Plan with rural
landowners required to get resource consent (in certain circumstances) to farm and orchard on their land. So it’s a great, but small victory for the rural sector. Transpower is making similar applications all around the country. This decision will therefore be of great assistance in our opposition to what Transpower wanted and did not get in the Western Bay of Plenty. # Editor’s note. Transpower is to take an appeal to the Environments Court against the decision.
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Phosphate on the brain – or locked up in the soil? better soils with Brett Petersen
Below is a passage written by Jerry Brunetti, as part of an article entitled “Cows don’t have carburetors” which was published in Acres USA, in May 2012. The title seems absurd but it is extremely relevant.
Unfortunately, livestock operators, especially in New Zealand, are being sold a big lie as to how to grow forages, applying huge amounts of urea and super phosphate for yield while dropping the energy levels of the forages, increasing the “funny protein” (nitrogen), obliterating the biodiversity of forbs (forage herbs) rich in phenols, carotenoids/terpenoids, and ‘complexing’ those vital elements in the soil, namely calcium, magnesium, sulphur and boron that are responsible for creating quality protein and forage diversity. Many New Zealand farms have acidic soils (eg pH of 5.5), yet, their soil analysis showing a P2O5 “deficiency” was derived from an “Olsen Test,” to be used on alkaline soils. Thus these soils show a continued “need” for super phosphate, even though some soil tests that I reviewed contained 4,000 pounds (1814.3 kg) per acre of phosphate when they were analysed using a Mellich III extraction procedure, the appropriate method of testing acidic soil. All of this excessive phosphate locks up whatever calcium and magnesium is present, denying the plant an ability to synthesize both quality protein and quality forage calories in the form of pectins and hemi-cellulose. Moreover, the excess phosphate drives the critical mycorrhizal fungi out of the rhizosphere, depriving that organism’s contribution of phosphatase enzyme, needed to extract complex phosphate and trace elements out of the soil. Thus over-applying phosphate ironically leads to a deficiency of
BASE SATURATION PERCENT Calcium (60 to 70%) Magnesium (10 to 20%) Potassium (2 to 5%) Sodium (.5 to 3%) Other Bases (Variable)
EXCHANGEABLE HYDROGEN (10 to 15%)
plant phosphorus, needed to produce ATP (adenosine tri¬phosphate), the energy currency in the Krebs cycle for both plants and animals. Neal Kinsey, of Kinsey Agricultural Services (KAS), a true adherent to the Albrecht principles of soil fertility, advises all his clients, (which include countless consultants all over the world), to use Perry Agricultural Laboratories for their soil tests. Bob Perry uses the Bray II (root acid soluble) test for soils with pH up to 7.5. Once the pH gets to 7.6 and above, they provide an Olsen P test result. Since there are at least 12 tests to choose from, why do New Zealand labs use the wrong one? The Americans use it appropriately and we in New Zealand have been led to believe it is a true measure of our soil P, when it is not. (It may have been closer some years ago when the super-phosphate manufacturers in partnership with local labs, decided to increase the test parameters.) On average, 73 per cent of acid phosphates tie up or complex with aluminium, iron, manganese and calcium, within six weeks; sometimes within hours of application. But, super’s big marketing ploy is its low cost. How cheap is a material that is only 27 per cent effective, even less than that on some soils? Remember, chemical agriculture is a self-serving, input-driven system. You are advised to apply an unbalanced fertiliser to an unbalanced soil to help sustain a state of imbalance, which will then require constant chemical intervention. Now we have an inappropriate P test and an inappropriate product. When compared to alkaline phosphate products the answer comes out very much in favour of alkaline products such as guano, RPR, dicalcic and DAP. If needed, you can quickly build soil P levels with those products without those tying-up problems.
When we add the demise Mycorrhizal fungi. of mycorrhizal fungi (VAM) into the equation, the situation becomes even clearer. There is little or no reason to use super, as the VAM increases the effectiveness of phosphate uptake of roots by 10-1000 times. Loss of VAM leads to increased soil erosion and leaching of nutrients from the soil. When the VAM is lost, some other organism will take its place. Usually it is a pathogenic organism. Since properties I have worked with have no facial eczema. It seems a good bet that those using alternative phosphates will also not be bothered by that terrible affliction. As for excess phosphate in the soil, on reviewing soil tests taken on flats, 90 per cent had an excess, some being in the plus 700kg bracket. The hills were a different proposition where 86 per cent were deficient. Phosphate on the brain? There comes a point when some properties at least need to address other nutrients. The best way to assess that is to get a KAS soil test. However, while the general public doesn’t suffer from phosphate on the brain, the high aluminum released from using super-phosphate is certainly a real threat to the health of humans; particularly their brains. Jerry Brunetti is managing director of Agri-Dynamics, which specialises in products for farm livestock and pets, and consults on a wide variety of other issues.
Gulf could cope with more aquaculture Seabed mapping More aquaculture ventures could operate in the Hauraki Gulf without compromising its environmental attributes believes Hauraki District Council Mayor John Tregidga.
to sustain the population. “However, we know there are not enough big snapper and have recently discovered that it is only the large snapper which feed on kina. Kina in turn feed on kelp beds
“There is a lot of public concern about aquaculture and fin fish farming in particular but I think much of it is based on bad practices overseas,” says John who admits to wearing two hats when it comes to the gulf. Under one hat, he chaired the Hauraki Coromandel Development Group which focused on initiatives to improve social, cultural, economic and environmental aspects of everyday life in the region.
This included investigating the further development of aquaculture, in addition to the existing mussel farms in the gulf. John’s other hat is as chair of the Hauraki Gulf Forum which has as its mission promoting and facilitating integrated management around the Hauraki Gulf. “These two are not necessarily in conflict,” he says. John believes the international demand for fish and shellfish will continue to grow as people move away from eating so much red meat, but New Zealand can’t keep taking from the wild in the numbers it has. “I believe the gulf is already over-fished even though Ministry of Fisheries quotas are set at approximately 80 per cent of the snapper population and the theory is that the remaining 20 per cent represent enough
and the kina numbers have increased to a point where some kelp beds, which are the nursery for many fish, are now gone. “The option is to farm fish and reduce pressure on wild stocks. New Zealand, because of its distance from markets, will never be able to compete against the scale of farms in China for example so its future lies in producing top end, high quality fish much as it does now with green-lipped mussels.”
The development of aquaculture is going to be important if this country is to achieve the government’s goal of seeing the industry
Bledisloe Cup winner Central Otago’s Con Van der Voort was the recipient of the New Zealand horticulture industry’s premier award, the Bledisloe Cup, for 2012. HortNZ president Andrew Fenton presented Con with the Bledisloe Cup at the conference awards dinner in Auckland in July. “Con is passionate about horticulture. Along with the Van der Voort Group, which is a major contributor to the Central Otago economy, he has put significant time and energy outside his own business into driving the industry forward. We are delighted to recognise his contribution in this way,” said Andrew. Con’s service achievements include 20 years as an advisory member of the local branch of Fruitgrowers Federation, representing Otago growers at numerous Fruitgrowers Federation and Pipfruit Conferences, serving as a member of the Fruitgrowers Federation Pipfruit Sector Committee and as a director of the Apple and Pear Board from 1988 to 1997.
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grow to $20 billion by 2020. However, John acknowledges the health of the gulf is under considerable pressure without any new uses such as fin fish farming. “Every week the equivalent of 32 truckloads of nutrients enter the gulf from the Piako and Waihou Rivers and if things don’t change there will be dead zones in the gulf within 20 to 25 years and that’s something no one wants.” Most of the nutrient run off is coming from farming but John believes the majority of farmers want to see that reverse. “Once they understand the impacts, they want to make changes. “Education is the key. There is no point in changing rules until you have the majority of people on side.” Establishing marine reserves within the gulf is another measure which could help ensure its environmentally sustainable future but John acknowledges that could also attract opposition.
“I have high expectations that the recent funding committed by Auckland Council and Waikato Regional Council to fund a spatial plan of the Hauraki Gulf which will be a collaborative process involving all stakeholders will ensure the long term sustainability for the future needs of all who work or play in the Gulf.” The gulf, he says, is a wonderful asset which many take for granted but it’s an asset which offers many economic, recreational and social opportunities now and into the future, if managed correctly.
The seabed in the mid-to-outer Greater Hauraki Gulf, including the coast off Coromandel is being mapped by NIWA’s research vessel Tangaroa. The Hauraki Gulf and Coromandel are one of the most heavily utilised marine areas in New Zealand. This area is confronted with many competing interests and pressures including commercial and recreational fishing, marine transport, tourism, pleasure boating, aquaculture and sediment run off from land. “It’s an area subject to multiple pressures,” says NIWA’s project manager Neville Ching. The Government has recognised the significance of the area through the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act, and its management through the Hauraki Forum. Its purpose is to preserve and enhance the Hauraki Gulf for all of its users. “The seafloor mapping work will help New Zealand better manage and sustainably develop its ocean resources,” says Neville. The area Tangaroa will be working within covers 2100 square kilometres, of which about half will be covered within the 22-day survey. “The focus of the survey is to provide base bathymetric mapping of the area that will support the Auckland and Waikato Councils, Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), iwi, and commercial and recreational fishers, as well as providing key baseline knowledge on which to build well targeted future scientific research,” says Neville.
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Irrigations scheme may benefit maize growers A proposed community irrigation scheme for the Rangitaiki Plains has the potential to substantially boost agricultural and horticultural production. A study financed by the Ministry for Primary Industries Community Irrigation Fund is currently underway to determine whether it is possible to “significantly facilitate and enhance agricultural and horticultural production and associated economic growth through an efficient, integrated and sustainable local authority led Community Irrigation Scheme(s) and associated infrastructure”. Maize growers are among the industries likely to benefit from the scheme, according to work carried out so far as part of the strategic water study called the ‘Rangitaiki Plains Community Irrigation Strategy’. At present irrigation on the Rangitaiki Plains is largely the domain of individual landowners. There is little or no coordination of irrigation water sources and infrastructure. The Whakatane District Council (WDC) owns and operates the Plains Water Scheme but this is ‘stretched’ by increasing demand and is not available for irrigation.
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The council led water strategy is evaluating a possible community irrigation scheme with proper planning, evaluation and coordination at a district level. The approach allows WDC, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, landowners, ratepayers and stakeholders to have input and determine the best outcomes and a fairer water resource allocation for the community. The Rangitaiki Plains encompass the area between Whakatane and Matata in the north (along the coast) inland to Kawerau/ Te Teko/Awakeri in the south. The rivers run northwards to the coast – the Whakatane River discharges at the eastern margin, the Tarawera River on the western margin and the Rangitaiki River centrally. The three rivers are very significant watercourses by North Island standards and some adjacent landowners are making use of the surface water sources for irrigation purposes. There is a combined plains land area of approximately 30,000ha. The strategic water study also encompasses the Rangitaiki Plains groundwater system comprised of shallow unconfined aquifers up to 70m deep and deep confined aquifers with a basement of approximately 400m. Given the climate, irrigation of the lighter soils in particular has the potential to substantially boost agricultural and horticultural production. The mainstay of the plains is dairying. Maize production (mainly associated with dairy supplementary feed) is also very significant on the better quality soils. Horticultural crops include kiwifruit with some berry, olive, fejoa, citrus and vegetable cropping. Irrigation water availability during summer and autumn dry spells in particular, has the potential to substantially increase dairy production and possibility encourage expansion onto the lighter soils. There is also likely to be expansion of horticulture onto the drier alluvial plains to the south. Increased product may well supply the local Fonterra Dairy factory, kiwifruit packhouses and fruit and vegetable markets locally and beyond the district. Irrigation water availability may stimulate small block holders to specialise in intensive-high value crops. The economic flow-on from development to towns such as Edgecumbe, Te Teko and Whakatane has the potential to hugely benefit areas which are recognised as lower socio economic centres. There is opportunity for enhanced development due to a coordinated approach reducing cost and increasing availability of irrigation water. The strategy is expected to promote irrigation and development in appropriate areas and result in the economic benefit of land realised to higher potential.
(Source Ministry of Primary Industries)
Olive leaf tea –healthy and tasty A pleasant and healthy tea to beat the winter ills can be made from olive leaves, according to a newsletter fromTelegraph Hill Olivery in Hawke's Bay
To make olive leaf tea, simply pluck some leaves off a tree, wash and dry them. The best method is to cut the leaves into chunky bits, then infuse about three to four leaves per cup. And the best bit - the leaves sink in the cup so no straining the leaves through teeth.
Online tool helps with better pasture management choices Twelve months after the launch of PestWebNZ, Agresearch scientists continue to develop the online tool. “It’s a battleground in the farm paddocks of New Zealand,” says AgResearch Scientist and project manager Dr Katherine Tozer. “Changeable climatic conditions, poor pasture persistence and failure to forecast and implement timely pest management have all led to significant issues with insect pests and weeds throughout New Zealand. PestWebNZT gives those waging war against these pests a helping hand.” PestWebNZ is a website developed to assist farmers and agricultural professionals in decision-making regarding weed and insect pest management. It provides independent and up-to-date information on the identification, biology, impact and control of key weed
and insect pests relevant to the New Zealand pastoral agricultural sector. There are currently 24 weeds and 17 pests on PestWebNZ, with information on their identification, biology, control and impact. There is also an alert function, to warn farmers of pest issues in their region and suggest appropriate management responses. Since the website’s launch at last year’s Mystery Creek Fieldays 12 alerts have been released by Colin Ferguson (invertebrate pests) and Katherine Tozer (weeds) to registered users to provide timely information for farmers to avoid damaging weed and pest impact. “We have taken a team approach to the project, starting with asking our key farming audiences: farmers and pastoral industry bodies, for a list of key weeds and pests,” says Katherine. “Based on this list, weed scientists and entomologists wrote material for weed and pest pages on the biology, impact
and control of these weeds and pests, including photos to better enable farmers and service providers to identify them.” The project is funded by SFF, Beef and LambNZ, DairyNZ, regional councils, ag-chem companies and other agricultural service providers with many using the website in their own communications with farmers. “This financial year we aim to have at least 50 pasture-based weeds and insect pests and we will be working on a mobile application which we hope to have launched by June 2014.” “The growth of mobile devices being used on-farm is opening the door to having identification information available to farmers right there in the paddock. That information can be used to make identification and control decisions on the spot. It is an obvious development opportunity for the site.” Visit the PestWebNZ website at www.pestweb.co.nz
Humates can improve total crop yields Whether your livelihood depends on growing crops or pasture, creating the right soil conditions for optimum growth is vital.
Humates are found above lignite coal
And that’s where humates come in. When combined with fertiliser programmes, humates have been shown to provide a significant increase in crop yields and pasture production. They can improve root development, total leaf area and total crop yields per hectare. The material greatly improves soil quality and releases locked-in minerals for uptake by plants. When mixed with fertiliser or lime, humates hold on to those nutrients until plants require them, reducing
loss into the environment. Humates have been shown to consistently improve the uptake of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and iron, as well as all the trace elements essential for plant health. Life forms such as bacteria and earthworms, which depend on humus content, contribute strongly to the maintenance of the soil structure and the use of humates can also prevent soil cracking, which exposes roots to the air and can cause crops to burn in severe heat conditions. Since organic matter is not water soluble, soil with high humus content is less likely to be subject to water erosion. Humates can hold up to 20 times their weight in water and by enhancing the soil’s ability to retain water, can reduce the need for crop irrigation. Growers can usually cut back on fertilizer – especially nitrogen, by up to 25 per cent. In many cases it is possible to cut back 50 per cent or more on phosphate. That’s because use of humates promotes more and deeper root growth and increased biological activity to release nutrients. About 100kg per hectare of humate replaces many tons of the best compost or fertilizers like soft rock phosphates.
By Dave Whitteker NZ Humates Ltd.
BALES Cultivation Square Baling Ripping
Grass Seeding Silage bales for sale
Te Puke & surrounding areas Contact Craig: 07 542 0576 or 0274 778 819
Maize grain helps milking gains
Bagging maize, William Litchfield and Alex Neil.
GRANT CONTRACTORS (2008) LTD In 1980 more maize was grown around Te Puke than kiwifruit which prompted the Litchfield family to move from the Waikato to establish Litchfield Agricultural Services. Thirty-two years on and kiwifruit is now the dominant crop but the company continues to grow and harvest maize on land it leases and on contract for farmers. Traditionally that maize was sold for processing as stock food but increasingly there is an interest from dairy farmers to feed unprocessed maize grain to their cows as an added supplement. William Litchfield says maize grain can improve milk protein which is worth more than milk fat. Litchfields grows Pioneer brand maize and recent literature from that company, shows the value of maize grain compared to other grains and meal when it comes to metabolising energy content per kg.
“Maize silage has been a big benefit to dairy farming and I think maize grain fed through the in shed feeding systems is the next step to add if you want more from your cows. “This opens up new opportunities for our business and for dairy farmers in the Bay of Plenty because, as a locally based company, we are able to grow and deliver the grain to their farms, loading it into silos they use to feed cows in the dairy shed,” says William. “We are bagging kibbled and whole maize which are available in 25kg bags as well as 10kg bags. Bulk maize in half and one ton bags is also available and we will deliver larger quantities in our truck.” In the early days of kiwifruit orcharding, Lichfield’s grew maize on orchard blocks, often between rows of kiwifruit before the overhead structures were put in. Today the company grows maize on fewer hectares than it did but improvements in plant breeding and fertiliser means yields are high and the grain it grows is top quality.
Code of practice for maize trading The ‘Maize Forage Trading Code of Practice’, has been designed to safeguard both the buyer and seller of maize.
Developed by contractors and industry groups, the code outlines best practice for trading maize forage on a dry weight basis (i.e. kg DM). To ensure fair trading, the following information is required: • Accurate weight of each truck load • Representative samples of forage from either trucks or the stack • Accurate analysis of DM content (%) of the samples. Even for farmers who are not trading, using the
sampling protocols to determine the total DM yield in the stack will be useful for feed budgeting purposes. As well as DM%, the samples can also be tested for feed quality or nutrient content. A recent addition to the code is a standard purchase contract that can be used for trading maize forage. Recent market volatility has tested the value of a verbal arrangement, and a signed contract will allow parties to legally formalise their agreement. The complete code, good practice guide and purchase contract are all available from Foundation for Arable Research. While the code is focussed on maize forage, the same principles apply to other forages such as pasture or cereal silages.
New generation hybrids selected for NZ conditions Pacific Seeds uses a global selection process and world class product development to provide growers with hybrids proven to perform in New Zealand’s unique and wide ranging conditions. A number of time-proven favourites and six new generation hybrids are coming onto the market this season. “We recognize the importance of starch in maize and this season’s range has been selected to ensure that it provides our clients with the energy levels they need for top animal production”, said territory manager Barry Smallridge. Maize starch is a valuable resource which represents 50 per cent of the available energy in maize silage and 75 per cent of the available energy of maize grain. In addition to helping balance animal diet, high starch content will also improve rumen function. Growers therefore need to recognize that the economic benefits of producing high yielding crops needs to be supported with both high starch and ME levels. To help growers and farmers better understand this the company has recently produced a publication titled “The Importance of Starch in the Production of Maize Silage”. Copies are available via www.pacificseeds.co.nz says Barry. Pacific Seeds’ full hybrid range for the coming season is as follows: PAC 624, 114 CRM Silage only.Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, for silage growers with excellent adaptation across difficult conditions. PAC 606 (new)112 CRM Silage only. Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty. A full season, very high yielding purpose-bred silage hybrid. PAC 456 (new) is a silage only hybrid with a maturity of 108 CRM. Ideally suited mid season hybrid for Northland, Waikato, BOP regions. DKC57-83, 107 CRM Dual Purpose with a preference for grain. Northland, Coastal Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Gisborne regions
PAC 444 (new) 107 CRM Dual Purpose. Ideal growing regions are Northland, Waikato, BOP, and Gisborne. |A mid season, true dual-purpose hybrid with a maturity of 107. PAC 301(new),102 CRM Dual Purpose Northland, Waikato, BOP, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay. A high yielding mid to early option with a preference for grain. PAC504, 97 CRM Dual Purpose, Northland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato. Vigorous at establishment and is a light green, leafy plant with good disease resistance. DKC43-72, 93 CRM Silage. Lower Waikato, Lower North Island. A medium maturity hybrid and has shown outstanding performance for silage. PAC 065 (new) 89 CRM PAC. A short season dual purpose hybrid and tall plant for its maturity, with good stalk and root strength. DKC37-12, 87 CRM Dual Purpose Southern Waikato, Hawkes Bay. A reliable short season hybrid. PAC 062 (new), 87 CRM. Short season, dual purpose. Ideal growing regions include the mid to lower North Island. In addition to their maize hybrids Pacific Seeds provide a number of summer forages. These include Sprint - the quickest flowering sudan x sudan hybrid commercially available. Ideally suited to New Zealand's shorter growing season, it can be wrapped or fed to stock, including sheep. Pacific Seeds will market two BMRs this season. The BMR gene is bred to have less lignin creating a product more digestible to stock. The net benefit of this is improved animal performance. Laboratory analyses of the Pacific BMR shows a digestibility advantage over other hybrids of 3-6 per cent. This improved digestibility translates to an extra 0.3 -0.7 MJ/kg in metabolisable energy (ME) value. Rocket BMR (new last season) has a finer leaf than standard BMRs and preformed well under difficult conditions last season. Octane BMR is a later flowering option excellent for silage and or converting to milk solids during summer feed deficit periods.
Let’s talk about
M.E. and you. For maize hybrids that consistently deliver the high levels of starch and ME needed for top animal performance - talk to us today about this seasons Pacific Seeds’ range. Sourced from an exacting international selection process they are exactly what you need for high yields, high energy and high production.
• Northland • Waikato • Bay of Plenty • Poverty Bay • South Island
New Zealand Product Development Specialist
THE IMPORTANCE OF STARCH
“The ME yields from PAC 624 are the highest we have ever had” Ross Carter - Ngatea
027 563 6700
ONLINE @ www.pacificseeds.co.nz
0800 PACMAIZE (0800 722 624)
027 494 7706
IT’S ROCKET FUEL FOR COWS!
Do soft starch maize hybrids produce more milk? Recently there has been some debate as to whether “soft starch” maize hybrids will produce higher energy silage and more milk per hectare than conventional hybrids. New Zealand trial data combined with independent, overseas dairy cow feeding trials show they won’t. “All maize kernels contain a mix of hard and soft starch,” says Raewyn Densley, Animal Nutritionist for Pioneer brand products. “But because the majority of hard starch is not deposited until the kernels are almost fully mature, differences between hybrids
are relatively small at silage harvest time.” Independent scientific trials conducted in Brazil and at the University of Nebraska have shown no difference in the milk production of cows fed maize silage made from hard or soft starch hybrids. “New Zealand maize silage research shows that for on-farm maize silage growers, yield is the key driver of milk production and maize silage profitability,” says Raewyn. “Growers should use side-by-side yield data to select the highest yielding hybrids before they consider nutritional quality.” Table 1: New Zealand side-by-side maize hybrid performance summary
Trials show no difference in milk production of cows fed maize silage made from hard or soft starch hybrids.
Maize hybrid performance comparison chart
Yield and income advantage to the named Pioneer® brand hybrid
Number of comparisons
Drymatter difference (%)1
33G26 33M54 34P88 35A30 P0791
Olympiad Olympiad Maximus Maximus Maximus
43 81 66 84 91
0.17 -0.26 0.21 1.91 -0.83
Scientific designation = very highly significant yield advantage to Pioneer = highly significant yield advantage to Pioneer = significant yield advantage to Pioneer 1 Positive dry matter differences indicate that the Pioneer hybrid had a higher average dry matter percentage at harvest. Such hybrids are usually shorter in maturity than the comparison. Negative dry matter differences indicate that the Pioneer hybrid had a lower average dry matter content at harvest. Such hybrids are usually longer in maturity than the
Yield Statistical (kgDM/ha) Significance +2,380 +2,595 +3,663 +1,692 +1,611
Milk Income ($/ha)2 +1,428 +1,557 +2,198 +1,015 +967
comparison hybrid 2 In this table milk solids income is calculated assuming a milk solids response rate of 100g milk solids per kg of maize silage dry matter fed and a milk solids price of $6.00/kg. Source: Pioneer Brand Products New Zealand Research Programme. “Farmers seeking high energy maize silage should use side-by-side trial results to choose high-grain content silage hybrids,” says Raewyn. “They should also maximise starch availability by ensuring kernels are well processed at harvest-time.”
The Premier Bay of Plenty Hybrid
1024 New Zealand comparisons for grain and silage
Industry leading grain yields Maize hybrid comparisons brand hybrids Pioneer® brand other compared
34P88 34P88 34P88 34P88 34P88
no. of comparisons
Advantage to Pioneer® brand hybrid
Harvest moisture difference %1
test weight kg/Hl
Top silage yields for maturity Maize hybrid comparisons Pioneer® brand
other brand hybrids compared
34P88 34P88 34P88 34P88 34P88 34P88
no. of Drymatter comparisons difference (%)2
Yield and income advantage to the named Pioneer® brand hybrid yield (kgDM/ha)
Milksolids income ($/ha)3
• Balanced agronomic profile • Superior drought tolerance and staygreen To find out if this hybrid is right for your growing environment, talk to your local Merchant or Pioneer® Brand Products Representative. Pioneer® brand products are provided subject to the terms and conditions of purchasing, which are part of the labelling and purchase documents. ®, TM, SM, Trademarks and service marks of Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. Positive moisture differences indicate that the Pioneer hybrid had a lower average harvest moisture percentage at harvest. Such hybrids are usually earlier in maturity or faster to drydown than the comparison. Negative moisture differences indicate that the Pioneer hybrid had a higher average harvest moisture percentage at harvest. Such hybrids are usually longer in maturity or slower to drydown than the comparison hybrid.
Positive drymatter differences indicate that the Pioneer hybrid had a higher average drymatter percentage at harvest. Such hybrids are usually shorter in maturity than the comparison. Negative drymatter differences indicate that the Pioneer hybrid had a lower average drymatter content at harvest. Such hybrids are usually longer in maturity than the comparison hybrid.
In this table milksolids income is calculated assuming a milksolids response rate of 100 g milksolids per kg of maize silage drymatter fed, a milksolids price of $6.00/kg and industry average maize silage growing and harvesting costs.
Source: Pioneer® Brand Products New Zealand Research Programme.
www.pioneer.co.nz I 0800 PIONEER 0800 746 633
Robin billett AreA MAnAger BAy of Plenty Mobile: 027 273 0497 Phone: 07 544 0957 firstname.lastname@example.org
More grunt than Porky Pig Jumping into the luxury of the twin cab Mazda BT50 is like jumping into a truck. A great big manly truck, I even felt more masculine and at least 27 per cent more mansome. But don’t be fooled by the testosterone inducing toughness of this work horse. Once in the driving seat you feel above all the other plebs on the road. The first thing you notice is the scale of the beast. The edge of the bonnet sits about roof height of the Honda CRV in front of me, yet despite my elevated
By Paul Kendon
position, I’m still very comfortable - car comfortable. Everything is big. Big buttons, big controls and big space. The double cab provides ample space for five. The single cab option comfortably seats three, with a bucket seat for the driver and a split bench provided for two passengers. The facelift model keeps everyone happy with dual climate control settings, so your passenger can crank up the heat while the driver might prefer a cooler climate. Clever, but the smarts don’t stop there. The cabin wraps around you with
every bell and whistle you’d expect in a market leading ute. Large analogue and digital displays detail everything from audio settings, trip computer and blue tooth connectivity for mp3 player or phone. Air conditioning is standard and every model provides hands free phone operation. Mazda describes the Mazda BT50 as having an athletic aesthetic. But this is no triathlete. She’s more of a body builder or perhaps a weight lifter. The double cab comes with a 1549mm x 1139mm load area that will be popular with sports people whether they are carrying bikes, kayaks or small yachts. Or for greater deck space check out
the longer 1847mm deck on the Freestyle cab model. For larger recreational activities the BT50 boasts the largest towing capacity in its class with a 3350kg squared towing capacity. Plenty of grunt for the boat, or perhaps the lifestyle block supplies. For light commercial use or heavy recreational runs, you’d have to consider the BT50. Not only does she look sharp but she is more practical than an accountant. Basic - and there’s very little to call basic - 2wd single cab versions start from $35,295+ORC but with all the fruit and accessories you can go as high as $63,395 for the BT50 4wd Double Cab Limited W/S 6AT.
Personally, I would love one. The Mazda BT50 combines the best of Mazda sports with the practicality of a modern work horse. It’s like crossing a thoroughbred stallion with a quarter-horse. The pedigree is prestige and my prediction is this will be a popular daily wagon for light commercial use of farming families looking for town and country practicality and performance.
Lean. Mean. And clean. Lean. Mean. And clean.
New licence for agricultural vehicle operators From next year there will be a new category on driver’s licences – one which permits people to drive a greater range of agricultural vehicles. This endorsement is among a number of changes proposed to rules governing the operation of agricultural vehicles on New Zealand roads which have been welcomed by Federated Farmers. The changes are aimed to reduce compliance costs to the agricultural industry and recognise the needs to operate machinery around weather and harvest times. Federated Farmers transport spokesman Ian Mackenzie says the proposed simplified rules make sense. "The federation has been working with the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) since the revision of these rules was announced last year. "As a result there are a number of commonsense proposals being put to the public for inclusion in the Land Transport rules. These changes will make compliance on agricultural vehicles straightforward and easy to understand. MOT estimates the package of changes will deliver a net benefit of $51 million and, importantly, is unlikely to have any adverse effect on safety. "One of the most significant changes for farmers, whose agricultural vehicles spend most of their life off-road, is that vehicles operating below 40km/h will be exempt from warrant of fitness and
work time requirements. "Once they have proven their ability to operate them safely, workers with agricultural endorsements on their car licences will be able to drive a greater range of agricultural vehicles. This endorsement class is likely to be implemented next year after next year's review of the driver licensing schedule. "Improved rules on pilot vehicles, work time variation schemes, hazard identification and vehicle visibility should also improve safety. "While farmers and contractors wanted to reduce compliance costs and red tape, nobody wanted this review to compromise road safety. Federated Farmers believes this has been achieved. "We will look at the proposed changes in greater detail and will continue to engage with the MOT and NZTA over how these will work in practice, but we are very optimistic that these new rules will be generally beneficial. "The paramount requirement of any vehicle operating on the road is it needs to be safe. With these rules the public can be confident that agricultural vehicles are safe on the road," Ian says.
In announcing the changes, Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges said they were a result of the September 2011 a review into the laws regulating the 40,000 registered agricultural vehicles in New Zealand in response to the sector’s concerns the laws did not take into account the special nature of agricultural vehicles or the demands of agricultural production. “The Ministry of Transport received submissions on the proposals and carried out consultation workshops with industry. The Government has considered this feedback, as well as research into crashes and the approaches of overseas jurisdictions, and has agreed to progress a number of changes.” The changes establish a two tier system for agricultural vehicles based on a 40km/h
operating speed. Vehicles operating below this speed will be exempt from warrant of fitness and work time requirements.
Other changes will improve and simplify the rules on pilot vehicles, work time variation schemes, hazard identification and vehicle visibility. “Safety remains a key factor. The changes include a requirement that agricultural vehicles use a flashing amber beacon. This will
better alert other road users to the presence of agricultural vehicles and associated hazards. “The changes also reflect the Government’s focus on better and less regulation by improving compliance and providing greater operational flexibility for agricultural vehicle owners. “Farmers and contractors sometimes work long and irregular hours. For instance, crops need to be harvested when they are ready and when the weather is right. The laws on the use of agricul-
tural vehicles need to be fit for purpose and the proposed changes better reflect the needs of this very important industry.” Introducing the changes for agricultural vehicles will require land transport rule amendments, and there will be further opportunities for industry and the public to make submissions. Further information about the planned changes is available at: www.transport.govt.nz/ ourwork/land/agriculturaltransportreview/
HUNT FISH EAT
Promising trout season despite floods The 2012 trout spawning season for the Taupo District, took off with a hiss and a roar. By late March/early April I was pulling some beauties out of all the rivers. Many of these being in the four to five pound mark. The stand-out rivers were the Waitahanui and Hinemaiaia. All the trout were in great fighting condition and battled well above their weight. It was a promising start to the season. However it needed to continue. When we got rain, like most of the country, it came in hard. The flood in July that closed State Highway 1 near Turangi was a beauty and unfortunately will have an effect on the fishery. Two days before the floods, I walked up to the limit pool of the Waimarino, there were plenty of spawning trout doing their thing. About 10 days after the flood I went back in and had another look. Whole sections of the Waimarino have been left high and dry, as the river completely changed course. There were a lot of eggs that will never hatch. The Tauranga Taupo got to its second ever highest water reading and has done some pretty serious damage to the end of the road, that follows it to the lake. At times all the rivers were very hard to catch a trout in and the lack of southerlies and westerlies didn't help. Even when the conditions were favorable a distinct lack of trout was noted. The end result of this fairly marginal season, is that DOC for the first time since the rivers were stocked in the early 1900s, released fingerlings into the Tongariro and Tauranga Taupo Rivers. I am sure it was a difficult decision to make, but a positive
September and October are great times to go fishing for Taupo trout. one for the future of the Taupo system. At the very least it will keep quiet all those anglers who were complaining at a lack of action from DOC. Me personally I can't wait to catch one of the little buggers. Near the end of August we had a good run of trout go through all the rivers. The Waitahanui had a 12 pound Rainbow Jack pulled by a wet liner with the other Taupo Rivers firing also. Most of these trout are little clones about the three to three and a half pound mark. They all fight well and when you do hit a larger fish, all hell breaks loose. The Tongariro was a bit of a mess there for a while as the idiot powers that be, granted permission for gravel extraction on the braids. Heavy machinery and silt laden water would not have been ideal conditions for running trout to endure. Add that to fact they changed the river flow in the process. The Plank Pool is no longer there. Smart move doing it during spawning season guys. I haven't rated the Tongariro this season as a fishery. I believe it has had a bad year up until now. So what comes next? Well September has always been a good month. This apparently is the best month on the Tongariro, so fingers crossed. The other rivers will have a mix of older trout moving back to the lake and a few fresher ones coming in. Personally, I like September and October in Taupo. Then it is a short skip into summer and the cicada hatch. Be safe on the water guys. Check out www.taupofishing.co.nz for regular fishing reports and information. By Shane French, Dragonfly River Guides
Home kills rules won’t change Butchers shooting farm animals near residential areas may be required to erect screens to shield the activity from public view, says Hauraki District Council mayor John Tregidga, but the rules permitting home kills won’t change. “We will not change the bylaw but will review it at the end of the year and will invite public comment,” he says. The issue was highlighted by the television programme ‘Neighbours at War’ which featured a Waihi resident upset when she drove passed an animal being butchered by a home kill operator. John says the animal was on former Waihi Hospital
land, which although in an urban setting, is used for raising livestock. He became involved as an arbitrator between the woman and the butcher and says after what was generally an amicable and worthwhile meeting, agreement was reached that in future the butcher should give consideration to the time of day when he shot an animal. “In this case there were school children about at the time.” John says it is important to respect the views of everyone, including those who may find animal slaughter upsetting, but Hauraki District is still largely a rural one and lawful activities associated with normal farming practices must be permitted to continue.
HUNT FISH EAT
Whitebait more diluted, say fishers After the first week of the whitebait season anglers are reporting fewer fish than previous years.
Bruce Smith didn’t have much luck in the Waimapu Estuary early in the whitebait season.
Tauranga resident Bruce Smith spent a Friday morning fishing the Waimapu Estuary without too much luck. After a morning hunting the elusive delicacy he retired around midday with little
more to show for his effort than wet gear. The season began on August 15 and will run until November 30. The Department of Conservation manages the fishery and is promoting measures to sustain whitebait populations. The department has produced a guide for whitebaiters explaining the legal regulations, which is available from DOC in Tauranga
Missed shot special memory One of Geoff Thomas’s most precious memories is of the stag he never shot, not the ones mounted on the wall.
or online at www.doc.govt.nz/ whitebait. Biodiversity ranger Dan Rapson says whitebait are juvenile fish which leave the oceans to swim upstream. “Unfortunately we are losing more every year,” says Dan. “Four out of five major whitebait species are now in decline, including inanga, the most commonly caught species.” The decline in whitebait species is attributed to a lack of clean healthy rivers and wetlands for adult native fish, so planting and fencing stream edges can improve
their habitat. “We’d encourage keen whitebaiters to assist with habitat protection to help maintain healthy fish populations, so the Kiwi tradition of whitebaiting can be enjoyed into the future,” says Dan. “There are plenty of local projects people can join which are protecting stream habitats and wetlands.” DOC rangers will be on patrol during the season and would like people to phone 0800 362 468 if they see someone not observing the rules.
the wall,” writes Geoff. That incident is among those recounted in the book “Outdoors with Geoff ” which is a collection of 100 of Geoff ’s favourite hunting and fishing experiences, many of them shared with All Blacks and other Kiwi celebrities including Rachel Hunter and the late Sir Howard Morrison. Written in a light easy tone so typical of Geoff ’s television shows, the book is illustrated with 250 photos and tips including the best way to work a slow jig, or read the currents for snapper. Thanks to publishers Penguin, Coast & Country has two copies of “Outl doors with Geoff ” to give away.
The star of the long-running television show Outdoors with Geoff describes in his latest book how he came face to face with a magnificent stag in Fiordland. “The rifle swept up and the crosshairs centred on his chest only 15 m away, the thumb pushed the safety catch forward and the forefinger tightened on the trigger as the heart pounded furiously, and `click’. The firing pin fell on an empty wil Two lucky readers k chamber. The winner of last month’s book prize win copies of the boo off ”. - Homeopathic Handbook for Dairy “The memory of that great stag with his Ge h “Outdoors wit Farming by Tineke Verkade was nose held high in the air as he sniffed the Tawa Thomas of Oparua. air is far stronger than if he was reduced to a head on
To be in to win email your book prize, along with your name, address and phone number to
email@example.com or include these details on the back of an envelope and post to Book Prize, Coast & Country, PO Box 240 Tauranga 3110 to arrive no later than October 17, 2012. The winner will be announced in the November Coast & Country.
Botany Auckland 5 Te Koha Road Botany, Auckland Ph 09 271 4421
Thames 26 Kopu Road State Highway 25 Phone 07 868 8260
Waikato 417 Te Rapa Road Hamilton Ph 07 849 0297
Tauranga Bay Central, 65 Chapel St, Tauranga Ph 07 928 4303
Whakatane 123 Commerce St Whakatane Ph 07 308 7528
Rotorua Cnr Fairy Springs & Lake Roads, Rotorua Ph 07 349 6303
Taupo 27 Gascoigne Street Taupo Ph 07 378 4449
Gisborne 2 Crawford Road Gisborne Ph 06 863 3914
Vehicles and machinery can spread Psa The potential for equipment and machinery to harbour and transfer the kiwifruit vine disease Psa-V between orchards is very high, says Kiwifruit Vine Health. Recent research has confirmed Psa-V can survive for extended periods of time on inanimate surfaces such as plastic, wood and steel, says the organisation charged with helping the industry recover from the
impacts of the disease. The discovery of Psa on two orchards in Te Awamutu in late August was a blow to Waikato growers who had hoped to keep their region free of the infection which has decimated gold Hort16A orchards in Te Puke. As soon as the infections were confirmed KVH established has established a ‘controlled area’ within a 12 kilometre radius of the infected orchard saying growers and the kiwifruit industry are demanding strict adherence to ‘movement controls’ to stop the potential spread of Psa-V via contaminated equipment and machinery used on kiwifruit orchards. KVH Chief Executive, Barry O’Neil says the discovery of the disease in the Waikato is disappointing and an incursion traceback investigation was being carried out to try to establish how it got there. In the Bay of Plenty, a priority zone now encompasses most regions and a voluntary ‘ban’ is being applied by growers and the industry to discourage and prevent any on-
orchard equipment and machinery leaving and/ or moving between these regions. On orchard wash-down facilities and vigilant inspections of equipment leaving and entering orchards will provide some assurance for safe movement between sites within a region. However, where possible, stopping onorchard equipment and machinery moving to regions with less Psa-V infection is the only sure way to prevent the mechanical spread of Psa-V. KVH advises that this restriction should be applied to all vehicles, machinery and equipment that have been used, or are intended to be used, on a kiwifruit orchard and includes (but is not limited to) sprayers, fertiliser spreaders, soil aerators, mowers, shelter-belt trimmers,
tractors, fencing equipment, personal pruning equipment. KVH is training operators to provide an inspection/clearance service for their own equipment/machinery. There are also inspection sites located at either end of the high Priority Zone in Te Puke where an independent inspection can be requested to ensure that equipment has been fully decontaminated. Once inspected and cleared, the contractor will be issued with a clearance certificate to demonstrate the equipment/machinery has undergone an approved inspection. If any equipment or machinery fails an inspection due to plant material or heavy soil contamination, a dedicated on-site washing service is available and for use to achieve a clearance certificate. The inspection/clearance service is at no cost to the user. However, any cleaning costs incurred to achieve a clearance will be the responsibility of the contractor.
Foreign student paid less than minimum wage Employing members of the Master Contractors Association is one way growers can be reassured their staff are working legally and paid correctly, says Peter Silcock Chief executive of HortNZ.
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A recent study by AUT University Auckland and Sydney University researchers found foreign students, many employed by kiwifruit contractors, were being paid less than the minimum wage. The report said some workers believed contractors were benefiting by quoting a higher hourly rate than they were paying workers and pocketing the difference. Peter says it is often difficult for growers to get accurate information from contractors. “The industry supported the establishment of the Master Contractors Association a few years ago to help industry employers understand what is required of a good contractor service. “HortNZ already works in the key horticulture growing regions to encourage the use of the Master Contractors Association, and we work with the regional labour governance groups and the local government agencies concerned to find ways to discourage bad employment practices.” Danae Anderson, Suzanne Jamieson and Krish Naidu who carried out the research found the 93 students surveyed were being paid $8 to $11, below the minimum wage rate which at the time was $12.75. The report claims there are people working under irregular and unprotected conditions in horticulture and Peter says the industry in New Zealand has done a huge amount of work to improve its employment attractiveness in the last 10 years and this continues today. “This type of behaviour occurs in every workforce, everywhere around the world. New Zealand is no different.” Peter says it is of concern that some students may be working illegally and for low wages and believes the role of their education providers needs investigation. “We certainly question the intentions of some of the education
institutes that bring these people to New Zealand and we think that needs to be looked at. Our growers who bring people out under the Registered Seasonal Employer scheme need to be registered and face high compliance hurdles. Do education institutes face the same process? “Everyone recognises the problem. The very difficult part is assessing the size of the problem and addressing it, because this is a labour market working almost entirely out of view of the rest of the community.” A number of students had to repay loans for education and travel costs; they often needed to pay remittances, and they needed money to support their education and living costs the report said Just over a quarter of students (26 per cent) sought work experience directly relating to their area of study and a further 21 per cent worked part-time primarily to gain general work experience. In spite of the low pay, horticulture in general paid better than other work in the service and hospitality sectors. It was also more consistent which meant students were assured of regular, extended hours. Peter disputes the report’s suggestion that the willingness of migrants to work in substandard conditions and for lower wages may be taking work away from New Zealanders. “The study makes this claim but it is difficult to assess how valid it is. International students are permitted to work. We do not think it is significant. If local workers want work in the industry there are still a lot of jobs available at the peak of the season.” The study also questioned whether the use of student migrant labour was a necessary strategy in the Bay of Plenty region. “No. These illegal workers are not a necessary part of the Bay of Plenty workforce. There are a number of schemes in place to provide legal staff.” Peter says the issue is one for the wider community to take responsibility for. “This needs to be led by the appropriate government agencies. We need greater levels of enforcement work both with By Elaine Fisher education institutes and contractors.”
Shaping land for conservation or farming Where wetlands were once drained and converted to pasture, many landowners are now restoring them to wildlife habitats, and in the Eastern Bay of Plenty area Greg Vercoe of G & J Vercoe Contracting is helping that happen. Greg, who has been operating earthmoving machinery all his working life, has worked on many projects to bring back wetlands, especially in the Eastern Bay of Plenty region. However, that’s not all he does. Greg is also experienced in forming effluent ponds for dairy farms, frost ponds for orchards, and ponds for water storage or duck shooters. Jill Vercoe, Greg’s wife and business partner, says Greg’s experience and knowledge of local soils and topography, especially in the Pongakawa, Te Puke and Rotorua regions, means he has a good understanding of how to construct ponds successfully. He works closely with landowners to achieve the result they want. Greg operates a D61 bulldozer with an angle tilt blade which can pass through most farm gateways
Effluent ponds are among the projects G & J Vercoe can carry out. without having to remove a fence, but still move a significant amount of earth. He also drives a 16-tonne excavator with a long reach which is ideal for working in areas where the soil is particularly wet. For projects which need even more machinery, Greg can bring in other experienced contractors to assist. “We also specialise in contouring and have been involved in some very large projects around the Bay,” says Greg. “Roading is another thing we do a lot of - from a farm track or races, to forestry roads and skids or even a highway, there is nothing we can’t do.”
USA encouraged to ‘tri-lamb’ Tempting Americans to eat more lamb is the aim of a campaign mounted by sheep farmers in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. The Tri-Lamb Group represents the three nations and Beef + Lamb New Zealand ceo Dr Scott Champion said the collaborative promotion is built around the understanding that the profitability and sustainability of the lamb market in the US is important for farmers in all three countries. “If more Americans are
eating lamb, then each country stands to gain from the opportunities that increased consumption will provide. “The programme includes online food and nutrition blogs that share lamb recipes and podcasts that show how to build simple and healthy lamb meals for the family and they’re tracking a lot of interest. For the year ended June 30 the United States was New Zealand’s third largest sheepmeat market by value (NZ$256 million), behind the United Kingdom (NZ$534 million) and Germany ($NZ275 million) and ahead of China (NZ$247 million).
CARTAGE & TRANSPORT
Lamb burger gets presidential tick A great way of turning on a new generation’s taste buds to what lamb is and could be is how Federated Farmers President, Bruce Wills is describing McDonald’s new Serious Lamb Burger “When you bite into it, you unmistakably taste lamb and realise just how much effort McDonald’s has put into cracking a difficult meat to cook. They have nailed the perfect lamb burger using export quality New Zealand lamb. “To me it is a complete meal. You’ve got egg, tomato, rocket and beetroot with a sauce that enhances the flavour of lamb. After eating one, you certainly feel rewarded. “The Board of Federated Farmers is genuinely enthused with what McDonald’s is doing for Kiwi lamb. “When you drive past any McDonald’s you see lamb written loud and proud. As a sheep farmer it is heartening, especially given the latest schedule prices,” says Bruce.
Oversized loads have right of way Meeting an oversize vehicle on the highway can be unnerving, but the law requires motorists to make way and, if necessary, stop to allow an oversize vehicle or load to pass by safely. These vehicles and loads are allowed to travel on New Zealand roads because they play an important role in the country's economy, the New Zealand Transport Agency says. To minimise disruptions and ensure the safety of other road users, they are subject to special operating conditions. NZTA says that when you see an oversize vehicle or load coming towards you, slow down. If there is no pilot vehicle in front of the oversize vehicle, reduce your speed as soon as you see the “oversize” sign. Keep your speed down and be prepared to pull over, if necessary, until the vehicle or load has passed by. If a pilot vehicle is in front, you must take extra care when allowing it to pass by. Co-operate with the driver of the pilot vehicle if you are signalled to pull over. The oversize vehicle or load may need to use the centre of the road to safely clear roadside structures and parked cars. The large size and slow speed of oversize vehicles means that extra care is needed when overtaking.
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If you see the “oversize” sign on the back of a truck, slow down and be patient. The oversize vehicle should pull over, when it can, to let you pass. When a rear pilot vehicle trails a load, it will display a warning sign. If the driver of the rear pilot vehicle waves you through, you may overtake. Pass the rear pilot vehicle and the oversize load in one manoeuvre if possible. You are then likely to encounter one or two pilot vehicles in front of the truck. These vehicles are likely to be travelling slowly. Overtake them when it is safe to do so. Extremely large oversize vehicles or loads are usually moved late at night or very early in the morning, when few motorists are on the road. If you see a pilot vehicle with flashing purple and amber lights and a “danger” sign, the load it precedes will be extremely large and will be escorted by a second pilot vehicle. Obey the instructions of the pilot drivers, as the road may be completely blocked by the oversize load. If the pilot vehicle displays a handheld 'stop' sign, you are required by law to stop and obey any instructions that are given. The drivers will signal you to stop with a portable stop sign or a red flag during daylight hours, or with a red torch at night.
MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT
Company specialises in horticultural tractors An Italian company which began making irrigation pumps in 1926 is today designing, manufacturing and exporting specialist horticultural tractors to the world.
explains; “Goldoni is specific to the horticultural market and works with the customer to ensure their needs are met. We are the only tractor manufacturer which builds only for the specialist horticultural sector. Everyone else is focussed on agriculture, and their horticultural tractors show this. The Goldoni family founded the company in “For example, Goldoni is the only tractor manuItaly’s main industrial region and soon progressed facturer with a factory built tractor for the “niche” to specialising in the manufacture of tractors for kiwifruit sector, where a super-low seat height is crucial for safe and comfortable drivAn early model Goldoni tractor. ing under low pergolas. On tractors produced by everyone else, this is an aftermarket adaption.” Goldoni’s horticultural focus is combined with that of Agtek, the New Zealand Goldoni distributor, creating two businesses which understand the needs of their horticultural customers. “It is the New Zealand Goldoni dealers, the guys out there talking to the end users, who are the real champions,” says Gayne Carroll, Director of Agtek. “They not only know the Goldoni product but know the horticultural business and what their clients are doing and what the horticultural they can do to help industry. them when it comes to That specialisation the right equipment. continues today and When it comes to Goldoni remains appointing a Goldoni one of the most sigdealership, we don’t nificant companies want just any dealer. in what many call They have to have the the heart of modern The Goldoni family which founded the now world same horticultural focus tractor manufacturrenown horticultural tractor company in 1926. and passion that we do. ing in the Modena That’s what’s makes us region of Italy. number one in kiwifruit.” Goldoni remains a privately owned company For a tour of the Goldoni factory from your arm manufacturing all of its product in Italy, and Mr Golchair go to the following link; doni senior still takes a very keen interest in quality http://www.agtek.co.nz/video.aspx?opt=p23&c=2 control by visiting the factory floor daily. Export Marketing Manager Giovanni Marzoli
MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT
Specialists in spray systems Designing, building and installing specialist spray systems for the food industry or for bio-security and supplying water blasters for domestic use are among the services offered by Spray Pump Services.
The 33-year-old, Waikato based company specialises in custom made solutions for individuals and companies and also works closely with Crown Research Institutes on research and development programmes. “We consider the ability to customise solutions for individual clients as an essential element in setting Spray Pump Services
at the leading edge of our industry,” says general manager Graham Cleaver. The company has formed key partnerships with associated specialists to deliver the custom made solutions clients need. However, that’s not all Spray Pump Services does. “We have a motto of ‘professional sales, service and advice’ for all clients whether their needs are big or small,” says Graham. Spray Pump Services has a showroom stocked with a wide selection of equipment and staff have the experience and knowledge to support clients with solid, reliable information to result in the best solution for the task.
The parts department stocks all the common and often not so common spare parts and there is a large workshop run by experienced staff too. From its beginnings 33 years ago, Spray Pump Services has been repairing, selling and servicing water blasters, both hot and cold, petrol, diesel and electric. It is the appointed service agent for a number of leading brands such as Bertolini, Karcher, Nilfisk-Alto and Spitwater. “Spray Pump Services has a strong reputation for resolving issues with the most sophisticated electronic water blasters through to the basic domestic models, efficiently and quickly.”
Managing within Limits irrigation roadshows With ever increasing expectation for effective and efficient use of water the need to make irrigation pay remains as relevant as ever. Astute management of water is a sure pathway to wealth and environmental prosperity. It’s a worldwide issue, and New Zealand is no exception. Water quantity limits and allocations have been in place for a number of years, but water quality limits and associated nutrient discharge allowances will soon also become part of day to day farm management. The 2011 National Policy Statement (NPS) for Freshwater Management has mandated
freshwater objective and limit setting, along with the phasing out of over allocation. Irrigators are increasingly familiar with the practical implications of water allocation limits and the use of water meters for compliance monitoring. Water quality is about to join water allocation limits as another bottom-line for the farm business. The key to achieving further economic growth once nutrient loss limits are set will be managing nutrients and irrigation water to keep them in the root-zone, where they are an investment in future production. If they leach or drain below the root-zone
they’re a cost for which there is no return. A paradigm shift needs to occur in all thinking – users, community and regulator alike. Resource users have to accept they have a social licence with the community to operate. There needs to be better recognition that the New Zealand environment is extremely changeable with complex and variable growing seasons. Successful resource management needs to reflect this and move to a performance based risk management approach. Following on from the success of the 2011 Making Irrigation Pay programme that touched
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MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT
Generators valuable in an emergency The Christchurch earthquake proved just how valuable having a small generator on hand can be in an emergency, says Steve Crosby of the Generator Place. “The Honda Eu20i generator proved invaluable in the days that followed the Christchurch earthquake but with the Japan tsunami happening just after the Christchurch quake, stocks of Honda generators were depleted. The good news is New Zealand stocks have now returned to normal.” Steve says Christchurch owners of Honda’s lightweight versatile 2kw generator had some comforts despite the disaster. “Keeping fridges and freezers going along with having the ability to boil water made a stressful situation a lot more bearable. And of course in good old Kiwi style they were used to power up neighbours appliances as well. “I heard of one generator keeping fridges for three households going as well as freezers on a roster system. That’s what good neighbours are in times of adversity.” Having the power to run TVs and computers kept people in touch with what was going on. It was a big comfort to be able to reassure relatives that they were ok and charging cell phones became a must.
However, Steve says the Honda generators are not just for emergencies. “The fact that the EU20i will run a household pressure pump with ease has meant those living a rural situations have been able to use the unit as well. People who have purchased a EU20i say that having the unit available for other uses like camping, boating, motor home or caravans made the purchase decision easy. They didn’t want money just sitting there in case of a power failure. “In fact customers have told me they don’t run out a lead to do jobs around the house anymore. They just take the power tool or appliance, plug it into the generator and they are in action to cut the hedge, vacuum the car and more.” Being only 21kg they are being used for lightweight farm work and the Eu20i is the perfect generator for all sizes of horse floats and trucks. “One of the biggest things that buyers find attractive about the Eu20i is that it is women friendly. Starting is a breeze and the weight of the
generator means that in an emergency situation a woman is able to use it without having to call for help.” One of the other features of the Eu20i is it only has a noise level of 53 decibels at idle making it the quietest 2kw inverter generator on the market.
The fact that the Honda inverter range produces a pure sine wave means the computer, TV and mobile phone charger can be plugged directly into the unit, with no risk of spiking. “So don’t be left in the dark. Get you power back up now.”
Meeting the challenges ahead ARE YOU PREPARED?
base with over 700 irrigators, IrrigationNZ will again be on the road throughout September and October. IrrigationNZ will deliver an expanded programme of irrigation information workshops to support irrigators in the understanding and adoption of ‘Good Management Practice’ Managing within Limits. The theme for this year’s Roadshow is Managing within Limits. The format of this year’s workshops will provide an opportunity to gain certainty, find answers and share information and experience to ensure efficient and effective Good Practice Management (GMP) irrigation. The basis of each programme will come from the National Policy Statement (Freshwater) – Managing within Limits, incorporating regional authorities input as opportunities and solutions are explored. IrrigationNZ will put Managing within Limits into context, looking at what it will mean for the farmer in a practical sense. A technology session “Irrigation Essential’ will address GPS application for irrigation pod placement, Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) and
the challenges and opportunities around Drip Micro irrigation. Audited Self Management (ASM) will also feature in the programme this year. Workshops will be held on: September 13 – Hastings (morning) and Waipukurau (afternoon) September 14 in Gisborne. More information can be found at www.irrigationnz. co.nz or http://www.irrigationnz.co.nz/events/makingirrigation-pay/
By Andrew Curtis Irrigation NZ chief executive
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MACHINERY & EQUIPMENT
Quad bikes and more add to enduring business Country Engineering is one of Katikati’s best known and most enduring businesses because of its high-profile main highway location and its reputation for excellent service. However, while the company began as an engineering business, it has moved with the times and in recent years the emphasis has shifted to a focus on outdoor power products and farm motorbikes, and in particular the new Can-Am quad bikes to suit the needs of farmers and orchardists from throughout the region.
Sales manager Alan Boyles says Country Engineering still carries out light engineering work on ride-on mowers and other small equipment for its large customer base, but new product sales and service are now the main focus. “We have had the Can-Am quad bike range for more than three years and it is developing into a large part of our business. We stock tyres to suit all quads and farm two-wheelers, as well as many spare parts. “This is backed up by our qualified technicians, some of whom have been to Australia for special in-house training on the Can-Am quad bikes.” Country Engineering services all makes and models of two and four wheel farm bikes and offers pick-up and delivery service as well. It also stocks a large range of products, including New Zealand made Lawnmaster and King Cat mowers, along with Hansa Chippers. “We also have the full range of
German-made Solo products, including backpack sprayers, chainsaws, line trimmers, misters and scrub cutters. We stock New Zealand’s largest selling rideon mower products, the MTD and Cub Cadet, and the commercial range of Ferris zero turn mowers, also backed by qualified service technicians.” The parts department has a good range of oil filters, blades, chainsaw chains and Country Engineering, Lockington Road, Katikati. files, and safety equipment. “We have MTF finance options on our quad bike Alan has been in the industry for range and are always willing to cut a deal for cash. more than 25 years and can advise clients on which machine is best for their Call and see our range of products and friendly staff and get the right products and services for needs. He can arrange on-site demonyour needs.” strations for ride-ons and quad bikes.
ACC levies discounted for good performance Fewer injuries at work mean lower costs for New Zealand businesses on many fronts, including through discounts in ACC levies, says ACC’s on-line publication for small businesses called “How to use machinery and equipment safely”. small tractors & mowers
Under a classification called experience rating, eligible businesses and self-employed people, who have lower-than-average injury rates, with better-than-average return-to-work rates, may get a discount on their levies. Those with worse-thanaverage claims experience may get a loading on their levy. Experience rating recognises and rewards those business owners with good claims experience. It also encourages businesses to prevent injuries in the workplace and when accidents do happen, help injured employees return to work as safely and quickly as possible. Work accidents usually have a huge impact on everyone involved – the injured worker and their family, their workmates and the employer. This will put all under a lot of stress, the publication says. Many incidents happen that result in damage to valuable work equipment – this can place a financial strain on a business. Poorly maintained or wrongly used equipment will break down more often and affect business productivity and profits. For more detailed information about experience rating please go to www.acc.co.nz/er.
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IRRIGATION & DRAINAGE
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Managing drains for benefit of farm and environment Careful planning is required when it comes to drain cleaning.
Alleviating the effects of high water tables through effective drainage systems can be essential for maximizing farm production. Therefore drain management is an integral part of farm management. However, many farm drains are actually modified streams, which are protected in law from many types of disturbances. Waikato Regional Council can provide more specific advice about what drainage work can just be done, and what work needs a permit.
ents and sediment. Using shorter species such as Carex, will still allow for mechanical access. Creating ditches with more gradual sides (less than a 1:1.5 batter) will help maintain a faster centre flow, thereby reducing sediment build up which promotes weed growth. These drain management techniques should reduce the frequency of mechanical cleaning of drains.
Their combined impact will help lower farm costs overall, improve water quality generally and bolster biodiversity in our region. Important habitats Meanwhile, it’s worth going into a bit more detail Drains act as important habitats to significant native about how weeds can have a positive effect on bank plants and fish, such as eels, mudfish, giant kokopu stabilisation, even though they can block water chanand inanga (whitebait). However, they can also be nels and cause water tables to rise. channels for transporting material to waterways. So For example, it is important to assess whether it’s important that their management helps protect clearing weeds from the drain is strictly necessary desirable species and reduces the transportation of sediments, nutrients and faecal bacteria to waterways. or whether it will cause bank slumping or an excess release of sediments and nutrients to more sensitive Care should be taken to ensure that any nutrientstreams. enriched sludge removed from a drain is disposed of Also, the shade provided by ditch weeds can help appropriately as, like effluent, it can pose a risk to regulate water temperature and weeds can filter out sensitive habitats. dissolved nutrients which cause algal blooms. To help maintain biodiversity in drainage ditches On timings, a factor to bear in mind is that it’s best and to keep undesirable material out of them in to avoid doing any required clearing between midthe first place, there are a number of tried and true October and April so as not to disrupt spawning and methods. nesting times. Fencing to prevent stock access to drains can help reduce bank erosion and reduce maintenance costs. It is a good idea to only spray weeds with herbicides Ideal timing By contrast, it is recommended that tidal zone in the bed of the ditch to maintain cover on the bank sides. Use only herbicides approved for aquatic use in drains should only be cleaned between October and January to account for the different spawning and New Zealand and ensure application is according to migration times. As a general rule of thumb, only manufacturer’s guidelines. a fifth of farm drains should be cleaned annually to Planting of banks will help create a filter for nutrihelp minimise the impact on the habitat. Ideally, spraying should be carried out only between November and April (or October to January for tidal areas). Spraying when ephemeral (seasonally dry) drains don’t have water in them is another option. Also, spraying before the weeds are too large will reduce the dead material in the ditch which can lead to nutrient enrichment of waterways and blockages. Consents may also be required for spraying. Contact the Waikato Regional Council on 0800 800401 to establish if any work associated with the drain requires a consent. By Kate Ody Kate Ody is a sustainable agriculture advisor at Waikato Regional Council.
From moulding students to shaping clay Potters Margaret and Stuart Slade’s whimsical ‘Kiwis can do anything’ series of decorated mugs and plates could well be a comment on their own lives.
Stuart has earned a name for personalised platters with hand-painted pictures of pets, houses, cars and even stately buildings, from photos supplied by clients. Many of the pieces are to mark weddings or births. Stuart also sculpts and decorates pots thrown by Margaret to form stylised native birds and both make garden ornaments. There was a time when Margaret sold her art through retail outlets and local markets but today the couple concentrate on sales through their pottery and mail orders. By Elaine Fisher
The couple, who both had careers as teachers, went on to become full-time and successful potters, working from a former butter factory between Ohope and Opotiki. Margaret’s pottery tutor at Ardmore Teachers College was Peter Stitchbury, who inspired in her a love of the art which has never waned. When she married Stuart, the couple and their family moved from school house to school house, always accompanied by a small electric kiln and treadle potter’s wheel. Twenty-eight years ago while Stuart was teaching at Opotiki, they bought the old butter factory in Cheddar Valley, converting it to a working pottery called Cheddar Valley Pottery and there Margaret became a full-time potter. By that time Stuart was potting too and 16 years ago finally took the brave step of giving up the security of a principal’s job to become a self-employed potter with Margaret. “It was a bit scary at first as we didn’t know if we could support ourselves, but it’s worked out really well,” says Stuart.
Despite its name, the factory never made cheddar cheese. It took its name from the valley in which it was built by early settlers as a butter factory, but when roads improved and the Opotiki factory offered more for butter fat, it closed. Over the years it’s had a number of uses, including being a fitch farm. When Margaret and Stuart bought it, the building was badly in need of renovation but structurally sound. “It withstood the Edgecumbe earthquake,” says Stuart. The couple work most days in the pottery, producing a range items they call ‘his, hers and ours’. Margaret is well known for her domestic pottery including platters, bowls, casseroles, storage jars, mugs and jugs, particularly those in a deep blue glaze.
Former teachers – now full time potters, Ian and Margaret Slade of Cheddar Valley Pottery.
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Entries open now for Royal Show in Hamilton Highland dancing, wood chopping, farrier competitions, a farmyard petting area and some of the best bred sheep, cattle and goats in the land will be among the attractions at the 2012 Royal Show hosted by the Waikato A & P Association in October. Show president Noel Smith says the association is delighted to have gained Royal Show status again for 2012 and the schedule is now open for entries.
“This is the second Royal A&P show in the North Island in seven years and will attract major interest from competitors and attendees from all over the
North Island.” The show promises a combination of traditional A & P Show competitions alongside a range of new education and entertainment activities aimed to reconnect Hamilton to the rural sector in a modern and relevant fashion. Family entertainment includes Highland dancing, stilt dancer, children’s rides, calf club, Feast Waikato, sheep dog trials, sheep racing, livestock competitions, pony rides, schools show walk, farmyard, farriers competition and wood chopping world championships. As part of the Friday focus on young people the Waikato A & P Association has launched a new schools’ programme for primary and intermediate schools designed in conjunction with teachers and school principals. Schools receive an education workbook to allow teachers to use the show for many
curriculum activities and this year the programme will be expanded upon to allow more hands-on experiences for the children. The World Championship Wood Chopping competition, featuring the very best axmen from New Zealand and Australia competing in a range of events including standing and underhand wood chopping as well as single and two man saw and chainsaw events has been extended to two days and relocated to a more user-friendly area for maximum audience viewing. The Waikato A & P Association will host the Royal A&P Show at Claudelands in Hamilton from Friday October 26 to Sunday October 28, from 9am to 4pm daily. To find out more and to obtain a schedule visit www.waikatoaandp.co.nz/ Entries close for A&P competitions on September 24.
Matamata show has truly gone ‘rural’ The Matamata A&P Society celebrates its 99th show on Sunday October 7 with a modern event which still holds true to the pioneers who founded the show. Ian Smith of the organising committee says the show has been held every year, except during the two world wars, and reaching this anniversary is an important milestone. However, next year the centennial show will be a very grand affair. While the show was originally held on grounds within the town, Ian says in recent years it grew so big, two showgrounds were needed to accommodate it. “We had to hold the horse events on a separate site, which was not ideal, so last year we moved out of town to a farm in Station Road. The Matamata A&P Association is indebted to the generosity of Nelson Schick for kindly allowing the use of his land for our show day and also to farm manager Kevin Crawford. We also appreciate the generosity of Roger Slattery of Slattery Contracting for his expertise in preparing the grounds for the show. “There’s a lot more room on the farm for all our animal events, side shows, entertainment and trade
stands as well as the horse events and parking.” Ian says the equestrian events at the Matamata show have always been well supported, with riders coming from throughout the North Island to take part. They are also popular with the public. In keeping with the show’s founding traditions, the dairy and beef cattle sections are also strong and there are calf club competitions too, along with events for pet lambs and goats. The show has a popular dairy goat section and features dog trials too. Judges come from throughout the district to assess the best animals in each class and award the winning ribbons and trophies. This year there will be trade exhibits, fairground entertainment and as always, plenty of food. Ian says Matamata businesses are generous in their support of the show. “Our businesses get behind the show each year and we are very grateful for their support.” The Matamata A&P Show is an annual event which brings the country to town and entries for its events are open now with the closing date Monday September 17. Some events accept late entries on the day. The schedule, and full entry details is available by emailing email@example.com
Farmyard art Heidi’s latest calling Farm animals fill Heidi McCulloch’s day but there’s no feeding out, milking or moving involved. Instead Heidi spends hours painting cattle and goats in her tiny sunny studio near Waihi. The self-taught artist has some of her works on display at the Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville this month. They join pieces from other members of Art Waihi in an exhibition called Classic to Modern, which runs until September 18. Heidi’s oil paintings represent a number of styles, from realism to abstract. “My mother was artistic and she taught us to draw as children. I love experimenting with different styles and subjects and will usually paint one topic for months until I’m ready to try something new.” For a time flowers were the theme and Heidi painted several large and small canvases of garden classics including roses, camellia and vireya. She has also completed a series of river scenes – close-ups of tumbled boulders and gushing water. “I work from photographs because it is so important to capture the light and shade. The river scenes take
is Heidi’s gallery, where her most recent works are on display, although she also exhibits paintings in the Kava Café in Waihi. In the past six years she has won several awards for her art and been a finalist in the National Waikato Painting and Printmaking awards; the Molly Morpeth
Canaday Art Awards; the North Shore City Art Awards and the Tauranga Art Awards. In 2009 she won first prize in the Waihi Summer Festival and also picked up the local artist award in the same event in 2004 and in 2003, the Delme Brake Award in the festival.
Waihi artist Heidi McCulloch with a selection of animal portraits in her studio. hours to get the water just right.” Abstracts are more relaxed and free-form as Heidi paints from imagination but there’s no less attention to technique and detail. Heidi also paints on commission and teaches art too. Just a few metres from her studio on Ford Rd, Waihi
Spay the stray programme for cats living rough New Zealand’s growing stray or feral cat population is becoming an increasing threat to native wild life in rural areas but the moggies living rough in the city are also of concern. In Tauranga ARRC Wildlife Trust has successfully launched its Spay the Stray Cat Campaign and Adopt a Pet Programme in an effort to address the problem and aspects of these could serve as models for similar initiatives in other areas, including rural communities. Vet Liza Schneider, ARRC’s director and owner of Holistic Vets, Tauranga says while ARRC’s main role is as a New Zealand native wildlife rescue and rehabilitation organisation, the issue of stray cats is one it couldn’t ignore. “Growing populations of cats can have an impact on our natural environment, on wild life and on pets. As they have continued to breed and without intervention, this problem will continue to grow, likely at an alarming rate.” While they may have a value in keeping populations of rats, mice and rabbits down, their impact on native wildlife can be devastating. Cats are natural hunters and with their speed and ability to climb, can prey on birds, nestlings, native reptiles and insects. “We decided to take action and ask the public and local vets for help. We are working in cooperation with and have the support of the Tauranga City Council and the SPCA.” Vets have volunteered their time and already 10 cats captured in a trial for the project have been de-sexed
and given health checks at a special surgery set up at Tauranga Kennels, ARRC’s rescue centre. Liza says help is needed from the public to identify stray cat colonies and to assist with capturing them. While some people may argue the stray cats should be destroyed because they can be seen as pests, Liza says that a more constructive and humane solution may be to re-home these cats where possible and only release them back into areas where they won’t impact on wildlife, perform a useful purpose and are under someone’s care. For more information, phone ARRC co-ordinator Sue Mackey, 07 552 5503, email firstname.lastname@example.org or have a look at ARRC’s website www.arrc.org.nz
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Oscar the morepork makes full recovery Moreporks are native owl of New Zealand and incredible birds to work with. They are nocturnal (active at night) and hunt insects as well as small birds, reptiles and mice. We most often have moreporks brought into our rescue centre by people who have found them on the side of the road usually because they have been hit by a car at night. These gorgeous owls usually have injuries to their heads and especially when their eyes are severely damaged, are unable to be rehabilitated to the wild because they are so dependent on accurate vision for hunting. Thank goodness many of the owls which come through can be treated and recover extremely well. Oscar, named by our fabulous volunteer Chrissy who rehabilitated him back into the wild, was found on the side of the road in Katikati. He was brought into us collapsed and a veteri-
nary examination revealed that he had moderate bruising and abrasions to his head, that he was dehydrated and his condition Morepork. was poor. More than likely he had been hit by a car a couple of days before and lost condition as well as become dehydrated as he was too injured to find food. We treated Oscar with fluids, pain relief and some homeopathic medicine to aid his recovery. The next morning he was standing up and ready to eat some food. Two weeks later Oscar was released after making a full recovery. By Dr Liza Schneider Tauranga ARRC Wildlife Trust
Funding boost for schools to grow their own ‘Grow Your Own’ Grants of $2000 will be awarded to six North Island schools to help with gardening projects in an initiative developed by Rural Women New Zealand and Farmlands. “We’re delighted to be able to partner with Farmlands once again to give away gardening grants,” says Rural Women NZ national president, Liz Evans. “There’s a magic about planting seeds and growing your own fruit and veges. We’re keen to encourage children to learn the skills for what can become an enjoyable hobby and a way of providing healthy food for families.” The $2000 ‘Grow Your Own’ grants can be used to set up, or further develop, a rural school garden
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or orchard. The prize money will be the proceeds of the October Farmlands Ladies’ Nights events, when ‘cuddly cook’ Annabelle White will be touring the North Island for fun-filled evenings of cooking tips peppered with humorous quips. The winning schools will also receive a copy of A Good Harvest – Recipes from the Gardens of Rural Women New Zealand, as well as gardening equipment, soil nutrients and seeds. This is the third year Rural Women New Zealand and Farmlands have given grants to North Island rural schools. In the first year more than 120 entries were received for funding to erect shade sails in school playgrounds. Last year Rural Women New Zealand and Farmlands presented cheques for road safety initiatives to schools in Ruatoki, Matakohe, Elstow, Manakau and Kai Iwi. Grant applications close November 2. Dates for the Farmlands Ladies Nights and application forms for the ‘Grow Your Own’ North Island rural school gardening grants can be found at www.ruralwomen.org.nz
Rural online shopping embraced New Zealand’s appetite for shopping online is predicted to push sales to more than $4 billion by 2015 and rural buyers are among the fastest growing consumer groups.
It’s even possible to buy a garden shed online, as this happy Trade Tested customer discovered.
The $4 billion prediction comes from a PriceWaterhouse Coopers report that reveals sales from online retailers are expected to show rapid and strong growth during the next four years. TradeMe was the website that broke new ground in online buying in New Zealand but now retailers have joined the trend, with relative newcomer Trade Tested opting to have only an online presence. Company founder Richard Humphries says in the
last 12 months New Zealanders have shifted their buying to online in a big way. “We knew it was the right choice for us. Certainly there was the initial thought that a company without a physical location might not be able to gain the trust of the rural community, but we were very fortunate. Our large selection, low prices and excellent customer service have made us quite popular with shoppers. We’re growing faster than we had ever expected. I think our customers like to show off their good deals to each other.” Trade Tested is providing prices that can’t be easily matched by businesses with a brick and mortar location and with lower prices and a larger selection, online retailers are gaining the advantage in an everincreasing rural market. “While the convenience of online shopping is certainly nothing new, retailers who connect with rural markets are paving the way by giving people the selection and low prices generally only found in large, metropolitan areas. This connection provides a much needed boost for a rural economy, creating a win/win situation for both parties,” says Richard. Trade Tested began in a small suburban garage, selling products on TradeMe, but in 2010 launched its own website and last year delivered products to more than 30,000 satisfied customers. Its range includes farming equipment, log splitters, lifestyle products, petrol and power tools, chicken coops, pet gear and more.
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Minerals are essential for health Minerals are inorganic, naturally occurring compounds. There are over 70 compounds classified as minerals of which about 20 are identified as essential for our bodies to function. If we have inadequate mineral intake, or our mineral intake is out of balance, this can have disastrous effects on our health. The real challenge with minerals is that to access all the minerals our bodies require we need to eat a wide range of foods as minerals come from either the sea or soils. While food from the sea has excellent mineral balance, many of our soils are deficient in minerals. New Zealand soils contain very low levels of the cancer protecting trace mineral selenium. Low levels of many minerals can have disastrous effects on our health. Add to this that heavy metals minerals act as mineral antagonists. For example high levels of tissue mercury, commonly from dental amalgams, can block the functions of zinc, iron and selenium. There are many diseases specifically related to a single or a group of minerals. For example, low levels of iodine can cause goitre and other thyroid diseases. Other
minerals have multiple functions and low levels can cause many problems. For example zinc is known to participate in over 300 enzymes. Low zinc levels can cause diverse problems from poor immune function, eye problems, hair loss and skin problems. Many people take mineral supplements to maintain health or as part of a treatment programme for specific conditions. These can be single minerals, such as iron, iodine or calcium, small groups such as
magnesium, calcium and potassium or as multi-mineral complexes. Of all nutrients, minerals from supplements have the greatest ability to do harm. My view is the single or small groups of minerals should only be given under professional guidance. For example single iron supplements should only be taken after blood tests show low iron levels. The same applies to iodine and some other minerals. For most people, most of the time the best way to get minerals from supplements is as modest dose multi-mineral preparations. This will ensure you are getting the minerals in the correct form and correct balance. My preference is for chelated minerals whereby the mineral is bonded to amino acids (the building blocks of protein) to provide optimum absorption with the minimum risk of tummy upsets. Give me a call if you need help. To join my weekly newsletter go to www. johnarts.co.nz and visit www.abundant.co.nz John Arts is the founder of Abundant Health. To contact John phone 0800 423 559.
Farmers doing their bit by recycling Farmers stopped hundreds of tonnes of plastic from being burnt or buried last year, thanks to their participation in the nation-wide recycling scheme. Environment Minister Amy Adams says more than 650 tonnes of plastic farm waste has been recycled thanks to a government-funded scheme called Plasback. Under the scheme more than 1000 recycling bins have been supplied to New Zealand farms to collect agricul-
tural plastics such as bale wrap, silage wrap and covers, agrichemical containers and crop bags. The waste is recycled into plastic resin pellets and then reused in new plastic products. “Many farmers have been frustrated by the lack of options for dealing with plastic farm waste and know that burning or burying waste is not a sustainable solution. “This voluntary scheme is about getting alongside farmers and providing an environmentally-friendly alternative. Thanks to the agriculture sector’s
commitment, there is now 650 tonnes of plastic waste that is not being burned or buried,” says Amy. The programme received $130,000 from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund which supports projects that increase resource efficiency and decrease the amount of waste going to landfill. “Under the Waste Minimisation Act, as Minister for the Environment, I have the ability to accredit product stewardship schemes which meet the criteria for reducing waste and environmental harm. “Product stewardship schemes are an excellent way of getting all parties involved in the production and distribution of a product to take responsibility for its environmental impact at the end of its life.” For more information on Product Stewardship Accreditation go to: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/ sustainable-industry/initiatives/product-stewardship/ For more information on the Waste Minimisation Fund go to: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/waste/ waste-minimisation-fund/index.html
Culturally diverse, but easy recipes Recipes for Maori potato, fried whitebait salad and kawakawa vanilla shortbread mark Amanda Laird’s cookbook as distinctly New Zealand.
Win Amanda Laird’s book, Good Times.
So do more exotic sounding dishes like Pappardelle with shredded duck, orange and wine or Cappellacci with mushroom chicken, sage and fontina. That’s because ‘Good Times – favourite recipes to share from Viva’ is a reflection of the ever-growing culinary influences on New Zealand culture and on the author herself. Amanda says in the forward to the book that her cooking has been inspired by her childhood growing up in the Waikato and her adulthood in Rotorua and Auckland. Today as a South Auckland resident and owner of the café Ruby Red, she finds new inspiration in local food stores and Polynesian food markets. The recipes in this book are a selection of favourites she has written in the past five year as food editor for the Herald’s Viva magazine. They represent a full menu of easy to prepare breakfast or brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner and
desert dishes. Each is accompanied by a full page photo and concise clear instructions. Thanks to publishers Penguin, Coast & Country has two copies of Good Times to give away. To be in to win answer the following question: What is the name of Amanda Laird’s café? Email your answer to elaine@thesun.
co.nz with a subject line ‘Book prize’, along with your name, address and phone number, or include these details on the back of an envelope and post to Elaine Fisher, Coast & Country, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110 to arrive no later than September 17, 2012. The winner will be announced in the October issue of Coast & Country.
Party lines, one digit phone numbers recalled The days of party lines and small town switchboard operators were recalled for many Coast & Country readers by last month’s mystery item, which was the Katikati Telephone Exchange switchboard. Alana Hunter of Whakatane remembers her mother working at the Matata Telephone Exchange from the early 1960s until it closed in 1982. “When the exchange closed, the people of Matata gathered together to thank the staff with a silver ingot and an oblong serving dish each,” she wrote. Judy Sherriff (nee Murray) previously of Homewood Katikati, says her 1950-1960s phone number of No 1 “used to cause lots of confusion as everyone thought there should be more numbers”. Neville Norman of Tauranga recalls his sister Heather Harris working at the Katikati exchange when she was 15. “The first time she was left on her own a fire call came in. In those days they had to run across the road to break the glass which sounded the siren, then race back and ring the fire chief. This day she did it in reverse. When she got back every shutter on the board was down. The faster she answered, the faster they came down again so she plugged in a lead that would answer a lot at once and told everyone where the fire
was. Heather is now in her mid-70s and living in Waihi.” Norman wins admission for two to the Katikati Heritage Museum. To be in to win a museum visit for two identify this month’s mystery item and send your send answer, along with any stories you may have about the object, to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to Elaine Fisher, Coast & Country PO Box 240 Tauranga 3110 to arrive no later than September 17, 2012. The winner will be announced in the October Coast & Country. The museum, just south of Katikati is open seven days a week from 9.30am to 3.30pm in winter. To find out more visit http://www. katikatiheritagemuseum.co.nz/ or phone 07 549 0651
Left: Last month’s mystery item was the switchboard of the old Katikati telephone exchange.
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Chainsaw races, truck pull, big dig and more at Woodfest The Kawerau Woodfest and National Woodskills Competition promises a jam packed weekend of events and entertainment says event co-ordinator Lee Barton.
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First Big Dig World Championship title will be The highly popular event runs from Friday Sepcontested at Kawerau Woodfest in the AIE tember 7 to Sunday September 8 in the mill town of Pacific Toyota sponsored event. Kawerau. “Last year’s Woodfest attracted around 12,000 people woodchip into a bin. “This was an incredible success with a team from Kawerau South School taking out during the three day, Rugby World Cup themed event the trophy and this year it is sure to be another crowd which provided all ages with a weekend of entertainpleaser. “The men compete in the Big Dig on Sunday, ment and attractions,” says Lee. where the task is somewhat more challenging with “There are new attractions for this year’s Woodthree cubic metres to move. The team from Riteway fest and these will most definitely amuse and amaze Riggerz are the undisputed champions and they will be the public. There will be an incredible hotly contesting the chance to win the demonstration of skill with a trial bike AIE Pacific Toyota First Big Dig World demonstration and competition and Championship title this year.” teams are being looked for to enter the On Prideaux Park there will be the Woodfest Truck Pull, which incorporates KFL Pro Logger Chainsaw Races, eight people pulling a 16 tonne logging specifi cally aimed at professional loggers truck over 40 metres. There will be a live working in the industry with the chalarborist demonstration from ALFA Conlenge to make 10 cuts on a log as quick tracts and the big family entertainment as they can. Penalty time is added when will be the Dog Star Show.” The National cuts are considered to be not straight. Woodskills Competition in the Ron With $3500 in prize money this will be Hardie Recreation Centre will demona hotly contested competition. Any strate the finer side of wood crafting with pro loggers interested in entering this displays of artistic skill and creativity. event can get entry forms from the “This year a new category has been official website. included with the introduction of Rar“There will be plenty of sideshows, anga (weaving in wearable, traditional, attractions for the young and heaps of contemporary and sculptural formats). food vendors to keep the energy levels “The stock favourites of Chainsaw up. The Rotary Club of Kawerauis Carving and the Woodchopping will see running their craft market in the CBD teams demonstrating their skills in the along with the Kawerau Arts Society Bull Ring, while the Dig Zone is the only which will display in the Concert Champlace in New Zealand you will witness Prideaux Park will children and adults shovelling woodchip, again be the venue for bers.” Lee says Kawerau Woodfest is a great family day out in the heart of the at speed- in a race format.” a number of events Bay of Plenty and celebrates the forestry Last year the inaugural Pacific Toyota during the Kawerau industry on whole. Diddy Dig competition entertained the Woodfest weekend. To find out more and to enter events crowds with 64 students (8-10 years) from go to www.kaweraudc.govt.nz/Woodfest local primary schools shovelling half a cubic metre of
When staff don’t get on with each other Staff that do not get on with each other create a real headache for employers. Productivity is slowed down. Staff morale is low. Management time is wasted on dealing with smoothing the waters. This issue is a significant and a common problem. Many employer clients seek my assistance on this issue as they become exasperated with what to do about the problem. The Employment Relations Authority accepts that a clash of personalities between an employer and employee, or between two employees, may make on going employment unworkable. However, for a dismissal in such a situation to be justified, an employer must show there has been serious disharmony, and that the dismissed employee is substantially responsible for this disharmony. Further, before ending employment, the employer must follow a fair and reasonable process. A fair process would include an attempt by the employer to remedy
the relationship as far as reasonable in the circumstances and considering the particular work environment. Such attempts may include training, facilitation, mediation, counselling and/or the introduction of a code of conduct. Where, after such efforts, an employer believes that the employment relationship has become or remains irreconcilable, and where that this is largely caused by a particular employee, a formal process raising the issue of incompatibility may well be appropriate. Employers are not expected to continue employing an employee where the working relationship has become unsustainable through an employee’s actions. If you have any employment queries that you would like assistance with, please email Wendy directly at firstname.lastname@example.org This article is intended as a point of reference and should not be relied on as a substitute for professional advice. Specialist advice should always be sought in relation to any particular circumstances and no liability will be accepted for any losses incurred by those relying solely on this article.
COAST & COUNTRY
Wet land creates subdivision opportunities The recent prolonged wet spell has given us the opportunity to see what areas quickly cover with surface water and retain it for some time. These were perhaps natural wetland areas before the farm was drained to increase capacity. Such areas, with regular water flow, have the possibility to be retired and re-vegetated into wetlands as a means of protecting the environment. Wetlands are recognised as being of high value and, as such, qualify for subdivision rights in many regions. Rehabilitation may require filling drains – or perhaps a low dam – and some planting but often these areas revert naturally once they are fenced off and kept wet for a period. Most district councils recognise the importance of wetlands along with stream margins
and native bush in their district plan rules. Protection of our water resource has become a big issue and this is more significant to farmers than most. The subdivision credits on offer may make it financially worthwhile as well. In the Western Bay wetland areas need only be half a hectare – around an acre – to create an additional subdivision lot. If you have at least 250m of stream running through your land and you have, or are prepared to plant, natives along its margins you will also qualify for a lot. Part of Waikato District – previously Franklin – has a similar rule at present for wetland and
Flooding just north of Katikati.
A sure-fire spring sensation next home improvement project easier as well.” An expo crowd favourite is always the live cooking displays, this year in the form of Captain Cook’s Fisher & Paykel Theatre. Designed to celebrate Captain Cook’s brave and successful voyage through the Pacific in the late 1700s, each day Captain Cook, aka Peter Blakeway, will be cooking, talking and tasting his way around the Pacific. Throw in some travel seminars, specials and prizes, great food, live entertainment and heaps for the kids and the expo is a guaranteed winner. Come along to the TECT Arena this September; with plenty of free parking there’s no reason not to check out another one of Baypark’s fabulous events.
Show manager Tracey Taylor plans ahead for this year’s exciting expo. Photo by Tracy Hardy
As the weather warms and spring appears on the horizon, it’s time to get excited about the Tauranga Home and Leisure Expo. Why? Because 180 displays and exhibits will showcase what’s new in ideas, products and services for your home. Show manager Tracey Taylor says this year’s expo is even more exciting, with the addition of the Renovation Court: an area especially designed for those doing renovations this summer. Thirteen locally based experts in their field are coming together to present new ways to think about adding value to your home. “It’s like a show within a show,” she says. “Giving potential buyers the opportunity to speak with a dozen home renovating experts all at the same place, at the same time. “Not only that, but working together to make your
native bush areas. When Waipa District recently announced its proposed district Ppan there was focus on protecting significant natural features and view shafts. Although this plan is in its early stages it seems that if you have many features registered on your property you will likely gain a subdivision right – but you might have to transfer these rights off-site, as lots can only be created on certain properties with lower land class and landscape values. Other areas in this region such as Thames-Coromandel, Waikato, Hauraki, Matamata-Piako, South Waikato, Rotorua, Whakatane and Opotiki Districts all now recognise the
benefits of protecting these ecological features to some extent and offer some subdivision benefits. As rules changes make subdivision much more difficult in rural areas, the protection of natural features and other attributes of value to the community will become one of the only ways to subdivide lifestyle blocks, I believe. If your land has a feature similar to those mentioned in this article and you want to subdivide your property don't hesitate to give me a call. I am happy to discuss the situation with you to see if it is worth pursuing. Brent Trail, Managing Director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Coromandel and Bay of Plenty.
Much to consider before harvesting forest The optimum harvest age for a well grown and well-tended radiata pine is somewhere between 26 -30 years of age. This typically is when the stand has generated maximum growth verses the cost of capital invested. It is also the time of the rotation where trees have maximised their pruned clear-
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For further information,visit www.woodmetrics.co.nz
Be prepared — call 0800 96 63 63 now to talk about your trees with Peter Harington, your Regional Manager.
If the stand is of poor quality then it may be better to harvest it early and replant with newer tree stocks and apply better management regimes to achieve a better second crop in the future. Market pricing may be peaking for export logs and the stands may fit this specification better than the domestic market. Trees may be overhanging fencelines creating a nuisance on the farm and leading to repair work and fence breakages. Additionally, these types of stands shade pasture leading to reduced grass growth. The area in trees may be taking up valuable land that would now be better off in grass, with the grass providing a better return on investment than the trees. Old untended shelter belts may be decreasing the visual look of the farm. Harvesting them now and replanting with slower growing amenity species may be a better option. The value of each stand depends on a number of factors, including: • Tree species • Type of tree crop – managed vs un-managed • Market conditions at time of harvesting • Distance to markets • Harvesting terrain • Length of access roading, The value of each stand relies heavily on total stand volume and log product types within it. For smaller stands it is often not worth the cost of paying for a full stand inventory. However, for larger stands a full MARVL stand description should be carried out. Typically there are two main types of log sales - managed sale and stumpage sale. Managed sale is where the owner appoints a professional harvesting/marketing company to oversee all aspects of the project on their behalf. The project is very transparent for the owner, with the owner receiving a detailed report of all revenues received and costs incurred from the project. The owner should receive a written estimate from the management company detailing revenues and costs, as well as an estimate of the bottom line return to the owner. The owner pays the management company a fee for providing the service and this fee should be detailed prior to the harvest beginning. Fee structures are usually based on a $ per tonne figure, or a percentage of net revenue returned from the project. Because it is an open book project, the owner takes on the market risk, and will make more money should the market rise during the operation but conversely
may lose revenue should the market fall during harvest. The advantage of the stumpage sale to the forest owner is that they have the surety of knowing exactly the $ per tonne figure they are going to receive for every tonne of wood harvested from their forest. However stumpage buyers will discount their buy price to offset grade, volume and market risk, and thus returns can often be lower. There are three subcategories to a stumpage sale: a. Graded (pay as cut) sale: This is where the stumpage buyer pays a different price for each grade cut. The significant risk for the forest owner in this sale method is the stumpage purchaser’s lack of incentive to optimise the grade outturn. b. Composite (pay as cut): This is where the stumpage buyer pays a composite price for all logs removed. While this produces an incentive to optimise grade outturn, it is likely to result in a price discountto mitigate the buyer’s risk that the grade mix is inferior to that assessed before harvesting. c. Lump sum sale: This is where a stumpage buyer pays a lump sum for all logs before the start of harvest. The buyer takes all the risk of grade mix and total recoverable volume, as well as market risk. This typically leads to the buyer heavily discounting their bid price to cover this risk. Additionally the forest owner will typically need to pay a forestry company a fee to take their forest to the market, package the stumpage sale and oversee the stumpage process for them. The trees have been growing for 25 years and forest owners are going to get one shot at optimising the return on investment. They need to consider: Revenue: is the current log market the best for the stand of trees, and will it generate the best sales revenues for the logs? Seasonal issues – Does it ﬁt in with other farm operations? Do they need to consider winter vs summer harvesting due to soil type? Costs – consider harvesting and trucking costs, along with roading costs and the costs of transporting in a harvesting crew. Log value recovery - Does the harvesting have the necessary skills to optimise each tree stem into the highest value log components, at the appropriate log quality? Return on investment – Should owners wait another year, or will they make more having the money in the bank or some alternative investment? Land use – Is the current tree crop the best use of land going forward? Source: Professional Harvesting Systems
Research aims to maximise timber returns Forest owners should be among those to benefit from planned reforms of New Zealand’s forest and wood processing industries. The Wood Council (Woodco) has just given the go-ahead to a $400,000 research-based initiative which aims to get the highest value out of every cubic metre of timber harvested. Known as Woodscape, it is modelled on a major study carried out for the Canadian forest products industry in 2009. “In the next decade we will see an increase in the harvest. We are determined to extract the best value we can from this resource and reinvigorate our sector,” says Woodco chair Doug Ducker. Meanwhile Woodco members are already moving on several market development initiatives designed to maximise returns for traditional forest products. These include a campaign to actively promote New Zealand timber in Australia, the development of a national timber quality assurance scheme and active promotion of timber to Christchurch homeowners as the material to be used in the post-quake rebuild. “All these initiatives are important, but Woodscape has the potential in the medium-term to transform the sector, so that all players enjoy higher and more consistent returns,” says Doug. The Canadian ‘Bio-Pathways’ study concluded that much higher returns will come from integrating new technologies into traditional wood processing, including the conversion of forest biomass into bio-energy, bio-chemicals and other bio-materials. As a result, Canadian sawmills are now expanding into bioenergy and pulp mills are converting into bio-refineries for
production of pulp, bio-energy and bio-chemicals. Because of the many differences between Canada and New Zealand, Doug cautions that the strategies that emerge from Woodscape won’t be a carbon copy of what has been adopted by Canada. But they do have the potential to be equally transformational. Woodscape is being led by a 12-strong team at Scion crown research institute with technical support from the industry and the universities. The study will draw heavily on the proven bio-pathways methodology adapted for differences in the New Zealand wood supply, industry structure, operating costs and markets. Funding comes from all major industry players, Scion, NZ Trade & Enterprise, EECA, the Bio-energy Association and the Ministry of Primary Industry. Promising technologies will be identified, costed, ranked and presented to sector workshops by the end of October. Development scenarios for five regions will be explored and workshopped during December. Final recommendations will be made to the Wood Council board in autumn next year, says Doug. The Wood Council of New Zealand (Woodco) is a pan-industry body that represents the common interests of the forestry and wood processing sectors. Woodco members are the Forest Owners, Wood Processors, Pine Manufacturers, Farm Forestry and Forest Industry Contractors Associations. Woodco's Industry Strategic Action Plan 2012 can be downloaded from http://bit.ly/R1R1GA
Visually impaired invited to tree planting A challenge made 87 years ago is behind a tree planting with a difference on September 8. Bay of Plenty Lions Clubs are inviting the public, particularly those who are visually impaired, to help plant trees in a special grove at the Terrain Park in the hills between Tauranga and Rotorua on September 8. Spokesperson for the clubs, Pam Hawkins of Tauranga says helping the visually impaired has been part of the mission of Lions worldwide since the 1925 Lions International Convention in Ohio, when Helen Keller asked Lions: “Will you not help me hasten the day when here shall be no preventable blindness, no little deaf, blind child untaught, no blind man or woman unaided? I appeal to you Lions, you who have your sight, your hearing and you who are strong and brave and kind. Will you not
constitute yourselves Knights of the Blind in this crusade against darkness?” “Helen Keller was born blind and deaf and Lions International accepted her request with open arms. From that date in 1925 Lions have helped millions and millions of visually impaired people to see. “This is the reason that the local Lions have organised a Visually Impaired Planting Day at their new Lions Tree Grove in Terrain Park. “We are inviting all visually impaired people to come and help us plant a special place for the people with disabilities to visit with their family and friends in the decades to come,” says Pam. The planting will happen at the Lions Tree Grove in Terrain Park, SH 36 (Pyes Pa Road) on September 8 from 10.30 am until noon after which a catered lunch will be available. For more information please email email@example.com. nz Rotorua) firstname.lastname@example.org (Tauranga)
COAST & COUNTRY
James Bailey, chef at Whangamata Ocean Sports Club, was a finalist in the inaugural New Zealand Vegetarian Dish Challenge with a recipe called ‘Pumpkin and camembert doughnuts with beetroot relish’.
ism; lacto-vegetarian (including dairy), lacto-ovo vegetarian (including dairy and eggs) or vegan (totally plant based). More than 200 entries were received, “The huge number of entries in the inaugural competition gave the judges quite a challenge selecting a winner,” says Pip Duncan, food services consultant for Vegetables.co nz Jinu won the challenge for his entry of baby vegetables with olive, celeriac, candied walnut and macadamia cheese. “The winning entry impressed all three of us judges alike. Our decision was unanimous. Jinu Abraham’s clever use of beetroot and macadamia, along with a great selection of seasonal fresh New Zealand grown vegetables, completely accomplished all judging criteria,” says Adrian Brett-Chinnery. James Bayley’s recipe:
Pumpkin donuts a vegetarian winner The challenge, won by Jinu Abraham - executive chef of Heritage Auckland, was organised by Vegetables.co.nz which co-sponsored the competition with Bidvest produce suppliers and Southern Hospitality equipment suppliers. Nationwide, chefs and caterers where invited to submit their favourite recipe featuring fresh New Zealand grown vegetables which could represent any branch of vegetarian-
Pumpkin and camembert doughnuts with beetroot relish Serves four
Ingredients 2 Tbsp dry yeast 6 Tbsp warm water 1 egg 50g butter 25g brown sugar 1 Tbsp cornflour 2 Tbsp poppy seeds 2 Tbsp sesame seeds 1 tsp nutmeg 4 chillies Small bunch thyme 1 tsp baking powder 2 tsp salt 4 cups pumpkin purée 4 cups flour 500g camembert cheese, cut into marble-sized pieces
Keep your cows in milk over summer Plan your summer crops now • Pasture Sprayout
Cultivation & Seeding Direct Drilling
We do the complete job. Book early—Call us on 07 549 1075
Method Place water in a small bowl, add yeast and leave for 10 minutes. Whisk in egg and remaining ingredi-
24 HOUR SALES & SERVICE
ents, except the flour. When mixture is well combined, stir in flour and knead for 2 minutes. Divide dough into mini golf balls, flatten, add a piece of cheese, roll up the dough to encapsulate the cheese, and leave to prove for 3 hours. Heat a deep fryer and drop doughnuts into hot oil. Cook for 2 minutes then turn and cook another 2 minutes.
Ingredients 3 cups grated beetroot ¼ cup sherry vinegar 1 cup brown sugar 1 tsp ground white pepper 1 cup water 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ground ginger
Method Combine all ingredients together in a saucepan and cook gently for 30 minutes or until beetroot is tender. Chill.
COAST & COUNTRY
To list your rural event please email: email@example.com with Rural Event in the subject heading.
Tuesday 11 September
Waihi Mating Field Day At Malcom Gerring’s, 433 Trig Road South, RD1, Waihi SN75920 10.45am – 1.30pm. Refresher & perspective on key reproduction factors including: Nutrition – the magic & myths of mating. Guest speaker: Jane Kay, DairyNZ Team Leader. Calves – putting the acid on an ‘overlooked’ asset. Ambulance – options and costs. The Bull Team. For information ph Wilma 021 246 2147 or email: Wilma.firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 12 September
Opotiki Mating Field Day At Doug and Beth Leeder’s, Gabriels Gully Rd, Opotiki SN 22486 10.45am – 1pm. For details of course see Sept 11. Guest speaker: Phillipa Hedley, DairyNZ Developer Farm Systems. For information ph Cameron 027 288 8238 or email: email@example.com
Thursday 13 September
BOP Focus on Dairying Mating Field Day At Richard and Creina James, 147B SH2, Matata SN 21700 10.45am – 1pm. For details of course see Sept 11, minus The Bull Team. Guest speaker: Kevin Macdonald, DairyNZ Scientist. Lunch kindly supplied by RD1. For information ph Cameron 027 288 8238 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 18 September Mihi Mating Field Day At hosts: Bryan & Tesha Gibson, 1188 Tutukau Rd, Reporoa SN 78941 10.45am – 1pm. For details of course see Sept 11. Guest speaker: Sharon Morrell, DairyNZ BOP Regional Leader. Lunch kindly supplied by Rabobank. For information ph Moana Puha 021 225 8345 or email: email@example.com
Wednesday 19 September
Hauraki Ladies Group Meet at Raelene Williams, Porua 10.30am. This discussion group is open to any women involved in dairying or dairy related agribusiness. Topic: Soil fertility/biology, fertilizer use. Ph Fiona Wade 021 242 2127 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Te Puke Mating Field Day At hosts: Andrew and Robyn McLeod, 1185 Welcome Bay Road, Papamoa SN21349 10.45am – 1pm. For details of course see Sept 11. Guest speaker: Kevin Macdonald, DairyNZ Scientist. Ph Wilma 021 246 2147 or email: Wilma.email@example.com
Thursday 20 September
Tokoroa Biz Start Meet in upstairs meeting room, Tokoroa Club, Chambers St, Tokoroa 11am – 1pm. This is the first session for the south Waikato Biz Start group. We will make a plan for the year ahead and you will leave with your own
personal goals. Sessions will focus on building business and people management skills to equip them for senior level management positions, or owning or running their own farm business. Bring your lunch. Ph Amy Johnson 0274 832 205 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 25 September
Tokoroa Biz Group Meet in upstairs meeting room, Tokoroa Club, Chambers St, Tokoroa 11am – 1pm. Large Herd 50:50. What is important to ensure a successful operation? Bring your lunch. Ph Amy Johnson 0274 832 205.
WE ALWAYS PAY MORE!
$1000 CASH per week
0800 382 828
Ph 07 928 3042 or email@example.com
MENS SAUNA/STEAM/SPA GuyZ Male Bath House 856a Victoria St Hamilton Tues-Sat 4pm Sun 1pm GuyZ Ph 07 839 5222
MODULAR FARM BRIDGES Ph Pat now 0800 222 189 w w w. b r i d g e b u i l d e r s . c o . n z BRIDGE IT NZ LTD
MULCH FOR SALE Must pick up in KatiKati. $40 per cube. Ph Scott today 0274 624 769 PULLETS Brown Shaver. Point of lay, good layers. Ph 07 824 1762
BER TR TIM E
NT ME AT
house for sale
FANTASTIC LIFESTYLE BLOCK AT PIKOWAI Within easy commuting to Tauranga, Te Puke and Whakatane this 4 bedroom brick home is in paradise! Beautiful sea and rural views 6 acres grazing land, horse pens, heaps of shedding, butchery and chiller for own use single garage with sleepout/ofﬁce big games room or can be converted to extra double garage, chook house, drenching race for the cattle. 11.5 x 4.5 metre in ground swimming pool which is fully decked and fenced. This is a beautiful home and comes with a share in the community woolshed, tennis courts and cattle yards. Own water scheme. Fantastic community to belong to - be in quick! Price of house has been slashed! to $550,000 - urgent sale. Ph 027 281 7427 today.
trades & services
BUILDERS - Murray Pedersen licensed builder with his experienced team will undertake additions renovations also reclads. We can arrange plans & consents. Ph 575 7870 BOSTOCK SHELTER TRIMMERS LTD we have a keen eye and work hard to achieve a satisfactory ﬁnish. Phone Rob on 027 222 4157 GORSE SPRAYING do you have a gorse problem? Ph today for a FREE quote for all gorse control. Scott 0274 624 769 TREES TREES TREES Felling, Pruning, Maintenance, Chipping, & Removal. Ph Scott Today on 027 462 4769 ADVERTISE YOUR TRADE or services in the Coast & Country RunOn listings for only $20+gst conditions apply. Phone Tasha on 07 928 3042 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
e We servic of all makes pumps
COAST & COUNTRY
feature properties & auctions feature properties & auctions ADVANTAGE REALTY LTD MREINZ
Advantage Realty Ltd MREINZ Licensed Agent REAA Advantage Realty Ltd MREINZ Licensed Agent2008 REAA 2008
Tauranga Central Office – 07 578 0879 Cherrywood Office – 07 576 8770 Bethlehem Office – 07 579 2206 Mount Central Office – 07 575 6384 Papamoa Office – 07 542 9012 Te Puke Office – 07 573 4754
COAST & COUNTRY
feature properties & auctions feature properties & auctions ADVANTAGE REALTY LTD MREINZ
Advantage Realty Ltd MREINZ Licensed Agent REAA Advantage Realty Ltd MREINZ Licensed Agent2008 REAA 2008
Tauranga Central Office – 07 578 0879 Cherrywood Office – 07 576 8770 Bethlehem Office – 07 579 2206 Mount Central Office – 07 575 6384 Papamoa Office – 07 542 9012 Te Puke Office – 07 573 4754
COAST & COUNTRY
Amelia aged 2 1/2 years old with her Kune Kune piglet “Little Jester”. First thing she did after getting dressed in the morning was feed him (6:30am most of the time!). She loves her piggy-wiggy to bits.
Sophie & Joshua having cuddles with our pet duck regularly. The duck had its leg broken as a wee duckling so it can only use one leg. From Natalie Hansen, Huntly.
Chase Candy, 18 Mo nth Dad dies dad said he s old, he reckons when can have his chains aw! From Janine Can
From Sonia Foote.
COAST & COUNTRY
PRIZE PACK UP FOR GRABS!
Pictures and details can be emailed (high resolution jpgs) to email@example.com “Country Camera” or posted to Coast & Country, PO Box 240, Tauranga. Please include a name, address and phone number with every entry.
Our son Liam Loijen with his pet calf Snoepie the two of them spend a lot a time together. From Anouk Loijen.
“Follow the leader” Jack Hickling having a ride on old Blazey boy, with a cheeky little heifer following him around. From Malissa Geary, Patutahi, Gisborne.
Oscar and what he does on his days out. He is a full blooded german shorthaired pointer (gsp), in his first hunting season - so proud of his day’s work! From Iona Lambert
The two redheads! Our daughter Anna, aged 3 and her mini pony peanut. And, the horse loves coming inside! From Fiona Knight, Te Aroha.