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May 2014 Issue No.165

Bay of Plenty & Waikato Farm, Orchard & Rural Lifestyle

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Page 16-17

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Building a future in dairying

Cameron Luxton’s decision to leave a career in building to take up dairy farming has paid off. Not only does he love the lifestyle, he’s also won the Bay of Plenty 2014 Dairy Trainee of the Year Award. Read his story on page 4. Photo by Elaine Fisher.


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Y-gen take on parenting Parenthood is a life-changing experience usually for the better – despite the sleepless nights – and not just during the baby years. By Elaine Fisher

There’s nothing like waiting for a teenager to come home from a night out to ruin your sleep. Then there’s the economics – children are expensive from day one. Although, most parents have no regrets about the investments of love, time, energy, worry and dollars they provide their off-spring. Increasing numbers of young professionals are turning to farming and growing as a way to have more time with their children and develop a viable, profitable business. This year’s Bay of Plenty and Central Plateau winners in the Dairy Industry Awards include many who have come to dairying from other careers, bringing with them a range of valuable skill-sets, but most of all, a can-do attitude and clear business plan for a successful future. Parenthood prompted the change for some. The realisation of a better life for their children than daycares and a few precious hours with mum and dad prompted these couples to take the courageous steps of a complete career change – often with little or no knowledge of dairy farming, or certainty they would enjoy it - see pages 8 and 38. Generation Y– those born between 1981 and 2001 – are described as narcissistic or lacking commitment,

discipline and drive. But this technology-savvy, often well-educated generation has the skills to shape their lives in the way they wish. If more people had this kind of drive and willingness to get out of their comfort zones, the courage to move to where the work is, and put the needs of their children first, unemployment rates would fall and more children would be healthier and happier. Could it be that Gen Y is re-discovering the values and principles of earlier generations? What we don’t want are generations of Queensland fruit flies settling here, because it would costs our horticultural industry millions - see page 3. It seems although the islands of NZ drifted away from the super contentment Gondwanaland 180 million-odd years ago and avoided the evolution of mammals and poisonous insects and reptiles, humans are consciously or unconsciously reversing that trend – to our nation’s detriment. It’s to the future that the 2014 Fieldays is looking, with the Premier Feature this year Managing Resources for a Competitive Advantage – see pages 19 to 30.

The winner of ‘Something to Aim For’ by Daryl Crimp, published by Halcyon Press, is Tyrone Lawry of Te Awamutu.







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Kiwifruit Vine Health CEO Barry O’Neil says the industry is dismayed a second male Queensland fruit fly was found in Whangarei in April, less than three months after the first discovery in January. “If Queensland fruit fly was ever established here it would have a significant impact on our economy. Conservatives estimates are that it costs the Australian horticultural industry $100 million a year,” says Barry. “The greatest cost to the kiwifruit industry would be the restrictions many markets would place on our fruit. The industry needs confidence the borders will keep Queensland fruit fly out of New Zealand and that finds of the insect will be a rare and isolated event.” Barry’s sentiments are shared by HortNZ, which states as an organisation it “remains very concerned this was the third QFF detection response in 18 months”. “This is not acceptable to NZ growers or NZ taxpayers. At a cost of roughly $2 million per cleanup, this is not something any of us want to be doing every six months.” HortNZ communications manager Leigh Catley says: “MPI need to – and we will expect them – to take a good hard look at the way things are working at the border”. Queensland fruit fly, Bactrocera tryoni (Froggatt), is considered a serious threat for damage caused to fruit by females and larvae. A female fruit fly pierces maturing fruit and lays a clutch of white, bananashaped eggs just below the skin surface.


In Australia, sterile males are bred and released to mate with females, which lay infertile eggs, hopefully minimising numbers of the next generation. But New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries’ deputy director-general of compliance and response Andrew Coleman says sterile males are unlikely to be used here. “The use of sterile males is reserved for situations where large populations are present, as is currently the case in Australia. We are not looking at a situation like this,” says Andrew, commenting on the second single male fruit fly find during three months in Whangarei. The most recent find was in April, and the MPI operation investigating it ended at Easter, after no further Queensland fruit flies were found. Andrew says MPI’s response to finding a Queensland fruit fly in its traps is to run a comprehensive surveillance programme to detect the presence of fruit flies at an early stage before any population can widely establish. “If further flies are found, indicative of a breeding population, MPI has a range of measures to deploy. “The first activities would be putting out ‘lure and kill’ bait traps, which would attract both male and female flies, ground spraying of insecticide to kill any pupae in the soil and spraying host trees with insecticide to kill any adults,” says Andrew. “These sprays, applied from the ground, would be pyrethrum-based products with a similar active ingredient to household fly sprays.” Horticulture NZ and Kiwifruit Vine health are among organisations outspoken in their calls to prevent Queensland fruit flies from establishing in New Zealand, saying this is vital for the future of the country’s horticultural industries, which could face losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars from market access restrictions and significant extra costs

in growing fruit and vegetables. Should Queensland fruit fly become established in Te Puke kiwifruit orchards, it could cost the industry $430 million each year, according to a February 2007 study commissioned by HortNZ, called ‘Fruit fly: Likely impact of an incursion of fruit fly in the Bay of Plenty, Hawke’s Bay or Nelson’. Fruition Horticulture Tauranga’s Ruth Underwood carried out the study – but seven years on costs of a breeding population of the insect are likely to be much greater.

quince, loquat, tamarillo and tomato. Queensland fruit flies live in climates ranging from temperate to tropical. Its a native of Australia, where it’s considered to be one of the country’s most serious insect pests for fruit and vegetable crops. The species is found in Queensland’s eastern areas and New South Wales and the extreme east of Victoria. Queensland fruit fly has also dispersed into Pacific countries, such as New Caledonia, thanks to human activity.


Releasing large numbers of an unwanted pest in order to control it might seem counterintuitive – but it’s one strategy used in Australia to control Queensland fruit flies.


Exports of kiwifruit were unaffected by the discovery of a single fruit fly in Whangarei last month – but had more been found, many countries would have closed their borders to New Zealand horticultural products.

After two-three days, larvae hatch into white maggots, which tunnel into the flesh, carrying bacteria aiding in fruit breakdown. In seven-10 days, during summer months, they leave the fruit, and pupate in soil, emerging as adults within about 10 days. The life-cycle typically takes two-and-a-half weeks during summer. Adult flies gather around fruit and foliage to feed and mate. Queensland fruit flies can infect up to 100 varieties of fruit and vegetables, including apple, avocado, babaco, capsicum, cherry, citrus, custard apple, granadilla, grape, guava, kiwifruit, mango, nectarine, papaya, passionfruit, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, pomegranate, prune,

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Lucerne is returning to pasturelands at Galatea, and Cameron Luxton is a fan of the plant.

Dairy farming hits the mark for Cameron Cover Story Dairy farming didn’t figure in Cameron Luxton’s future plans, until he was offered a job at Galatea. “While I was at school I used to love spending time on my uncle’s farm but was never encouraged to go farming as a career,” says the 24-year-old who grew up in Papamoa Beach. He obviously has a skill for farming, because the former builder has won the Bay of Plenty 2014 Dairy Trainee of the Year Award in a hotly-contested final. Three years ago, Cameron was nearing the end of his building apprenticeship at Papamoa when the offer to work on Andrew and Dianne Muller’s Galatea farm came up. “I was spending most weekends at Galatea anyway, working for free on the friend’s farm and had considered going to Christchurch to work on the re-build – but it wasn’t a hard decision to come here instead.” Fate might have had a hand in it too, as shortly after accepting the job Cameron met Susan Read at a party – and discovered she was “the boss’ daughter”. Susan was studying early childhood education; and now the couple have married she’s returned home to Galatea, teaching at Murupara while Cameron is an assistant on the family farm. The 157 hectare flat farm, with 140ha effective land, in the Galatea valley, carries 380 kiwi-cross cows which graze on a mix of conventional pasture and lucerne. “I’m a real fan of lucerne. I’d like us to grow more of it. The old-timers in the valley say a lot more of the pasture here used to be lucerne but then people

went away from it for some reason.” The lucerne is cut before the cows go into the paddock, and within days of grazing it’s rapidly regrown. It stayed lush green throughout this summer, says Cameron. “If you look after it properly, it can last for up to 10 years.” Re-sowing pasture is something Cameron likes. Setting up the tractor and implements, plugging into his favourite odcasts and spending the last few hours of daylight in the paddock is a pleasure, not a chore. He also enjoys the cows and has a number of friendly favourites among the herd. This is the second time Cameron has entered the dairy awards, saying the big benefit he’s received both times is the judge’s feedback. “They showed me, in constructive ways, areas I was doing well in and areas I needed to improve in my farming practice. “Through the support of my employers I’ve moved my career forward and I’m excited about going further. I want to be the best farmer I can be for my family, community and industry.” Cameron also wants to encourage other young people to consider dairy farming as a career. “The money is good when you consider the job comes with accommodation, meat, milk and the chance to grow your own vegetables. Galatea is a great place to save money, as there’s nowhere to spend it round here,” he laughs. Cameron is also enjoying the rural social life, and he’s joined the local rugby club. “A lot of our players are from Minginui – and despite what you might hear elsewhere, they’re great people who’ve made me very welcome.” By Elaine Fisher


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Dairy awards reignites enthusiasm for industry It’s a long way from Durban, South Africa, and a career in IT to dairy farming in Rerewhakaaitu. A little serendipity brought about the dramatic change in life direction for the Dairy Industry Awards’ Central Plateau Farm Manager of the Year Robert Hartley. Currently managing an 865-cow farm for Rerewhakaaitu Farms Ltd, one of eight farms owned by TH Enterprises, Robert is thrilled to win the title. “This experience has refreshed me and opened my eyes to the skill involved. This competition has allowed me to not only put some value on my own ability and see what I’ve achieved, but also given me the drive to see what more I can do.” While Robert admits to having a few doubts during the years regarding his career-change, he now feels confident with both his choice and his ability.

Hard work

“On my first day dairy farming I slept in and missed the start of milking, and then couldn’t work out reverse on the quad bike,” says Robert, who laughs about the incident. But hard work and some excellent mentors and opportunities along the way have cemented his dairying career. “Today, I feel really passionate about this industry.” Leaving South Africa with visas for New Zealand, Canada and the UK, Robert arrived in Rotorua in 2001. Robert, who was enjoying Rotorua, had never utilised his other visas, and was working in an IT shop when he met a local farmer. The pair struck up a friendship and exchanged knowledge, with Robert teaching him about computing and gaining some valuable experience relief milking for him. “One day I just thought ‘I’m going to give dairying a go’,” says Robert, who had no prior experience. Growing up in Durban, Robert spent weekends at his grandparent’s and uncle’s farms out of town. Between them he’d enjoyed some exposure to cattle, cropping and sugar cane farming, but cows were a “complete unknown”. In 2004 Robert took on his first role, as a herd manager on a 450-cow winter milking farm for Andrew and Lois Emslie in Takapau, Hawke’s Bay.


“I didn’t really have a clue what I’d gotten myself into,” says Robert, who still cringes at the thought of his first day. “I was absolutely green, going from knowing pretty much nothing.” Having never even come across an ATV in South Africa, Robert admits the learning curve was steep, but he’s grateful for the encouragement and support he received in the role. “In my view that job gave me lots of experience and exposure – Andrew was really driven, and I think a lot of the drive I have today has come from him.” In 2006 Robert returned to the Rotorua district, contract milking 300 cows in Reporoa for the late Dave Johnston and his wife Ann. “Dave was a really calm, collected person and really supportive too, he influenced me a lot,” says Robert. After a year back in South Africa in 2007, Robert returned to a prearranged contract milking role in Rerewhakaaitu, about 30 minutes south of Rotorua. Robert spent two years on a 500-cow farm for Trevor and Harriet Hamilton, before changing farms in 2010 to manage the Hamilton’s 865-cow property.

ment Award. He’s also thrilled to see his 2IC Sam Travis secure the runner-up position in the Farm Trainee category. Robert also enjoys a great relationship with the farm owners, with Trevor encouraging him to enter the awards and providing support every step of the way. Further merit awards gained included the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Leadership Award, The Vet Club Best Livestock Award and the RD1 Farm Management Award. Although Robert says what he does is “just industry standard”, the judges were impressed. With 80ha of the property classified as steep contour, the farm is managed somewhat differently to a conventional dairy block. “Trevor and Harriet have wider company policies pertinent to things such as supplementary feed and residuals, but this farm, with the hill aspect; we’ve had to change our strategy a bit with regard to things such as feeding out, calving and pasture control,” says Robert. “The contour has led to us developing pretty comprehensive health and safety plans too.“We’ve also spent a great deal

of time changing fencing structures, to give us more control.”


An additional project included extending the effluent irrigator. “Being so close to the lake, we’ve put a lot of focus on getting our effluent system right – this season we’ve extended our spreader an additional 20ha to irrigate further away,” say Trevor. “We’re trying to have some foresight into managing the effluent system effectively and responsibly.” After last season’s drought, Robert is thrilled to be enjoying a great season. “We’ve had an exceptional season in terms of grass growth and are on target to produce in excess of 340,000 kg/ms. Robert and Ilse are looking forward to new ones next season, with the family set to move to a new 1000-cow farm situated between Greytown and Martinborough in the Wairarapa, where they’ll be contract milking. “We’re really looking forward to it,” says Robert. “The farm has a lot of potential and I am keen to really apply myself and reap the benefits.” By Jo Roberts


His prior experience set him up well for challenges of this new farm. “It was great to have the opportunity to test my skills with a larger herd,” says Robert, who set himself the objectives of improving overall farm performance, employing a great team of quality staff, and continuing to meet environmental compliance. This also had to work alongside his vision of raising healthy, happy children with his partner Ilse Pretorius. Between them they have four: Michael, 10, Alex, eight, Jayden, six, and Niysa, five. With Ilse working as the farm’s relief milker, the couple also employ an au pair, Nicole Wieczorek, from Germany. Robert’s skill in balancing family life and managing staff – he has a team of four – is reflected in him scooping the Primary ITO Human Resource Manage-






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The 60-year-old David Brown baler, owned by Arthur Saville, may be the oldest still in use in the country.

Age not an issue for baler The horses on the Saville farm will be enjoying hay made by a 60-year-old baler this winter. The David Brown baler was bought by Katikati’s Arthur Saville 43 years ago for $100 – and he reckons it doesn’t owe him a cent. “It’s been used almost every season since then because it make bales which are ideal for feeding to horses. “All I do is take it out of the shed, give it a grease and it’s away,” says Arthur, who says his father Fred bought the same model back in the early-1950s. “Dad was going to buy a New Holland but was told David Brown was bringing out a new model, so he waited for it to arrive. They sent the designer out from England, who showed me how to operate it and how to make any repairs. I ended up servicing others in the district,” says Arthur, who was living in the Morrinsville area at the time. “I’ve still got Dad’s old baler, but it needs doing up.” Arthur likes the David Brown baler, which he believes may be oldest model still in use, because it’s well-made and simple to operate. “It can be driven by a Ferguson 35 or a David Brown 90, tractors with 35 to 45 horse power. The mechanism is simple and effective.” The baler is 12 foot wide when ready to operate,

but the hay shoot folds back to allow ease of access through gateways, and for storage. In March, towed by a David Brown tractor, the baler made 80 bales of hay from two small paddocks at Tuapiro – and never missed a beat. “Everything is mechanical. It’s a bit like a sewing machine, you can hear when it’s not running right and it’s easy to make the adjustments needed.” Arthur is now teaching his son Graeme to operate the baler. “If it’s looked after, it will go on for many, many more years,” says Arthur. Arthur no longer lives on the family dairy farm near Katikati, but visits most days. He and his extended family are well-known for the Christian camps they run, based around horse riding and farm life. “We have about 54 horses of our own and now the grandchildren of teenagers who came on our early camps are coming here, which we love to see. “Too many children don’t get to experience farm life and don’t know hay is made from grass, or that milk comes from cows,” says Arthur. If you have an old piece of farm machinery, or farm vehicle still in use, we’d love to hear from you. Email a photo and information about the machinery to with ‘Farm machinery’ in the subject line, or post to Elaine Fisher, Coast & Country, By Elaine Fisher PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110.


Cutting edge alchemy for car springs Lloyd Franklin turns old car springs into knives – and if that sounds like some form of alchemy – in a way it is. For 27 years he’s been using the ancient techniques of a blade smith, heating, cooling and hammering, to transform modern steel spirals, not into gold, but into razor sharp knives. “Car springs are made from modern high tech steel, which is freely available and can be heated and shaped using traditional methods,” says Lloyd, who makes and sells knives from his roadside workshop at Kuaotunu near Whitianga. “We’re full of clichés round here – like making a silk purse from a sow’s ear – keeping the nose to the grind stone – and striking while the iron’s hot – but they are all true of this business. “People like the fact I’m recycling steel and many of my sales are prompted because of that fact.” Lloyd was a cabinet maker before he taught himself to forge knives. “Teaching yourself means you don’t learn anyone else’s bad habit; and you’re not limited by their tech-

niques either.” While the steel source is modern, almost everything else about Lloyd’s knife making is traditional. He burns West Coast coal in his forge, heating it until impurities are burned off and it becomes coke, so achieving temperatures sufficient to heat the steel to a point where it’s malleable. “I work with the extruded grain of the steel, working in the round to draw out and build a spike, and then draw the blade out of the spike. The rounded edge of the rod forms the top and cutting edge of the knife.” While some smiths work up to white-hot steel, Lloyd doesn’t need to achieve those temperatures. “As the knife gets closer to being finished, I work within the lower heat range but initially start at orange working down through the red and finishing at dull red.” He uses five different hammers to shape the blades on an anvil, alternatively and repetitively putting corrugations in the steel and

smoothing it out, working with the grain to achieve the shape he wants. A series of accidents – not in the workshop – have left Lloyd with a number of injuries, including one to his shoulder. “I was supposed to have surgery but was told if I did, I’d never forge again; and if I can’t make knives, how do I make a living?” So he puts up with the pain and continues to hammer out knives for chefs, for carving; for filleting fish; and for hunting. Some have silver and pounamu (greenstone) handles. Whale bone, beef bone and deer antler are also used. “Fifty per cent of my work goes overseas. That’s one of the reasons I decided to make knives, because they are small enough to fly around the world,” says Lloyd, who not only delights tourists and locals alike with his craftsmanship, but also his ready wit. “I’ll never make my fortune in this job but I find myself continually socially entertained by the people who visit me. They often thank me when they leave, because they’ve had a good laugh, and so have I.”

Pictured: From an old car spring to a high quality knife – the craft of Lloyd Franklin. Photo by Brian Rogers.


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Shared roles aim

Thomas Blackett and Stacey Lepper and their sons Jude, four, Willem, three, and Theo, one, have found dairy farming offers the ideal blend of family life and career.

With three boys under the age of five, Stacey Lepper and Thomas Blackett are pretty busy – but increasingly they’re sharing both farming and parenting roles. “The plan is for me to catch up to where Thomas is with his farming qualifications and knowledge, so we can share more fully in both family and the farming business,” says 27-year-old Stacey. It’s a formula which works. The couple, who won the NZ Dairy Industry 2014 Bay of Plenty Farm Manager of the Year Award, have a strong partnership focus on parenting and their farming careers – but it wasn’t the paths they initially planned.




Thomas, 28, son of Rob and Mary Blackett of Te Puke, left school to complete an engineering degree and went to work as a design engineer for Fisher & Paykel in Dunedin. Stacey, who also attended college in Te Puke, is the daughter of David and Maria Lepper, now sharemilking on the East Coast. She completed a bachelor of science in animal sciences and worked for the Poultry Industry Association and later as a lab technician for AgResearch in Dunedin. When Jude was born in 2009, the couple re-assessed their lives and decided farming would give them the flexibility to combine a happy family life with a sound career path. “We love the lifestyle. Nearly every day we sit down together with the boys for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We can also inter-change our roles. I’m just as likely to be out doing tractor work while Thomas is with the boys. It’s great,” says Stacey. Jude, age four, and brothers Willem, three, and Theo, one, are thriving on the close relationship they have with both parents and their outdoor lifestyle. Since the couple went farming, Thomas has concentrated on learning as much as he can about the industry and business, attending courses and field days, gaining qualifications. “Now the time’s coming when Stacey can do the same.” “We want to reach a point where our roles are completely interchangeable and either one of us can run the business, or the home.” Currently they contract-milk 409 cows

for 2GR Ltd, a sharemilking company comprised of three of Clark brothers, on 187 hectares (on 180ha effective) owned by Malcolm Clark. The contour is steep to rolling to flat on the farm at Nukuhou North, near Whakatane, and the soil ranges from kaharoa ash to peat. Being close to the hills, the farm generally enjoys good rainfall. Thomas and Stacey are assisted by Josh Hedley in managing the farm and milking in the 30-aside herringbone shed. “Josh is a fantastic young farmer and we’re very lucky to have him work for us,” says Thomas. “We feel our employees are the biggest asset of our business and we treat them as valued contributors.” “We also communicate clearly and effectively with the farm’s shareholders to ensure we are all on the same page with how the farm is going, and the future aims and goals for the farm.” The outside skills the couple bring to farming are proving very useful. Stacey has a strong understanding of animal health – and Thomas hasn’t lost the art of looking at problems with an engineer’s eye. “Wash-down time in the shed is ideal for figuring out new solutions.” Thomas and Stacey know their future lies in dairy farming, but not necessarily farm ownership. “We want to have $1.5 million in equity by the time we’re 50.” Herd ownership and sharemilking are realistic pathways to achieving that goal – and educating their three sons, they say. By Elaine Fisher


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Big bull unfazed by attention of 101 fans them shelter from sun or rain. “They tend to graze from first light and then at about 9am head for the shade and shelter of the bush, coming out to feed again at about 6pm.” Their ability to do well on rougher pasture is a bonus in dry years, says Dean. The farm has several pockets of native bush, including stands of mature kauri, rimu and totara. The Hansen family takes pride in the property also being home to native birds, including wood pigeon, kaka and morepork. Shags are often seen too, feeding on the kura (fresh water crayfish) in the streams.

The arrival of 101 members of the hereford ‘fan club’ registered little more than a passing interest from Koanui Boulder, the one tonne bull in a small enclosure at Hukaroa Station. And it’s testament to the stud bull’s temperament he tolerated the attention of the two bus-loads of people, hosted by Dean and Lisa Hansen as part of the 2014 National Hereford Herd Tour. The visitors, however, were impressed with Koanui Boulder and other herefords on display. Hukaroa is one of 14 Hereford stud farms visited by those taking part in the Gallagher Coast to Coast National Hereford Herd Tour, organised by the South Auckland Hereford Club. “Hereford breeders from all over the country were on the tour and the feedback we’ve had from them and the sponsors is it was one of the best organised and friendliest tours they’ve been on,” says Noel Smith, one of the organisers. Noel, who with wife Betsy owns Newcastle Stud near Ngaruawahia, says participation in the tour is testament to the enduring popularity of the Hereford breed. Herefords are a hardy breed able to withstand tough conditions, as evidenced by the way they’re coping with this summer’s dry in the Waikato. “In the snow storms of 1995 in the South Island high country, hereford also came through better than other breeds,” says Noel. Temperament is another important factor and its one Hukaroa Station ranks highly. The fact guests were able to walk freely among young bulls, cows and calves – and even enter pens of Koanui Boulder and other stud bull Hukaroa Jaggar without the animals panicking or showing signs of aggression –to evidence of the success of the Hansen family’s breeding programme. Both Dean and Lisa work closely with their animals and their well set-up yards are designed for handling stock and showcasing them during the stud’s annual bull sale in September. Every year about 80 two-year-old and yearling bulls are sold to beef and dairy farmers, many who are repeat clients. “Our bulls are sold to all regions of the country and they are renowned for their ability to shift, breed and work well,” says Lisa. “We regularly support the National Beef Expo Sale, both as purchasers and vendors. In 2012 our entry in

Dean and Lisa Hansen work closely with the Hereford animals they breed at Hukaroa Stud.

the North Island Super Sires Group ‘Hukaroa Item’ was placed first in his class, and purchased for stud duties, topping the sale at $28,000.” The family aims to continue increasing the stud herd to just a little more than 200 cows, to market and supply the demand for hereford bulls. “This is not a quick task, as our mantra is to never compromise quality for quantity. We are passionate about hereford cattle – and it’s important to us to like the type of herefords we breed here at Hukaroa, so we are constantly mindful of maintaining a sound base to achieve this.” It was Dean’s parents Peter and Glennis who established the stud in 1968 in Ardmore, South Auckland, where they still reside. The stud, and Dean and Lisa, moved to Waerenga near Te Kauwhata 22 years ago, where the operation continues. The 520 hectare farm is in the Hapuakohe Range – and Dean and Lisa describe it as very strong hill country, “which is a great test of the durability and constitution of our stock”. Dean says even big bulls handle the steep terrain well and appear to enjoy the contour, which affords

The property ranges from 60 metres to just more than 400 metres above sea level, with magnificent views from its highest point overlooking the Firth of Thames, the Coromandel Ranges, Mount Te Aroha, Mount Pirongia and Hunua Ranges. “It gets pretty cold in winter and we often have sleet. In the 22 years we’ve been here it’s snowed four times, but the snow didn’t last,” says Dean. Hukaroa also grazes about 2000 Romney-Coopworth, mainly to keep the pastures weed-free. “There’s no money in their wool anyBy Elaine Fisher more,” says Dean.

Page 10


Maimai wish comes true for Linda As a teenager in the 1970s, Linda Lees was fascinated by the maimai in the Maungatapu Estuary. “Back then you could see heaps of maimai when you travelled between Tauranga and the Mount – and I used to think it would be a neat experience to be out there at duck shooting time,” says Linda. Decades later, and thanks to friend Rodger McDowell, Linda is to do just that. “I happened to mention to Rodger that I’d love to learn to shoot a gun, and to go duck shooting, and I was thrilled when Rodger said he’d give me the opportunity,” says the Tauranga Bayleys residential real estate agent. But Rodger, who Linda describes as a hunter-gatherer from way back, made one stipulation. First, Linda had to learn to handle and fire a gun safely. “I thought the best thing to do was take Linda to Loaded NZ in Pyes Pa, where she could learn in a safe environment.” At Loaded NZ, New Zealand’s largest shooting field, Linda was instructed by Kade Wurster. “I can’t speak highly enough of the professionalism of Kade and everyone at Loaded NZ and the time Kade took to coach Linda,” says Rodger. “She is naturally left-handed but he assessed that her right eye is dominant,

so had her shooting comfortably and accurately with her right hand.” Linda is also impressed with the tuition she received. “I had to listen and concentrate hard; but found if I did exactly as Kade told me to, I could hit the clay birds.” Several of Linda’s friends have now expressed an interest in learning to shoot, but Rodger says Linda will be the first to accompany him duck shooting this season. “I’m pleased to see women taking an interest in the sport and I’ve always been keen to encourage others to take part,” says Rodger. “I was given the opportunity as a youngster – and that got me interested in hunting – so I’m keen to pass that on.” Linda is excited at the prospect of opening morning in a maimai. “I don’t even mind if I don’t get a shot. I think I’m privileged Rodger has even invited me to be there.” By Elaine Fisher

Kade Wurster of Loaded NZ taught Linda Lees to handle and shoot a firearm safely, in preparation for her first-ever duck shooting experience.

A hunting path to manhood Adventure is what most imaginative young boys long for – and back in 1969 there wasn’t much to stop those with an inclination to go to sea in home-made boats, or spend school holidays trapping possums (and the occasional pet cat), from doing just that. It was part of the growing up Phil Walsh enjoyed, endured and survived, inspired by his older brother Desi, who led him into a number of doggy situations, and excitement, on the way to manhood. It’s also a “growing up” few children and teens experience today, in a world which has become overanxious about safety and scared of

giving too much “freedom” to youngsters. Phil recounts those boyhood and young manhood experiences from another era in his book ‘Fur, Fish and Phantom Reds’, illustrated by his 17-year-old daughter Shevaun, whose accurate and appealing line drawings, based on photographs, enhance the text. Phil writes with an easy and engaging style, which quickly draws the reader into his world of possums, eels, fish large and small, ducks and deer; and most of all, the great outdoors. Thanks to publishers Halcyon Press, Coast & Country has a copy of ‘Fur, Fish and Phantom Reds’ to give away.

‘Fur, Fish and Phantom Reds’ is the Coast & Country book prizes for April

To be in to win, email your name and address, with Book Prize as the subject, to: Or put these details on the back of an envelope and post to: Coast & Country Book Prize, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110, to arrive no later than May 17. The winner will be announced in Coast & Country’s June issue.


Page 11

Katikati shorthorn sale Morton Shorthorns of Katikati holds its first bull and heifer sale on the family farm in decades this month. Craig Morton says buyers from throughout the country are expected to attend the sale, which is the first the family has hosted since dairy shorthorns were sold at the

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Cows are responsible for more injuries to farmers than bulls, and their offspring will potentially inherit their temperament, says Tracey Neal of Potawa Simmentals, Piopio. The Simmental Breed Society has acknowledged the issue of poor temperament in beef cattle breeds, including their own, and has taken the initiative to introduce temperament tests for the benefit of their stud breeders and clients, says Tracey. “All Simmental stud breeders have been encouraged by the Simmental Herd Society to submit calf docility scores of one to five, with one being extremely docile, based on either of two tests. “At Potawa Simmentals, we are performing both tests, with crush testing for weaners, followed by yard testing with 18-month-old cattle,” says Tracey. “This is giving us a very good indication of any animals which may exhibit less than perfect temperament – and it is our policy to cull both females and males which do. ”While it is early days, the results are already showing the differences in some family lines that we have in our herd, and confirming our observations of our cattle’s behaviour.” Thanks to the tests both commercial and stud breeders will be able to make more informed decisions about temperament of the animal they’re buying. As more animals are scored and the information analysed by BREEDPLAN, the beef recording system which produces Estimated Breed Values, the accuracy

Morton Rd farm in 1948. “After selling at the national sale in Palmerston North almost every year since 1975, we’ve decided to have our own on-farm sale,” says Craig. Twenty-two animals will be auctioned from 1pm Thursday, May 22.

of the information will also increase. “All cattle farmers should be trying to utilise the tests to assess the temperament of their own cattle, and act on the information by culling animals which score badly,” says Tracey. “To avoid breeding a herd of nervous, flighty and potentially aggressive animals, it would make sense to cull those heifers as 18-month animals, rather than breed from them.” The other emphasis should be on purchasing of replacement animals. “While it isn’t possible to docility test cattle at a sale yard, it is practical to consider the behaviour of a pen of animals awaiting sale, with many differences being observed simply by walking around prior to a sale; especially at weaner fairs. “The same observation can be applied to replacement cows being purchased, especially if you are buying them ‘in the paddock’.” Tracey says the in-paddock sale gives buyers opportunity to walk through the yards and even single an animal out for a ‘yard test’ if preferred. “For breeders, selection of a bull for quiet temperament before any other factor is paramount. “At Potawa Simmentals, Piopio, we pride ourselves on the availability of our sale bulls for anyone to inspect ‘up close and personal’, and always have a large selection of yearling bulls close by the sale venue for inspection. “We also have a policy of open invitation to anyone wanting to view any of the herd at any time of the year, and we’re happy to discuss and demonstrate the docility test to anyone wanting further information.” Potawa Simmentals is holding its 13th Annual Bull Sale at Wilson Rd, Piopio on May 27, 2014.




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Page 12

It’s hands-on for Rotorua contractor Whenever a new tractor or implement arrives in the Paul Gee Contracting yard near Ngongotaha, it’s the boss who takes it for the first spin.




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down-time to a minimum. Paul says he wouldn’t buy machinery which didn’t give him a good run. “Reliable machinery is vital in contracting. You can’t afford breakdowns which hold up work,” His staff know it’s not that Paul wants all says Paul, who has among his clithe pleasure of the first drive – well he does ents some of the district’s biggest a bit – it’s more about him wanting to fully Maori trust farms. understand the machines capabilities and The size of these properties limitations. means Paul and his team clock up That way Paul makes sure he doesn’t ask some impressive figures during too much of machinery, or men, when the harvest. Last year they cut silage equipment is put to work. from 1800ha. Understanding and driving machines, and This season, the new CLAAS taking a hands-on approach, is very much Rollant 455 Uniwrap machine, Paul’s style of business, and he’s had plenty which Paul bought in November, of experience. is driven by a CLAAS Arion 640 Paul grew up around farming in tractor and has made more than Kawakawa, has been a sharemilker, and 6000 bales. owned a trucking business in Rotorua “It bales and wraps all in one Paul and Josie Gee run their agricultural before he and wife Josie began an agriculmachine and we had a perfect contracting business from the lifestyle block tural contracting business 20 years ago, run with it. With just one tractor they own in Dalbeth Rd. which is based at the lifestyle block they driver, who can then pick up and has two fertiliser spreaders and machinown in Dalbeth Rd. stack the bales, it saves both time ery to spread dairy shed effluent. During and machinery.’’ winter Paul often hires a digger to carry out Service This season Paul’s CLAAS 2100 square earthmoving, including forming or mainDuring the years, Paul’s owned a number baler and his CLAAS round baler made taining races. of different brands of tractor – but he’s now about 8000 bales between them. Most of his clients are in what Paul a committed fan of the German CLAAS describes as the Rotorua basin; and it’s machines. Digger an area he knows well, with 20 years of “Today, 90 per cent of my tractors and Paul has a permanent staff of four and understanding of its weather patterns and machinery is CLAAS. They are very reliemploys an additional four drivers during soil-type. This knowledge means he’s able to able, fuel efficient and the service back-up the season’s peak. Most of the company’s advise clients on best times to cultivate and we get from the CLAAS boys is excellent,” work is involved in pasture renovation, harvest. But Paul also works closely with says Paul. cropping and harvesting. However, it also consultants, advising He owns eight CLAAS managers of the Maori tractors and two JCB trusts. Telescopic loaders, all “We also look after coming from CLAAS lifestyle blocks, especially Harvest Centre Bay of if we can work for several Plenty, in Rotorua. Paul owners in one road, as likes the CLAAS gear and it makes it economical says if there are any probfor us. Many contractors lems, one of the service find making hay, silage or technicians from CLAAS doing pasture renewal on Harvest Centre is on the smaller blocks isn’t worth scene in a flash, keeping it, but these people need the service and we provide it when we can.” In addition to the five hectare lifestyle block, which is both home and depot for the Contracting!Ltd!! contracting business, Paul also leases more than 121ha of mainly neighbouring farmland !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! for running cattle, calves and dairy grazers. Paul Gee is a committed fan of the German CLAAS machines.




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Classic riders’ roadie Tauranga Classic Motorcycle Club member Allan ‘Wattie’ Watson (foreground) at Matahina Dam with other members of a recent road trip. Photo by Elaine Fisher.

Have bike, will travel – it could be the motto of the Tauranga Classic Motorcycle Club. “It’s just a great excuse to get out on the old bikes and rediscover places in your backyard,” says Allan ‘Wattie’ Watson, about his club’s monthly weekday run he organises, taking them off the beaten track around Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Coromandel. “There’s a group of us who just meet up and head off with a general plan,” says Allan, who is usually the only member riding a ‘true’ old classic. Coast and Country caught up with the group on a recent trip to the Eastern Bay of Plenty, where they’d stopped at Matahina Dam on a typical 250km ride. Explaining what they were doing, Allan says it is just a group of guys reliving their youth. “Pretty much all of us rode back when we were young; that was just the way it was. So these days we just like getting out and having a bit of fun.” “We’re in no mad hurry – we just head off to a prearranged point and they are usually just taking off their

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helmets when I arrive,” says Allan, who refers to the slightly slower pace – about 80-90km/h – of his restored 500cc 1949 Ariel twin, compared to later model bikes. It is one of two Ariels he owns. He also has a 1948 model in its original condition “that looks like it needs a paint job”. “I think it looks great and it doesn’t stop it going well,” says Allan, who owned a BSA Bantam and a Francis Barnett he raced on club grass track events during his younger days. “But that’s nothing compared to some of the racing others members have done,” says Allan, who says the club’s active riders are aged up to 85, like Lloyd Baker. The club, which also holds monthly weekend rides, will host the national classic motorcycle rally in November when at least 100 riders and bikes from around the country will join them for a celebration of the classics at Waihi Beach. Bikes must be 25 years old to be classics. For club details, go to By Hamish Carter

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Ambiente StrongKUGA season finish All fired up to make his mark in the national motocross season, it looked like it was almost over just as it began for Tauranga’s Ryan Metz. From finishing eighth in the first Timaru race on February 8, an accident in the second race saw him fail to complete the last two races, and end sitting 16th out of about 30. But strong results in the following rounds saw him recently finish the season just off the podium. “I wasn’t even thinking about making the top 10 for the series,” says Ryan, 22, who got serious about his motocross last season after a few years off “just to do teenage things”. “But then I started hanging out with the motocross guys and I got back into it,” says Ryan, who completed some national series rounds for the first time last year. After a poor start in Timaru, his season picked up dramatically at the second round in the four-round series inRSP Tokoroa from last month, where a focus on smooth riding helped RSPhim from finish third overall for the day, with two fourths and a third placing. The 22-year-old Tauranga apprentice engineer finished the New Zealand Motocross Championships season in Taupo with a broad grin, claiming fourth place for the 125cc class for the season and final round. “I’m pretty stoked with that. I got a bit lucky with some of the other guys having problems and crashing out, but that is the way it goes in motocross.” Among those who’ve had their share of crashes and problems this season is Te Puke’s Logan Blackburn, experiencing a patchy season that only got

worse in the final round, with a crash breaking his collarbone at the start of the second race. Logan finished third with 190 points. The class was won by Hamilton’s Josiah Natze, who racked up 289 points, with runner-up Hadleigh Knight of Atiamuri earning 215 points. Tauranga’s Aaron Wiltshier also finished the 125cc class strongly, as the second best performer for the Taupo round with a fourth and two second placings. His great performance helped him claim sixth place overall for the season with 144 points, only two points behind Ryan’s riding mate Beau Yeandle from Morrinsville. Ryan, who collected 158 points for the season, attributes his success to focussed work on his fitness and regular training on the bike with Beau, which helped him perform strongly and consistently. While he jokes about being the “old bugger” of the class, with many competitors in their teens, Ryan would love to step it up again next season. +ORC * “I’m going to take a bit of a +ORC * break from riding over the next months, but I’ll definitely be back again next season to give it another good go. Maybe I’ll move up to MX2 [the 250cc class], I haven’t decided yet.” Ryan, who rides his Yamaha with the support of family firm Metz Engineering and Bayride Motorcycles, downplays his long-term motocross prospects saying it is a bit harder to balance riding with full-time work. Meanwhile, Mount Maunganui’s Cody Cooper retained the MX1 crown he reclaimed last year. The top rider, who retired from a successful international career last year, dominated the four-round series winning nine of 12 races. By Hamish Carter

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Page 16

Powered by rainfall It’s possible that a rural family could fuel this vehicle for not much more than it costs to power the farm’s electric fences. By Brian Rogers

The Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid plug-in SUV is a serious piece of witchcraft. A smooth, powerful (when you need it), economic, mid-size family vehicle that runs for about 50km on a charge from a three-pin plug. After that, an efficient petrol-powered generator kicks in, to give you extra range. It has an electric motor driving the front wheels and another on demand to drive the rear – giving high torque four wheel drive performance. The concept of having a ‘normal’ car but with the advantage of being able to do most of your running on cheap electricity – while still retaining the benefits of petrol power when needed – holds plenty of appeal. It differs from the other hybrids, in that this is the first to charge off mains power, as well as its own on-board generation. Yes there are some serious questions about electric hybrids. What is the lifespan of those big batteries? Are they as sustainable or economic to produce and replace? What about the planetary cost of their production and disposal? Are we kidding ourselves that we’re saving the earth, while in fact the big battery concept is a false economy? How will those

electric motors stand the test of time? Well according to the good people at Mitsubishi, this system has the balance just right. Unlike other hybrids, the batteries are lithium ion, for better lifespan and less memory effect. The PHEV doesn’t pretend to be a fully electric, it’s a true hybrid that can cross back to the dark side and burn a bit of fossil fuel, when there’s demand. Put simply, you plug it into a power-point in the shed overnight, do most of your day-to-day running on cheap and sustainable electric power (a dollar or two), and the petrol only sneaks in occasionally for extra grunt, or on a longer trip. Battery gets low? The car automatically and indiscernibly starts the two-litre petrol engine, essentially a generator, when it needs to. Or, you can dictate how and when it charges, or saves; or a combo of both. It is very, very clever. And very, very easy to use.

There’s so much to this car, it’s a challenge to explain it all in one page. But it’s the sort of technology you can delve right into every little aspect, or simply jump in and drive. The car is clever enough to figure it all out, if you can’t be bothered.

Switched on

It’s a bit disconcerting, when first pulling away in a car that makes no engine sound. It’s as if the handbrake has been let off and it’s rolling away. Hmm. The weirdness soon gives way to satisfaction. “Hey, we’re trucking along here, using no gas. Cool.”

The clever bits

So in no particular order, here is a selection of the witchcraft I enjoyed experimenting with. The ‘save’ and ‘charge’ buttons. A simple push of the save button keeps your battery

The dashboard tells everything about the state of the power source and drive systems. charged and the vehicle uses the petrol engine to generate power to feed the electric motors. The ‘charge’ mode means the petrol engine (when it needs to), starts seamlessly and runs, to power the car along as well as top up the battery. Gravity also plays a part in charging the battery. You can get as carried away as you like with this nifty system. A couple of paddle controls on each side of the steering wheel allow the driver to instantly tap into downhill momentum, to put charge back to the battery. You can select five stages of braking charge level, simply with the flick of a paddle, or cancel it all together. The dash read-outs show you when the vehicle is pumping juice back into the battery. The battery can be charged from a standard household power outlet. You don’t need special charging stations. Any old three-pin plug will do. We heard of one new hybrid owner who has negotiated with his electricity supplier to allow connection into the night store feed, so his Outlander charges overnight on even cheaper rates. On a full battery, the Outlander will run for about 50km without little or no petrol input. Beyond that, it will use the petrol engine to send current to the drive motors and top up the battery. So on a typical day – depending on how far out in the sticks you live – you could drive from the farm to town, purely on an overnight charge of power. Virtually no petrol used at all. We commuted from Te Puna to town and back for a couple of days and the Outlander easily made the return trip on battery alone, only using the petrol engine when I floored the pedal on a couple of occasions, such as merging onto expressways and the odd hill. Otherwise it glided along, silently, on its battery power. Of course on a longer trip you’d dip into the gas tank, but still less than the average vehicle because the hybrid uses energy recovery systems, such as the braking charge, to regenerate the reserves.


Page 17

‘Magic’ answer to fuel prices I mention silent? No emissions, great visibility when parking and excellent aids with the camera and proximity alarms. The ride is exceptionally smooth. The vehicle feels very well grounded and handles with surety. No doubt helped by the 200kg of lithium ion batteries stashed low and central. This low down ballast actually improves the handling over the standard Outlander.

Quick off the blocks

The battery is being topped up when power demand is low; ready to chip in with extra boost when demand requires it.

Unleash the electrons

There are some stunning benefits of electric drive most people don’t even consider, until you get behind the wheel. For starters, electric is smooth, torquey power. There are no gear changes. Plus the delivery of power is instant. There’s no lag for an intercooler to kick in, or that moment of hesitation while combustible gasses are doing their thing, resulting in a slight delay in action. And noticeably, it’s consistent torque. No power bands or surges. Electric power is silent. So silent Mitsubishi had to manufacture a ‘noise’ for safety reasons, so the Outlander didn’t take anyone by surprise. It sounds a bit like a small vacuum cleaner from the outside, up to about 35km, just as a precaution to pedestrians and others who may rely on hearing approaching vehicles. Around town the Outlander is easy going, and did

Don’t be fooled into thinking electric equals slow. We did a quick and dirty 0-100km/h time test and found the Outlander nailed it in about 9.5 seconds, about the same as the standard two litre petrol-only model. Not bad for a two litre engine generating power to feed electric drive engines. And good to know that if you need a quick squirt for overtaking; it’s got legs – at least as good as any other standard petrol SUV in its class. Out on the highway the Outlander footed it well, even on some heavy duty hills. Running up the Kaimai Ranges was effortless, and the petrol engine contributed from time to time. Not that you’d know it, but the dash read-outs provide all the answers to the curious. Aside from the electric wizardry, the Outlander is a delight to drive, in its own right. It would be easy to get so carried away with the whizz-bang new plug-in aspects, and not acknowledge the quality interior and features, the great ride, visibility, and the individual features that make a comprehensive package – such as big screen backing camera, built-in GPS, Bluetooth, full-length roof rails, and smart rain sensor wipers. The rear tailgate is powered open and closed with a button on the key fob. This is a very handy feature. While experimenting in the driveway, there was one very puzzled dog watching, with head cocked to one side. She looked at me, looked at the car in complete amazement. “Witchcraft,” I explained. A couple of things to note: There’s no spare wheel, due to the underfloor space being taken up with batteries. Instead, the Outlander is supplied with emergency inflation kits. It has a low tow rating of 750kg braked. Apparently NZ is the only country to have dished out this low rating to the Outlander. Go figure. That is likely to change, I suspect, once the electric drive has proven itself.

Overall, this is a totally clever answer to rising fuel prices, worry about emissions, and the plight of homeless polar bears; yet it doesn’t skimp on the performance of a capable SUV. On top of that, it’s high spec, a pleasure to drive and can cross over to 4WD with the push of a button. Around town, you could run this on as little as $1.50 of renewable energy a day. Quite feasibly you could drive this every day to town and back, to work or golf, and you’ll be driving an electric car all day. Demand more of it – a trip out of town, towing or pushing it hard – and it morphs back to essentially a garden-variety, petrol-powered SUV, albeit much cleverer behind the scenes.

The XLS prices at $59,990, but the VRX is where things get exciting at $66,990. It brims with gear – satnav, forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, power tailgate, heated front leather seats and the full PHEV colour display screens – plus the remote app that’s available for iOS and Android phones. The night before I had to return the Outlander, I lay in bed listening to the rain on the roof, imagining those streams flowing into the Kaimai hydro lakes (those big batteries in the hills) and thinking; “here comes my cheap, green fuel”. It’s exciting, not just for the electrons. The Outlander hybrid plug-in has left me totally amped. By Brian Rogers

Page 18



Page 19

Winner of 2013 Fieldays’ Rural Bachelor of the Year, Simon Washer from Taranaki (centre) with other contestants in the event.

Quest for golden gumboot The opportunity of a lifetime, and a prize pool of more than $20,000, is open to a Kiwi or Aussie rural bloke – as long as they are single. The search is on for the 2014 Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year – described as a good rural bloke who can drive a digger, reverse a trailer, chainsaw a tree and still manage to rustle up a roast dinner. Competition organisers are on the lookout for hard working, rural guys who are happy to represent their farming community while giving the watching world a fantastic demonstration of smarts, strength and skills. The eight finalists, six Kiwis and two Aussies, selected for this highly popular competition will be treated to an all-inclusive trip to Fieldays. But, there’s a twist. They have to partake in a range of heats and challenges designed to test their ruralbased skills. And every action is eagerly anticipated and scrutinised by judges, and a wider audience keen to support their favourite bachelor. With all eyes on them, finalists should expect to receive a lot of female attention while competing at Fieldays. For any bachelors on a quest for love the event is a great opportunity to mingle and impress fans, both at Fieldays and at specific night functions, by doing their thing with plenty of understated charm. The competition once again has an ‘Amazing Race’ styled element with all finalists beginning the event at a mystery location two days prior to Fieldays, with a Kea campervan and the requirement to complete challenges en-route to Mystery Creek. Once at Fieldays the bachelors will have their skills, attitude and all-round charisma tested in competitive heats. While the specific requirements are kept under wraps until the event, organisers say they are largely agricultural based but will have a few fun twists thrown in to challenge the boys’ character. Competition is sure to be fierce at the week-long event and the bachelors will be thrust into the limelight as thousands of Fieldays visitors, and nationwide media, keep an eager eye on the action.

All finalists will be kitted out by Swanndri and Skellerup and will get the opportunity to visit Fieldays exhibitors, attend demonstrations and evening events including the Ag Art Wear ‘Designer in the Field’ Gala Dinner and awards show in Hamilton. With a prize pool of more than $20,000 up for grabs, the competition is a serious challenge, but also a load of fun and laughter for finalists and fans. The most important thing on everyone’s mind will be the battle between team mates for the coveted Golden Gumboot trophy and the title of 2014 Fieldays Rural Bachelor of the Year.




Page 20


Housing pays dividends in animal performance Calf housing is often a low priority on farms, or on new conversions being built, but neglecting this important part of a dairy farm business often leads to a range of pressures on calves, as well as on the person in charge of raising them, says Ernst Frei of FlexiTunnel. FlexiTunnel calf housing provides a warm and draft-free environment for successful calf rearing.

Proper calf housing or barns that provide a warm and draft-free environment with adequate ventilation and plenty of sunlight are one of the cornerstones of TM

successful calf rearing. But even today, it’s estimated between 75 per cent and 90 per cent of NZ farmers still use non-dedicated and woefully inadequate housing, like converted wool sheds, hay barns or implement sheds – and therefore risk not reaching potential of their future herds, says Ernst. Rearing heifers from birth through to their first lactation is a large financial cost in a dairy farm business. Current figures put the cost at close to $1500 for the average heifer raised in NZ. “The capital expense of a FlexiTunnel Calf Rearing Package – including the purpose-designed yards with pens – averages between $120 and $180 per calf space, depending on individual ‘stocking rates’ and the size of the tunnel,” says Ernst. “Assuming a conservative depreciation time of the facilities of 10 years, this indicates the additional cost of providing a dedicated calf-rearing facility to a calf-rearing operation would add as little as $15 per calf, or one per cent, to the overall cost of rearing a heifer through to calving.” Ernst says liveweight gains in calves reared in a FlexiTunnel can be up to 10kg higher at six weeks, compared to

animals reared in conventional sheds with the same fed inputs and under the same management. “Additional liveweight gains in the first most important few weeks of an animal’s life certainly go some way in reaching target weights at the two crucial points further down a heifer’s life; namely at mating – 60 per cent – and at calving – 90 per cent.” Evidence suggests the majority of the country’s replacement heifers fall short of reaching expected liveweight targets. The financial implications are rather far reaching; heifers that don’t reach the target produce less milk. A heifer that falls 20 per cent below the target weight is expected to produce 10 per cent less milk fat in her first lactation. This can equate to an average loss of about 35kg of milk solids or $175 at a $5 payout. “And this represents the loss for just her first productive year,” says Ernst. “On the other hand, heifers that reach the target weights not only produce more milk, they also have a better reproductive performance [fewer empties], a better calving pattern and remain longer in the herd.” To find out more, visit FlexiTunnel at site F12 at the Fieldays.

Garments are only just wearable Entries in this year’s Fieldays Ag Art Wear Awards are dramatic, stunning, innovative and only just wearable. Each year designers find yet more interesting ways to turn rural materials into garments. Some are elegant, others are entertaining, and some make a statement on behalf of the environment. The annual awards are one of the highlights of the Mystery Creek event and audiences are bound to be as impressed this year as they have in the past. Last year Joanne Bowe of Te Awamutu won the Avant Garde award for ‘Butchered’ – and her design ‘Barking Mad’ won the Designer Traditional category and the Supreme Award. Judge Hayley Fruish from Chaos & Harmony says ‘Barking Mad’, made largely from tree bark, was an instant ‘wow’ for the judges and deserved to take out the supreme title. “Barking Mad is the overall winner because it was an extremely well-composed garment. It showed intelligent design, creating a fashionconscience form out of natural material with great quality construction. “The edging showed great finishing and attention to detail. It was ‘Barking Mad’ designed a stand-out piece to all by Joanne Bowe. judges,” says Hayley.


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Tanks built to meet certified design specifications Mainline Sheetmetals Ltd’s Hamilton yard currently looks like a tank farm, filled with tanks ready to be dispatched throughout New Zealand by the company, which specialises in the manufacture of mild steel tanks for petrol and diesel.

“These units are roadworthy and provide our customers with the convenience of fuel on-site. We also manufacture containment bunds for stationary tanks, if required.” To complement the product range, Mainline also manufactures dog kennels in three sizes for farm or city dogs. “With dog control constantly in the news, it is reassuring to know your family pet or working dog is safely housed when you can’t be with them.” There are also hayracks for farmers and lifestylers and the very popular

mobile chook houses, big enough to keep enough chooks to supply a family with fresh eggs but not so big a tractor is needed to move it.

“Thank you to all of our customers. We value your business and we will look forward to seeing you at site G20 at Fieldays 2014,” says Trisha.

Mainline 400/900 “We are proud to be suplitre overhead tank. pliers of fuel storage tanks to many of the major fuel suppliers in New Zealand and pride ourselves on delivering quality products with outstanding service to all of our customers and we continue to have our ‘values set in steel’,” says company director Trisha King. “Environmental Protection Agency regulations surround many of our daily activities and maintaining compliance with the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act is important to us. “This ensures the Mainline tank you purchase will comply with the current regulations. Mainline Sheetmetals is an EPA-certified fabricator with all fuel tanks built to our certified design specifications.” The company’s range of tanks include overhead and on-ground tanks, ute and home heating tanks and larger tanks to 10,000 litres, both single and double skin. “For diesel, we manufacture trailer tanks from 700 to 1900 litres. “

Purchased versus home-made Six-year-old Annie returns home from school and says she had her first family planning lesson at school. Her mother, very interested, asks: “How did it go?” “I nearly died of shame!” answers Annie. “Sam, from over the road, says that the stork brings babies. Sally next door said you can buy babies at the orphanage. Pete in my class says you can buy babies at the hospital.” Her mother laughingly answers: “But that's no reason to be ashamed.” “No,” says Annie, “but I can’t tell them that we were so poor you and daddy had to make me yourselves!”

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Minerals to boost cow health Zeolites are inorganic, insoluble minerals consisting of a three dimensional framework of silicon, aluminium and oxygen atoms. Their structure resembles a rigid microscopic sponge that electrostatically attracts positive or polar atoms and molecules. There are about 200 synthetic, manmade and natural zeolites with different properties. Certain natural zeolites that possess particular structural characteristics and carry particular balance of cations are shown to significantly improve milk production and properties along with improving animal health and body condition score, particularly useful going into calving.

New Zealand has some of the best zeolites suited to rumen modification. NZ forage diets are typically high in protein. Consumed excess nitrogen in proteins is converted to ammonia in the rumen. Excess ammonia is toxic, and detoxification requires energy. Ruminants do their best to recycle excess ammonium, but do so inefficiently; and at the expense of health and productivity. Typical dairy cows will only utilise about 20 per cent of the nitrogen they consume. Five to 10 per cent is recycled by the animal and excreted in the saliva to be re-ingested. The rest has to be expelled from the body. Typically, more than 50 per cent is excreted in the soluble form of urea in the

Zeolotic sponge-like structure. urine, resulting in not only a significant drain on the animal’s energy, kidneys and liver, but also environmental pollution. Don’t waste energy, turn it into milk and visit to find out more about zeolite-based rumen modifiers. Also visit the Optimate stand at Fieldays, PC28. (Supplied by Optimate).

Winners find fame and fortune The highly regarded Fieldays Innovation Competition is back after another groundbreaking year which saw previous entrants find fame and fortune.

The competition celebrates New Zealand ingenuity by showcasing the latest innovations, backyard inventions and commercial improvements to thousands of Fieldays visitors. In 2013 the competition had 75 entrants, with many taking the opportunity to enter and pitch to investors in the inaugural Fieldays Innovation Den, powered by SODA Inc. Winning innovators included: • Patrick Roskam who, at age 12, won several awards for his Gudgeon Pro fencing system, plus a personal invitation from Sir William Gallagher for an internship at Gallagher’s Research and Development department. • Droidworx (now called Aeronavics) won the Most Viable Business award for their aerial robot that is now receiving

expressions of interest worldwide. • And at just 13 years old, Ayla Hutchinson was named Fieldays Young Inventor of the Year and also won the James & Wells IP Service Award with her Kindling Cracker innovation. Ayla has since taken her product to market and gone on to win other awards including ‘Most Inspiring Individual’ at the NZ Innovator’s Awards and the ‘Rising Star Award’ at the BUY NZ Made People’s Choice Awards. After the competition’s huge success in 2013, the centrally-located Innovation Centre has grown in size and organisers are anticipating an increased number of entries this year. With a range of categories to enter and a competition structure that supports Kiwi ingenuity at all levels, the Ayla Hutchinson was named the 2013 Fieldays Innovation Centre incorporates Fieldays Young Inventor of the Year commercial innovations and backyard and also won the James & Wells IP creations and is the perfect place for Service Award with her Kindling new innovations to be launched. Cracker innovation. Fieldays event manager Vanessa Richof their innovation. mond says offering help and assistance “It is then no wonder that the amount for entrants is a major part of Fieldays and standard of entries strengthens year Innovations. after year,” says Vanessa. “We are bringing partners on board to New to the Innovation Centre for help nurture relationships with entrants 2014 is THE LAB - powered by Locus while fostering entrepreneurship, innoResearch. THE LAB is an ideas booth vation and creativity. where confirmed entrants can access “Entrants also receive invaluable feedback from prospective customers visiting knowledge from the Locus Research the Innovation Centre, and the potential Team and other Innovations Partners on how to progress their innovation. to gain priceless media exposure


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Buckets ahead

Each year at Fieldays there’s a stand-out give-away – something everyone seems to be carrying and everyone wants. For years, cattle prodders – or more politely stock sticks – have been among the popular Fieldays take-home items, but last year bright orange buckets were everywhere – even doubling as head-wear. Lely New Zealand Ltd national sales manager Trent Finlay says the company gave away two pallet-loads of buckets, stamped with its branding, during the first three days of Fieldays 2013. “We’ve given away buckets before and they are a simple way of getting our branding out there, as buckets aren’t something people can fold up and put inside Eleven-year-olds Leah Russell and Aria something else. Sauft, of Stanley Avenue School, Te Aroha, “They also tend to stay in use with their very useful buckets at Fieldays. for some time after Fieldays.”

Celebrity chef returns Celebrity chef Josh Emett will be returning to his Waikato roots next month to delight food-focused visitors when he performs an impressive three demonstrations each day at the NZ National Fieldays.





Josh will be taking a break from his busy schedule to appear as the celebrity chef in Fieldays’ Kiwi’s Best Kitchen, where he’s looking forward to showcasing skills and recipes visitors can replicate at home. The hugely popular Kiwi’s Best Kitchen, with its Kitchen Theatre and exclusive exhibition area, is undoubtedly one of the busiest marquees at Fieldays, where visitors are tempted to taste and toast New Zealand’s favourite and unique food and beverages. Josh’s sizzling shows in the Kitchen Theatre are bound to appeal to those who love to impress in the kitchen and are always looking for a few trusty tips. The acclaimed Michelin star chef, who was bought up on a farm outside Hamilton, has very fond memories of visiting Fieldays when he was a boy – and he’s now looking forward to returning this year, as the 2014 Kiwi’s Best Kitchen Celebrity Chef. “It’s a very easy and very comfortable place for me,” says Josh, who will also be exhibiting Chef Series, his own range of restaurant-quality, slow-cooked meats, and his new cookbook ‘Cut’. The book features great meat recipes for the home cook and uses his knowledge and experience of what to do with every inch of an animal. When explaining the background for his book, Josh refers to the fact he was bought up on a farm and in a rural community. “It stems from the fact we always had home-kill in the freezer and so many cuts of meat sitting there; the braising cuts, the racks, loins and everything like that and we’d slowly work our way through. “I’m really excited to be bringing my book to sell at Fieldays, people can come and talk about the recipes, what they can do, and how they can apply them to their home life,” says Josh.


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Unclouded thinking rejuvenates farming

Mark and Amelia Dale, of Timaru, are up to their knees in pasture to feed their young bulls.

Many sheep and beef farmers have long harboured defeatist attitudes – not about what they actually do, but the way the world seems to treat them.

in advance, so animals are ready for the farmer to take advantage of the profit periods to buy and sell. A significant comment made by a number of conference-goers is how amazed they are at what they are achieving, at levels way beyond what they would have thought themselves capable of. A number of GrowFARM clients are moving to using biological farming systems, and care for sustainability of the environment is a base principle. Some have tried using parts of the system. Mark and Amelia Dale, farming 355ha inland from Timaru as a sheep and beef trading and finishing operation, initially attempted a 50/50 approach, still using some of their ‘old’ thinking during their first year. The result showed the ‘old’ systems didn’t make money, which severely reduced the good profits from the ‘new’ approaches. They found themselves running too many animals, and keeping them far too long. GrowFARM clients are proud of their progress, but feel very supported by the systems and regular one-onone coaching by Brendon, which are such an important part of it. Wider-based systems may offer advice and even workbooks, but the ability to just pick up the phone and get skilled advice at any time; those involved feel it’s priceless. By Sue Edmonds

Being invited to attend a conference in Hamilton recently, where everyone was tremendously upbeat, confident of their own abilities, and making profits, is a marvellous change. And they were all sheep and beef farmers from throughout the country. Are these people are running farms because it’s always been their lifestyle? Not a bit. They are now running farming businesses – and it’s totally changed their lives. No longer are they exhausting themselves on farm systems calculated on margins, which often turn out negative profitability. Instead everything they do is calculated using a clever profit-based system, designed around where they live and its climate and terrain. Using this, they make use of various ‘profit periods’ which occur during the year, when feed availability, stocking rates and prices harmonise. The system is called GrowFARM and it’s been run by Brendon Walsh and his wife Kara, from their Te Awamutu base for the last five years. Although, Brendon had been thinking about it for years, while he worked for someone else. All at the conference agree, initially, it had taken a big shift in their thinking to get started on the preliminary work, which may well involve a complete rethink of how they farm. Then they had to get used to the record-keeping and planning required, although the system provides the very comprehensive cloud based ProfitLIVE, which calculates whether an idea will be profitable or not before the practical steps even get Download my free ebook started. As one participant points out, if an ideaDownload or my free ebook 7 Reasons Why Sheep And Beef Farmers system isn’t going to be profitable, it will even show you Don’t Make Profit - And A Step By Step your potential losses in advance. All types of farming are already being operated under Process For Turning Your Farm the GrowFARM system, from breeding to trading and Into A Profit Generator finishing; and the choice can be made according to your at potential workforce, and your climate and terrain. (PDF file – no e-reader necessary) For instance, severalBrendon South Island speakers hads found Walsh – NZ’ most Trusted Farm Profit Expert with little or no grass growth during winter, and previBrendon Walsh – NZ’s most Trusted Farm Profit Expert ously experiences of losing hundreds of lambs in freezing GrowFARM Ltd, Te Awamutu GrowFARM Ltd, Te Awamutu weather, not carrying the numbers they’d previously p 07 8702185, m 027 5800339 p 07 8702185, m 027 5800339 considered ‘normal’ – or evenat stock at all – during e Walsh – NZ’s most Trusted Farm Profit Expert these periods had transformed their lives, and their bank (PDF file –Brendon noe e-reader necessary) w w accounts. (PDF file – no e-reader necessary) The difference from their earlier farming methods is GrowFARM Ltd, Te Awamutu Brendon not only in knowing when it will be possible toWalsh make – NZ’s most Trusted Farm Profit Expert p 07 8702185, m 027 5800339 profits, but also in planning and setting up the farm and e feed growth to actually be ready at the right times. Fully GrowFARM Ltd, Te Awamutu w fed stock will gain condition, which can be calculated

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Enduring Fieldays - university partnership reaffirmed The University of Waikato and the NZ National Fieldays Society have signed a further agreement which sees the university enter its eighth year as a Strategic Partner of Fieldays – the largest agribusiness event in the Southern Hemisphere. Professor Roy Crawford says the partnership “makes sense” as both organisations have always shared a mutual interest in contributing to, and growing, the agricultural sector. “Being a part of such an agriculturally-rich region we are delighted to once again support an event which

is at the forefront of agricultural innovation. “The university has a shared interest with Fieldays in the agricultural sector, from our research we will be showcasing, to our students who undertake internships with the many agricultural organisations, and our graduates who are employed in the agricultural sector.” Fieldays Society CEO Jon Calder is delighted to have the university on board as one of Fieldays’ two strategic partners for the next three years. “The relationship between the university and Fieldays has grown and evolved over the past eight years to the point where we now have a true partnership. “We’ve been working with the university over the past 18 months to

look at new opportunities to create solutions and outputs that will help advance New Zealand agriculture.” Jon says the goal is to find new ways to showcase each other’s strengths and create a year-round relationship rather than just coming together for four days each June. “The result is a series of projects we will work on over the next three years that will see Fieldays support the university’s research and work in areas such as agribusiness, earth and water science, as well as helping build awareness of careers in agriculture and the educational pathways available. “It is exciting to have a partner that is actively solving problems and providing solutions that advance agriculture, which is one Fieldays’

founding principles,” says Jon. The agribusiness showpiece takes place each June and attracts about 125,000 visitors and global media attention. This year’s premier feature theme is Managing Resources for a Competitive Advantage, and across the four days the University of Waikato will showcase research which impacts the agricultural sector. Roy says Fieldays is not only an opportunity to showcase what the University of Waikato does for the region, but a chance to connect with businesses, colleagues and alumni. “We encourage our staff, students and the wider com-

munity to visit our site during the four days. “Our researchers will be present, as well as ambassadors, so we welcome everyone to visit our site in the Premier Feature area to see how we are making a difference to land-based industries.”

Surge in demand for effluent tanks New Zealand’s booming dairy industry and tough environmental standards have prompted a growing demand for Tanks & Silos’ glass-fused-to-steel tanks. “Internationally about 98 per cent of these tanks are used for storing

water, but in New Zealand the biggest demand at present is for the safe storage of dairy shed effluent,” says Brett Clow of Tanks & Silos. In 2012 the company took on the Permastore distributorship for New Zealand – and during the last 12 months the number of tanks it’s constructed has increased significantly.

“We initially targeted the Waikato but now the product is becoming better-known and understood we’re getting inquiry from further afield and have tanks underway at Atiamuri, Eltham, Greytown and Norwood,” says Brett. Although most tanks are for storing dairy effluent, one is being built to store waste water at a Fonterra factory. “We will also install a water tank for a new subdivision in Wellington after council contacted us, inquiring about our tanks.” Tanks for either drinking water or effluent storage are built in the same way. Each is cconstructed on a concrete pad, from panels 2.83 metres by 1.4 metres, which weigh about 140 kg each. These panels are bolted together and sealed to become water-tight and the finish is hard-wearing, colour-fast, low maintenance and easy to clean. There are specific grades of glass fusion designed for water storage and dairy effluent tanks, and tanks can be built to almost any height and diameter. “These tanks have the best properties of both materials – the strength and flexibility of steel combined with the corrosion resistance of glass on both interior and exterior surfaces, which provides a unique linerfree system,” says Brett. “The big bonus for councils installing these tanks, and for farmers too, is they are virtually maintenance-free.”


Superior crops from luxury levels of ‘big four’ Prominent American nutritionist and consultant holding a master’s degree in dairy nutrition, Gary Zimmer, discovered all crops and pastures that can be called superior have luxury levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and boron. There are no exceptions. It matters not if we are talking about grapes, grain or grass. Among other functions, calcium moves all other minerals into the plant and influences brix levels. Low calcium is often the cause of low plant pH which can result in higher disease, (particularly fungal pressure), but high nitrogen and/or potassium can also negatively impact on calcium uptake, increasing the chances of insect attack. Gary came across the importance of the ‘big four’ some years ago while undertaking extensive leaf testing on pastures. He was working towards finding an efficient method of growing pastures to avoid feeding cattle primarily on grain. He found when the pasture had ideal levels of Ca, Mg, P and B the plant would also uptake good levels of the other minerals and plant growth was enhanced. He then followed up the pasture results by examining hundreds of crop records.


Sugar is the product of photosynthesis. The amount of chlorophyll available in a leaf is directly related to the amount of sugar that can be produced. More chlorophyll results in more sugar and plant building blocks, therefore more energy for plant growth, and more food to support an expanding microbe population. Beneficial soil microbes feed on sugar sent by plants into the root zone. Soil microbes are responsible for fixing nitrogen and making elements such as potassium and phosphorus available. Boron opens the trapdoor between the chloroplasts

and the rest of the plant. During daylight hours a plant manufactures sugar in chloroplasts. At night a trapdoor opens to permit the sugar to drain from the chloroplasts, mostly to be used for growth. If the sugars cannot drain the plant becomes weakened, and a backlog of stored sugars is also easy prey for insects. High brix readings late in the day indicate an efficient plant. A comparatively low reading in the early morning hours indicates efficient movement of sugars into growth or maintenance processes.


Boron is a calcium synergist so if we apply large volumes of calcium to soils deficient in boron we are not going to see much of a change in crop growth. Therefore you do not get the full calcium effect and the other associated benefits of applying lime. Nor will you get full economic benefits if you apply lime or calcium and neglect magnesium, which Ca suppresses. Boron opens the trapdoor, allowing the sugars that were produced during the day to move around the plant and into the soil to feed the microbes in the roots zone. This is why brix levels should always be lower in the morning than in the afternoon.


Phosphorus is essential for supplying energy to the plant, particularly for photosynthesis. It has a direct relationship in building brix levels. Low phosphorus can be responsible for high sap pH, resulting in higher pest pressure. P is the key element in the plant enzyme Adenosine tri-phosphate. ATP is the major enzyme involved in the production of plant sugars. A significant rise in brix levels, a measure of sugar in plant sap, is routinely observed following the application of phosphorus. Magnesium is an essential component of chlorophyll and a phosphorus synergist. It is sometimes possible to achieve a better phosphorus increase in leaf analysis by applying magnesium, than can be achieved by applying phosphorus.

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Interlock system is ‘ultimate’ in fencing The Beams and Timber Direct Interlock fencing is the ultimate when it comes to post and rail fencing, says fencing contractor Richard McKenzie of McKenzie Fencing, based in Pukekohe.

Beams & Timber Direct Ltd (BTD)

“The posts and rails are machined out of premium logs, with rails being of a consistently high quality and both are air-dried, which minimises the problem of warping and twisting when erected. “As rails are mortised into the posts; there are no visible joins, which in conventional post and rail fencing open up and twist off over time.” Richard says when his team erects the BTD Interlock fence they mark each rail end by the depth of the mortise. “As the contour changes we can be assured the rail is seated right into the mortise. If this is done every time, rails will never fall out and I’ve installed several kilometres of this fence without a single rail becoming dislodged.” The standard post size is for BTD Interlock fence is 125mm2 but posts can also be supplied as 150mm2, 200mm2, 250mm2, up to 300mm2 to define ends, corners or to hang gates. Gates are also supplied in the same timber grade as used in the fence. All fence components come cutto-length, with the post tops bevelled and with the mortise slots all ready to assemble. Posts have a band sawn finish with rails machined only on three faces, leaving the presentation face band sawn to match the posts. The BTD Interlock fence takes all the hard work out of DIY. “The wood quality in the posts and rails I’ve found to be consistently above any other fencing timber currently on the market,” says Richard. “Once you have some time and experience installing this fence, it goes up pretty quickly, curving and fol-

Denny Hale, from McKenzie Fencers, erects a BTD Interlock fence at a lifestyle property in Franklin. lowing the contour with ease. “The thing I like about the BTD Interlock fence is once you’ve installed the fence, the job is finished; there’s no having to trim off post tops, screw up brackets, chisel out and reseal holes or fit pieces of wood back into the posts to make it look like a mortised fence. “Julie and Graeme Fox of BTD, own, and for many years have operated, a sawmill – so they’re extremely knowledgeable about timber and how to produce a stable fence rail and post. “I find them really helpful in coming up with solutions to particular fencing jobs and ensuring timeframes are met. This makes dealing with them as a contractor very easy,” says Richard. Given the quality of timber and workmanship, costwise this interlocking fence is more expensive than conventional post and rail fencing, says Richard, “but the end product is far superior, and it will remain looking impressive for years to come”. “All the clients I’ve erected the BTD Interlock fence for have been 100 per cent happy with their new fence,” says Richard. “This result makes it very easy for me to recommend the BTD Interlock Fence.” As they have for some years now, Beams and Timber Direct Ltd can be found on site M46 at this year’s Fieldays.


Future now bright for proven brand The last two years have been tough for David Carey, with the passing of his father and director discord within his company.

David comes from a family of innovative sheep farmers. When fly strike hit them, David’s father Des Carey designed and built the first sheep dip with an electronic sensor. He and his boys created Electrodip, which supplies But with formation of a new comsheep dips around the world. pany and subsequent purchase of the Friends questioned: “if you can use WETiT brand, he now feels the future a sensor to catch fast-moving erratic is looking brighter than ever. sheep, could you not use the same Although David found it necessary sensor to spray cows in the milkto step away from WETiT during the ing shed?” So, in 1993, David Carey last months, his incredibly loyal and formed his own company and started experienced team has kept the comworking on teat sprayers. pany moving forward and continued to One of his early goals was to “create provide excellent service to customers. a teat sprayer that was better than a person” and after 20 years of research, prototypes, testing and further development he’s achieved this twice over with the Udder Arm and QDO. Unfortunately, moving parts on the udder arm has meant it’s not viable as a low maintenance reliable machine, but the QDO remains the top of its field. With the formation of DC Team Limited, David Carey and his research and development team is once more focussed on his goal of providing the best teat sprayer worldwide – and making the WETiT product range the first choice for anyone conDavid Carey of WETIT is a keen diver, often sidering an automated bringing home a crayfish to share. teat spraying system. Photo by Jan Maree Vodanovich

He’s always had the best interests of the dairy industry and the farmer at heart. His goal to provide the most effective product motivates him to continue testing and tweaking to improve the technology. He’s always striving to make the WETiT teat sprayers even more efficient and cost effective – they’re already better than a person. Now he and his team are working on reducing the volume of teat spray used, eliminating wind factor, and lowering maintenance so they can be installed and perform well anywhere in the world. Life is about balance and David plays with as much enthusiasm as he works. He loves his boat and being out on the water, whether it’s wakeboarding and skiing with his girls, or hunting and gathering on the ocean floor. He’s been a keen diver from an early age and one of his greatest pleasures is being able to spoil his friends with a crayfish or two. By Jan Maree Vodanovich

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Finding solutions aim of research projects Managing resources for a competitive advantage is the Fieldays 2014 Premier Feature theme, which will highlight areas where New Zealand’s agricultural sector can optimise, maximise and develop systems and processes to help manage resources effectively and maintain our place among the world’s best. Research projects into nitrogen leaching, dairy grazing on cropping farms, Argentine stem weevil and slugs by the Foundation for Arable Research, which has been awarded funding from the Ministry for Primary Industry’s 2014 Sustainable Farming Fund, fits well with the theme. FAR CEO Nick Pyke says it’s a pleasing result, and the four projects, with a combined value of more than $1.8 million, are a good fit for the levy-funded organisation’s research portfolio. “Our aim, as a research organisation, is to increase the profitability and sustainability of cropping farm systems,” says Nick. “Each of these four projects was developed as a result of industry consultation, and as such is focused quite clearly on on-farm issues faced by our growers. Any information which helps to provide solutions to these problems will be a big help for them.” The projects involve other industry funders and research organisations, a clear reflection of FAR’s business strategy, says Nick. “Our recently-launched business strategy stressed the importance of industry and research partnerships for the development and delivery of excellent research projects for our growers. “For this reason we are pleased to be partnering with other primary industry sectors, Crown research institutes and regional councils in funding and carrying out these projects. Such collaborations ensure these SFF projects provide the best outcomes for our levy payers, as well as those in other primary sectors,” says Nick. The four projects funded are: Root zone reality: a fluxmeter network to measure and manage nitrogen leaching losses on cropping farms. This project will place fluxmeters (devices which can measure drainage and N leaching losses from the plant root zone) on nine arable and vegetable cropping farms across New Zealand.

The measurement data will improve knowledge of typical N leaching losses from cropping and vegetable production under good management practice, and help farmers to understand what steps they could take to deliver water quality outcomes desired by their communities. It’s also expected these results will provide a valuable database for future work on validation of the Overseer crop model and development of public policy regarding freshwater quality. Good management practices for intensive winter dairy grazing on arable farms. This project is working with farmers from Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, Canterbury, Otago and Southland on grazing practices on their farms. Their experience will guide the project’s outputs. It aims to provide an environmental and productivity risk assessment for the impacts of winter grazing on arable cropping soils and nutrient management. This will inform discussion about the long-term sustainability of winter grazing and provide basis for a cross-sector discussion about real costs of the practice to arable farmers. The information gained will also be used to develop a risk assessment framework to help farmers assess environmental impacts of intensive winter grazing on nutrient losses and degradation of soils on their farms. Impact and management of Argentine stem weevil under reduced levels of parasitism. The parasitoid wasp, introduced in the mid-1990s to control Argentine stem weevil, is not as effective today. This project aims to develop a better understanding the extent of ASW damage on farms, the effect of the bio-control agent and how farmers are managing ASW. This information will be used to determine the risk of ASW to ryegrass and cereals and gain an updated understanding of the role of the parasitoid in ASW control. Integrated management of slug pests. The current project aims to deliver guidelines and extension activities to support a fully integrated approach to managing slugs, based on pest monitoring and cultural control methods such as tillage and crop residue management, optimising use of chemical molluscides and investigating potential for biological control of slugs in New Zealand. The project will use maize grown for silage and forage brassicas as test crops, but results should be applicable to many crops across arable, pastoral and horticultural sectors. Work on the projects begins later this year.

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This heifer exceeds the target weight for those being selected for shipment to Japan.

Classic friesian markings are what Chinese buyers want in a heifer.

Four white feet are the ‘ticket’ to China Four white feet, a white tip to the tail and a white forehead are attributes which have qualified 36 Bay of Plenty friesian heifers for a trip to China.

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The young stock belonging to Andrew and Jackie Siemelink of Maketu go into quarantine on May 1 but until then will continue to graze on Pukekauri Farm, under the management of Rick Burke. In late-March, with help from his son and farm manager Luther Siemelink, and Rick, Andrew selected stock to go to China from the farm’s replacement heifers.

Body markings and weight are the main criteria. “They have to have the classic Friesian markings and be at least 180kg. Most were over that. Rick’s done a good job of looking after them for us,” says Andrew. Once ear-tagged, the heifers were returned to the herd to continue to be managed as normal until May. As part of the quarantine process, Andrew expects they’ll be conditioned to the kind of hard food they’ll receive during shipment. Arrangements for the sale and shipment of the heifers were made through a New Zealand stock agent – and Andrew says the returns make it worthwhile. “It’s better money than we’d normally get; and it’s worth doing

especially as predictions are that the dairy payout will drop and prices for heifers come back, so we could buy replacements for less than we will sell these for.” Andrew says he has no concerns about animal welfare for the heifers, nor about sending good New Zealand blood lines to China. “There were concerns in the past about live shipments but standards have improved, and as far as sending our animals over there goes, I have no concerns,” says Andrew. “What New Zealand is sending is only a fraction of what is going out of Australia.” The heifers not selected for shipment will return to the Siemelink farm in-calf next season. By Elaine Fisher

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Robust, versatile, user-friendly feeders Livestock, especially calves, are renowned for only eating a portion of the hay fed to them – and the rest they either foul or sleep on.

Hay is an expensive resource to waste in this manner, say Gary and Glennis Wilson. For the last six years, the couple has been producing a range of products in their engineering business Wilco Ltd, situated at Onepu near Kawerau, to overcome this problem and help reduce the stress of calf rearing. Wilco Ltd produces hay feeders that can be placed on the rail in the calf shed or hung on the gate in the paddock with a lid for weather protection, to the trialled two-wheeled and three-wheeled models for paddock use. Gary says farmers have three main requirements when looking for a product to suit their calf rearing needs – and rearing hundreds of calves themselves has

Seven-day-a-week calf pick-up Silver Fern Farms’ Paeroa and Waitoa plants will again process calves seven days a week from July to ease pressures on dairy farmers who rely on a regular service during calving.

Regional livestock manager Brett Devane says the daily service was well received last year. “During peak calving it’s a fullon time on the farm. “Cows are calving seven days so we need to be providing our pickup processing service seven days, it’s as simple as that.”

Brett Devane is regional livestock manager for Silver Fern Farms.

Brett says they place the highest importance on how calves are humanely handled. “It’s part of the reason behind the daily service as it’s better for the stock. “There are also significant cost savings with calves spending fewer days in the shed in terms of labour and feed. “The feedback all round from our seven-day service last season has been overwhelmingly positive.” The co-operative also runs a cow and calf incentive programme where an end of season bonus payment is made for farmers who supply cull cows and calves through the year. “The incentive applies automatically when supplying cows and calves to Silver Fern Farms. “I had some stoked farmers call me once they received their bonuses. The dollars mount up and for some it came as a bit of a surprise.”

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led them to develop a product range that’s robust, versatile and user-friendly, made of steel construction then fully galvanised to give years of service. All Wilco feeders have the option of adding a moulded plastic meal bin insert to enable hay and meal to be fed together in the same feeder. More than one meal insert can be added to enable more meal to be fed

while the calves are younger, and then removed to fit more hay as they age. Glennis says with their products being versatile they’re also well-used for other classes of livestock, including horses, alpacas and goats. “We know our product is working well by the number of customers who return the following year to buy another one.”


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NZIER suggests exports could be boosted by $4 billion a year by 2026.

Thousands of hectares irrigated Up to 500,000 hectares of New Zealand farm and horticultural land could be irrigated under schemes assisted by Crown Irrigation Investment Ltd, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy. The first investment, with draft terms agreed for $6.5 million, is towards the Central Plains Water scheme in Canterbury to help irrigate about 60,000 ha of land on the region’s plains once three stages are complete.

“If current proposals are advanced there could be another 420,000ha of irrigated land available for a variety of uses over time. Research from NZIER suggests exports could be boosted by $4 billion a year by 2026, which would support thousands of new jobs,” says Nathan. Last year the Government put $80 million towards creating Crown Irrigation as an independent investor, to help kick-start regional water infrastructure projects. Without funding, it’s unlikely the Canterbury scheme would be developed to the size and scale required, says Nathan.

“This is an important step towards unlocking the major opportunities that water storage and irrigation can provide for New Zealand. “After the extreme drought that most of the country suffered last year, and the dry conditions currently in Northland and Waikato, the need for better water storage is obvious,” says Nathan. All decisions by Crown Irrigation are made by an experienced, independent board. Strict conditions have to be met, including technical feasibility, consents and sound governance.

Adding fibre improves condition scores We’ve completed our maize harvesting, most of it in fine weather, and the new grass is up and away, thanks to the rain in April.

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New grass of course needs care. Spraying with broadleaf sprays seven days after grazing is the best time to gain the impact required without hitting clover too hard. Apply nitrogen after each grazing too, to help the grass establish. Because it’s been such a great maize-growing year, we took soil samples from five different paddocks with five different soil-types, to see if nutrient levels were down. Everything was fine except – surprisingly – the pH levels in all cases had dropped. Even the agronomist who did the tests can’t figure out why, but we’ll be applying lime to get the balance right again. So it may also be worth other farmers doing soil tests now, to address the problem if there is one. It’s great to see the grass growing, but it’s low in dry matter at this time of year. Even if you’re also feeding stock maize silage, it’s important stock have enough fibre to ensure they gain the maximum benefit from their diet. Good quality grass silage can supply 14-16 per cent crude protein, and lucerne and pea vine hay is also high in protein. Fed alongside high-energy maize, it provides a good balance and enables stock to get the maximum from the grass they’re eating. There are a few thin cows out there after

the drought, and getting them up to the right condition score now is essential. Maize and silage supplements will help do that. Last winter we fed some of the dairy cows we grazed 10kg grass and 2kg straw daily. This enabled them to get the maximum benefit from the grass, putting on more condition than they would have from grass alone. Remember too with wet and cold weather ahead stock often use all their 12kg maintenance ration just to keep warm, with nothing left to put on condition. It looks like there could be a shortage of bailage this season, as some large suppliers have already run out; so the message is” “get your orders in early”. Calving is not far away. Many farmers will be taking a break at this time, so they need to know there are plenty of supplements on hand while they’re away for those looking after their properties to feed out. Some of our clients have already placed orders for grass silage next spring, which is excellent because it not only means they have peace of mind, knowing they’ll have quality feed they need, but we can also plan ahead with our sowing and harvesting programmes. An added bonus is they’ll get it cheaper for the early commitment.


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Latest tractor available for test drives New DairyNZ director Bay of Plenty farmers will be able to test drive the newest John Deere tractor in New Zealand at a series of Drive Green events hosted by Cervus Equipment of Rotorua this month.

Cervus Bay of Plenty branch manager Owen Jessop says the John Deere 6110 MC is the newest model in the 6MC series, which concentrates the qualities and capabilities of bigger tractors into a more compact and manoeuvrable format. The 6110MC will be joined at the Drive Green days in Opotiki on May 13, at Awakeria near Whakatane on May 14, and Paengaroa on May 15, by a range of other tractors from the John Deere stable. “This is the first series of these events Cervus Equipment of Rotorua has held – and it’s an opportunity for farmers and lifestyle block owners to test drive our tractors in a no-pressure environment,” says Owen. It will also be a once-only opportunity to purchase one of five John Deere 1025 R compact tractors at an exceptional price. “These tractors are ideal for small lifestyle blocks or for landscape contractors. They can be fitted with a range of implements, including mowers, a bucket and rear blade.” As well as tractor demonstrations, the Gator, which

The John Deere 6110 MC is the newest model in the 6MC series. The Gator below will be among vehicles demonstrated at Drive Green events hosted by Cervus Equipment.

is fast becoming a safer alternative to quad bikes, will also be available to test drive – and there will be demonstrations of the fuel 360 Flush system for flushing diesel fuel systems to improve performance and reliability. “At the Paengaroa Drive Green we will also have a tractor fitted with the Autotrac Guidance System, so clients can experience what it’s like to be in a tractor which is under automatic guidance,” says Owen. All Drive Green events run from 10am-3pm and are at: Opotiki May 13 at Looney Farms, 880 State Highway 2; May 14 at John Campbell’s Farm, 1140 State Highway 30 and May 15 at Paengaroa, corner Lemon Rd and State Highway 33.

Peter Schuyt has been appointed to the board of dairy farming industry body, DairyNZ to replace independent director John Spencer, who has stepped down after his term. “Peter will bring some broad experience to the table, as he is an independent director for a broad range of New Zealand businesses,” says DairyNZ board chairman John Luxton. “We have three independent directors as well as five farmer-elected members.” Peter’s governance roles currently

include chair of Landcare Research and Dairy Investment Funds Ltd. He’s also on the board and chairs the Audit and Risk Committees of Tatua Cooperative Dairy Company and Foodstuffs North Island. Waikato farmer and Fonterra Shareholders’ Council member Grant Wills has also joined the board for six months as an associate director, following Elaine Cook’s six-month tenure in the position. The associate role is a rolling board appointment, aimed at giving aspiring directors experience and peer support.

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Baby causes u-turn in careers Natasha Grindrod grew up on her family’s farm at Awakeri but never milked the cows, nor saw a career for herself in farming.

Instead, Barry and Yvonne Richardson’s only child trained as a teacher, meeting her husband-to-be Brett Grindrod – who’d also never milked a cow – at training college in Palmerston North. The couple had their futures mapped out as teachers, moved into a new house, and started a family, which

In my work I notice there seems to be a disconnection between the farmer and his team of professionals – so holding a stakeholders’ meeting will have a huge upside for your farming business.


Farmers need to acknowledge you’re literally running a multi-million dollar business off the kitchen table. So where is the board meeting and the governance? You will have a solicitor, accountant, banker, advisor, suppliers, insurance people, not to mention key staff and your wife. Sadly, in many farming businesses there are no meetings, often no team work and generally a lack of communication between these important people in your business. A very wealthy and successful rural commentator recently told me his accountant and solicitor did not like each other, so you wonder how would that play out in his business. Your accountant does the books, solicitor performs the legal stuff, consultant sorts the production, your banker does the bank detailing and so on – but without your consent, they’re really unable to liaise or discuss your business. The most exciting improvement in farming business

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statement – Brett and Natasha have not only succeeded in making dairy farming work for them, they’ve excelled at it, winning the 2014 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/Equity Farmers Award. “After just a few months’ farming, I called my school principal to say I wouldn’t be back teaching,” says Brett. “I enjoyed the flexibility farming offered, being so closely involved with my family and we could see the longterm potential for financial growth. “There is not a single time I have wished I was back teaching.”

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is when things changed. “We were both working full-time and Kaleb was in daycare. We seemed to have so little time with him each day. With our teaching background, we know how important those formative years are –and that wasn’t the childhood we wanted for our son,” says Natasha. When Natasha’s parents offered Brett the opportunity to work on their farm, the couple decided to take a year’s leave from teaching to see if farming would work for them. To say it did is something of an under-

I’ve seen lately is farmers who call a stakeholders meeting. Why, because all these important professionals get together in one room and discuss your business. A simple plan might look like this: You will need a designated meeting room, then email all your stakeholders, put on coffee or lunch, depending on when you have the meeting, and have a whiteboard available. The best way to start this meeting of professionals is to record assets and liabilities on the whiteboard. Discuss these and look for improvement in interest rate cost and so on. Move on to review the balance sheets. Did you make a profit? What are the issues? Again, summarise the details onto the whiteboard. Then maybe stock numbers, and strategies for maintaining/improving production, could be discussed. Is the effluent system up-to-date? Are the leases formalised? What about employment contracts and job descriptions? What is the plan for the coming season? What are you doing about your succession issue? Who is going to do what, to ensure all the loose ends are tied up? Work through a list of topics and planning important to you and your farming business. Everybody gets an email of the conclusions; and they’ll look forward to next year’s stakeholders meeting because it is effective and positive. These meetings are very essential if you are a director or trustee. Take time to get everybody focussed on your business. The improvement in management planning returns and dropping of stress levels are nothing more than spectacular. So, Mr Farmer, take time to organise and run a stakeholders meeting with a formal invite and agenda. You will be amazed at what comes from the meeting and the general improvement in your business outcome. 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. Don Fraser is the principal of Fraser Farm Finance, and a consultant to the farming industry. Contact him on 0800 777 675 or 021 777 675.


Farming needs educated young people Since moving to the farm in 2010 the couple had another son, four-year-old Jayden, Natasha has learned to milk cows and Brett has graduated from farm worker to manager – and now he’s a 25 per cent sharemilker. “It was brave of Barry to give me the chance to become manager after only a few months on the farm. It really threw me in at the deep end,” says Brett, who has thrived on the challenge. “Brett has immersed himself in framing and training, taking every course and attending every field day he can,” says Natasha. Last season, despite the drought, the farm achieved a record 157,000 kilograms of milksolids and this season looks set to do 173,000kg/ms. An irrigation system, fed by the farm’s bore, helped maintain grass growth through the dry.

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Natasha and Brett Grindrod – winners of the 2014 Bay of Plenty Sharemilker/ Equity Farmers Award. The couple and their boys now live in the house where Natasha grew up, on the farm bought 58 years ago by her grandparents Gladys and Horace (Horrie) Richardson. “If Brett and I hadn’t been keen to go farming, I’m not sure what direction the family farm would have gone in. Now it will stay in the family, as it looks like at least one of our boys will go farming.” The farm is prime, flat land, bordered by horticulture. The 450 friesian cows graze 140 effective hectares of pasture, and maize and grass silage is grown on a 20ha support block. They are milked by a 20-year-old in a 36-aside dairy, where in the milk room Brett’s teaching instincts are obvious. ‘If you make a mistake, please tell somebody,’ says a prominent sign on the very well-ordered shed noticeboard. “Anyone can make a mistake and if we know about it straight away, then we can minimise the

consequences, especially if it might affect milk quality,” says Brett. Natasha says winning the award has been a goal for the couple since they came second last year. “It’s not about the prizes, which are awesome, but about the people you meet and what you learn by taking part, as well as benchmarking yourself against others in the industry.” Brett also sees the awards as important in showcasing dairying as a career and with his teaching hat on, talks of finding ways to help promote the industry to teenagers. “Farming was certainly never promoted to me as a career choice. Too often it was seen as a poor choice, when in fact it’s a very worthwhile career.” Brett says agriculture offers a wide range of career choices and the industry needs educated, enthusiastic young people to secure its future. By Elaine Fisher



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Speed stickers for slow agri-vehicles Federated Farmers is producing stickers for operators of agricultural vehicles, which go no faster than 40km/h on the road, under agricultural vehicle rules that came into effect last year. The 40km/h sticker is to be displayed on vehicles to help other road users and Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit officers identify slow-moving agricultural motor vehicles. The stickers coincide with fewer

requirements for agricultural motor vehicles operating at 40km/h or less on open roads, which came into force on June 1 2013. These include the slow-moving vehicles not requiring a Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness. However, they must be up to roadworthy standard. The slow-moving vehicles also don’t require a Road User Charges licence; are exempt from worktime requirements; and may be driven on a wider range of driver licences.

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Farming by remote control - for real It’s no longer science-fiction. Remote control drones are now being used by farmers to more effectively run their businesses, says Jonathan MacDougall of “Using drone technology with autonomous capabilities in farming is becoming more common, thanks to specialised software for livestock counting and tracking, to vegetation growth tracking,” says Jonathan. Sencorp Mark 2 is ideal for this use. It is a fully loaded drone with built-in wireless close circuit TV navigational camera, pilot-worn first-person view goggles with live on screen heads-up display, which presents data without requiring users to look away from their usual viewpoint. It has ground-to-air data link for status reporting, ground GPS tracking and autonomous mission command and control. Running a dual GPS, carbon fibre props on top of 1000KV brush-less motors and 40 amp electronic speed controllers gives the Mark 2 an impressive play load capacity of about two kilograms. It has a flight time of 10 minutes on 33000amp/h, with a speed up to 64km/h and total range of two kilometres.

The Mark 2 can also be equipped with a two-axis camera gimbal, and Jonathan says it has been used for high quality filming for everything from video production to conservation and farming, and aerial photos for real estate marketing. “The airframe has been designed to be adapted with many types of electronic sensors to meet a wide variety of needs. We can customise the aircraft for any need possible. “Small, lightweight and exceptional video transmission range gives the Mark 2 its edge. The on-board computer system down-links to the ground station, giving the pilot vital information such as GPS location, live video, real-time heading and altitude information, and can be programmed to follow any path set,” says Jonathan. “Locking in locations via waypoints is as easy as drawing a line where you want the aircraft to fly to. Each way-point can be programmed to carry out a task. Such as circle, loiter, land, take photographs. Sencorp is the most inexpensive and feature-rich drone provider in NZ.” The drone comes with full training for each pilot, on how to use the ground station software, tips on flying and how to re-calibrate the system if needed.


Page 41


Stray voltage in dairy sheds can agitate cows and impact on their milk production and to help overcome this problem, Standards New Zealand has published a new handbook on electrical installations in dairy sheds. It provides the recommended trade practice on how to build dairy sheds that minimise stray voltage, which can disturb cows. Users of the handbook include electricians and electrical designers that help to build dairy sheds. It may also help farmers and farm vets to recognise when an electrical problem is affecting cows. Stray voltage can be caused by faulty installation or bonding within a dairy shed. When this happens, it can cause a micro-shock and the cows may recoil when entering or exiting the shed. They may cause damage to themselves or the shed, or their milk production may drop by up to 30 per cent. The new handbook outlines how to fix problems with stray voltage in dairy sheds. It covers the correct electrical

installation practices for new dairy sheds, to reduce the exposure of cows to stray voltage. It also provides recommendations for upgrading existing dairy sheds where there are problems with stray voltage. Alan Cuthbert, who is chair of the committee that developed HB 6117, says this is a new document for New Zealand. “We initially wrote it as a technical report and issued it for public comment. The comments we received were helpful and meant we could improve the document and raise it to the level of a handbook. “Once the handbook has been in use in typical installations for a short period, the committee aims to review it and convert it to a standard.” Alan says the handbook allows for alternative use of the TT system of supply, which can help to reduce stray voltage. “Use of the TT system is not currently permitted by the Electricity Safety Regulations, but this is under active consideration. “If use of the TT system is approved, amendments will be required to AS/ NZS 3000 to cover the particular TT system requirements.” Find out more,

WOF for effluent systems A Dairy Effluent ‘Warrant of Fitness’ programme, developed with support of DairyNZ, is now available to farmers.

farmer can take to ensure their system is capable of being compliant 365 days a year.” The three-four hour assessment will also cover the farm’s effluent consents and permitted rules, storage capacity, nutrient loadings, soil DairyNZ’s sustainrisk, irrigator perforability team leader Dr mance, off-pasture Theresa Wilson says a infrastructure and need existed to develop general health and safety a consistent method for assessing effluent systems, requirements. “Farmers planning an to ensure the equipment upgrade, and are not is fit for purpose for the sure which parts of the farm. system need addressing, “Many farmers have will find it very useful been upgrading their effluent system over the last few years. Getting it assessed by an independent expert to see if it meetsS the o l i d grade F o o d fgives or Soils them peace of mind,” says Theresa. “A WOF assessor will look at the farm’s complete effluent infrastructure,” says Theresa. “They will point out areas of risk and sugD o l o Z actions est gest practical a CalciZest 0800 843 809 07 362 7288

or go to Eco-Logic Soil Improvement

talking to an independent expert,” says Theresa. “If you are buying or selling a farm, if you are a sharemilker moving onto a new property, or part of a group owning a farm, it makes sense to call in a WOF assessor to understand how well the effluent system is performing.” While more professionals are undergoing training and certification in coming months, farmers can already choose from a number of certified WOF assessors at


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Copper deficiency diagnosis and prevention Copper deficiency is most likely to be seen in winter and early spring. Diagnosis and monitoring of supplementation involves animal and herbage testing, as soil testing is of little if any value. Laboratory results need to be interpreted carefully because it is a complex condition, and tests need to be taken at the right time of year. Animal testing involves blood and/or liver testing, depending on the individual farm situation. Liver tests are most useful, as they give information about body reserve. Blood tests (serum copper or serum ferroxidase) are only useful to diagnose a deficiency when levels are low, because blood levels can rise above normal even though animals may be

Standard recipes or custom blended to your requirements

To order, call 0800 100 123.

deficient or normal. Pasture testing will determine if dietary levels are adequate, or whether a deficiency is primary. For example, low dietary copper or secondary high levels of molybdenum. Critical dietary levels depend on the class of stock and the Mo level. But as a general rule: sheep are five-seven mg/kg DM, cattle eight-10mg/kg DM and deer 10-12 mg/kg DM – when Mo is less than one mg/kg DM. Options for copper supplementation include: • Fertiliser (copper sulphate): should be in autumn at the rate of five10kg/ha for cattle and sheep and 12kg/ha for deer. It raises pasture copper levels for several months, which top up liver copper levels in stock grazing the treated pasture. • Foliar spray application of copper sulphate can result in high pasture copper levels to give several weeks supplementation. It can also be applied to pasture due to be cut, or has just been cut for hay, silage or baleage. • Water supply: copper (alone or in multi-mixes) can be administered through drinking water and is most useful for dairy cows. • Supplementary feeds: copper can be added to supplementary feeds, again usually dairy cows. • Copper injections and bullets (vet-only): a good option where Mo levels are high. They give a slow release of copper for weeks or months. • Worm drenches: copper, administered in con junction with worm drenches, has short-term benefit only, and has very limited effectiveness where dietary interfering factors (especially Mo) are involved. Note PKE is relatively high in copper, so supplementation needs to be assessed carefully, especially if feeding high rates.

‘Exciting’ advance in nitrogen limiting Laboratory trial results on a slow release fertiliser has a leading soil scientist excited about its prospects for New Zealand farmers struggling to limit farm nitrogen losses. Dr Doug Edmeades of AgKnowledge has been working with Auckland firm Eko360, providing scientific and technical advice on establishing the effectiveness of the company’s slow release nitrogen fertiliser, Smartfert. Agmardt funding is helping the small start-up company to investigate the performance of Smartfert in New Zealand pastoral situations. The results of laboratory work conducted in the last year have proven highly encouraging. “Laboratory leaching experiments have confirmed the rate of N release

Founder of fertiliser company Eko360 Bruce Smith, with conventional urea fully dissolved in his left hand and Smartfert slow release prills, in his right hand. from Smartfert is slower than that of urea; and by adjusting the manufacturing process, release rates can be adjusted,” says Doug.


The results are exciting, and a step closer to the ‘holy grail’ of fertiliser research, to develop a truly slow release N fertiliser, says Doug.


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Trash to treasure - online Not sure how to get rid of your business waste or household items? Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Waste and Recycling Directory just might have the answer.

The newly-improved search directory is a fast and easy way to find companies that can recycle waste materials in the Bay of Plenty. The directory is for households or businesses looking to stop their waste going to landfill. And while it’s been operating for three years, the directory has just received a revamp to make it more user-friendly. BOPRC project implementation officer Reece Irving says all businesses

or individuals need to do is search for the type of waste they have and where they are based. The directory will come up with a list of the businesses that can recycle or reuse the waste, providing detailed information, including contact details and any charges. So far the directory has details of 100 businesses, mostly in the Bay of Plenty, which are working to recover and recycle materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill or dumped illegally. Dumping waste, or ‘fly-tipping’, is becoming an increasing problem for councils across

Proof of concept proves product works Glasshouse trials following the lab work have added to Smartfert’s positive prospects. Using rye grass in the glasshouse trials, it was possible to measure the rate of N uptake by the grass as the test plant, acting as a measure of Smartfert’s N release. The results proved to be very similar to those gained from the initial laboratory trials. “We now have proof of concept established that the product works in the soil in a predictable manner.” Smartfert has recently earned the support of Tauranga-based fertiliser company Fertco, which now stocks and distributes it on behalf of its manufacturers Eko360. Fertco chief executive Warwick Voyce says having New Zealand science behind Smartfert gives confidence to farmers to try the product and see how it best benefits their situation. Eko360 director and founder Bruce Smith is looking forward to further field trials in co-operation with the farming industry.


An early ‘look see’ trial measuring cumulative dry matter production on a commercial dairy farm from last October to February has also proven positive. It revealed greater cumulative dry matter production during the period off the pasture treated with 25kgN/ha and 50kgN/ha Smartfert, compared

to equivalent rates applied as conventional urea. This indicates the nitrogen uptake efficiency of Smartfert was higher than from urea, says Doug. While this field trial work was only preliminary, Doug says it is nevertheless essential early research. He is comfortable recommending Smartfert directors invest further to examine the agronomic and possible economic benefits of field trials over different soils and climate types. “The implications for this research are huge.” Bruce says pastoral farming is under Solid Food for Soils pressure to manage nutrient losses through soil profiles, with catchment plans in many regions poised to dictate how great those losses can be. “Controlling nitrogen losses from fertiliser application is a valuable first step in helping reduce those losses.” Bruce says he’s now looking forward to further field trials Dinoco-operation loZest with the farming industry. alciZest And he’s encouraged by theC sig0800 and 843 809 nificant amount of industry 362 7288 or go to government funding07available to culture in New Zealand. Eco-Logic Soil Improvement However, the challenge is to steer it towards small innovative businesses developing genuinely new, valuable technology that can help pastoral farming face one of its greatest challenges in coming years – dealing with nutrient losses that impact on the environment and farm profitability. By Richard Rennie


the Bay of Plenty, says Reece. “We’d love to grow the directory’s number, and it’s free for businesses that recycle to sign up. The directory is used by all sorts, from businesses to families, and for all sorts of items.” “I did have a rest home phone me and say they collect hundreds of hearing aid batteries each year and they had just been throwing them out, but they would like to do something else with them. “There’s a national collection and recycling scheme for these little batteries that would otherwise add to the contaminants in a landfill.” The directory connects people with goods to recycle directly with a recycling business. “That waste becomes a resource that creates economic benefits and provides employment,” says Reece. “We’d love to hear from businesses that are not on the register yet so we can continue to grow the tool, and get more people in the community using it.” Find the Waste and Recycling directory at www. Plus, your trash could become someone else’s treasure. Another useful website, sponsored by BOPRC, is The Waste Exchange,, which links waste materials with businesses and individuals who can re-use it in locations across the North Island. The exchange has reusable materials in more than 30 categories, from floor tiles and hub caps to plastic drums and bulk bags.






JASON HILL 0274 585 295 Email:


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Ingenious labour-saver

It seems there is almost no limit to man’s ingenuity when it comes to labour-saving devices.

For even the smallest task there seems to be an invention to make it quicker and better – and that’s the case with this month’s mystery item from the Katikati Heritage Museum. It’s a slim metal retractable device easy enough to slip into a pocket, and was used in the preparation of a product, which is part of a habit becoming increasingly anti-social. If you know what it is and have a story to share about such a device, send your entry to: with Mystery Item as the subject; or post to: Mystery Item, Coast & Country, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110, to arrive no later than May 17. The winner will be announced in Coast & Country’s June issue. The museum, just south of Katikati, is open seven days a week 9.30am-4pm. To find out more, visit or phone 07 549 0651. Several readers knew what the April

Thrill of the hunt still strong

mystery item is. Roger Houghton gave a very accurate description of how it worked, so winning admission for two to the Katikati Heritage Museum. “It is a kerosene or paraffin heater usually painted black. They were called Valor heaters. “The kerosene is contained in a tank at the bottom. It has a retractable wick in the middle of the top of the tank which soaks up the kerosene and this is then lit. A small wheel on the side allows one to increase the flame height, thus creating more heat.” Anita Lincoln of Matamata remembered the heaters too. “The mystery item is a kerosene heater. It looks like the one my mother used to warm her room when we lived in Rotorua many moons ago,” she wrote. “The mystery item is a heater, I think it used kerosene. I remember trying to keep warm around one of these at school. They never seemed to work very well,” writes Margaret Osborne.

Every Wednesday morning about 50 riders, horses and hounds meet for a hunt – and on Saturdays or Sundays up to 100 riders take part, says master of the hunt Grant McGregor. Grant says it is thanks to local landowners the hunt is able to continue. “Hunting is very popular in the Waikato with riders from nine-10, to in their 80s taking part – and Waikato Hunt Club we’re very grateful to members are grateful to landowners who enjoy landowners who let them seeing the hunt in action ride through their land. and who let us ride across their land.” The hunt has access to duced by Alfred The properties throughout the Great – but it’s no longer Waikato, from Raglan a sport for just the arisin the west to Mamakau tocracy. In New Zealand, in the east, Tauhei in the the hunting is regarded as north, to Otorohanga in a family sport for people the south. from all walks of life, The hounds, which are irrespective of race, creed, kennelled in Cambridge, gender and profession. Waikato Hunt Club hounds are trained by a are trained by a huntsEstablished in 1891, the huntsman to follow a scent. man to follow a scent. Waikato Hunt Club has a Not all riders and horses need to be able to jump, membership of 180, with new members welcome. as most hunts have gated courses too. So riders less The annual hunting season is end-of-March to confident, or on horses not able to jump, can still mid-July. take part. The Waikato Hunt Club is an incorporated society “The hunt is a very popular, family affair. We with a structure of rules and code of conduct, with usually ride for up to three hours from midday, emphasis on etiquette, fun and enjoyment. returning to thank the landowners and enjoy a hunt For more information about the Waikato Hunt breakfast in the afternoon,” says Grant. Club, email secretary Margaret Fife at marg@camHunting as a sport is thought to have been APATA240414 DEVCICH.CO.NZ

The mystery item for May.

An ancient tradition, with links to Alfred The Great, is kept alive twice-weekly from March to July when members of the Waikato Hunt Club ride through the countryside.


















We may have some world class technology at Apata’s Katikati and Te Puke sites, but it’s our investment in people that pays the biggest dividends. Seeing the ‘can do’ attitudes, the smiles and the sense of achievement from a job well done are genuine signs of success. It’s no surprise then that Apata has a history of attracting some of the best brains and most capable workers in the industry. When you pack with Apata, your fruit’s not just in good hands, it’s probably in the best hands.




























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Determination and strategic planning fast-tracks dairy success Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year winners Kirsten and Donald Watson chose a radical career-change five years ago – and haven’t looked back. The former veterinarians are thrilled to take the regional title, saying their business has already benefited greatly from the experience. “The close scrutiny the judging process puts upon your operation really helps to identify areas where you can improve,” says Donald. “We’d definitely recommend the competition,” says Kirsten, who says “there is a lot to be gained from putting yourselves out there”. The win marks another step in the right direction for a couple passionate about the dairy industry. In their first season 50 per cent sharemilking 990 cows on Monowai Station, east of Taupo, they continue to strive towards their long-term goal of farm ownership. “We are focused on growing our equity to enable us to purchase an 800-cow farm by 2020,” say the couple, who formulated their very precise vision in early-2009. To assist their equity growth, the Watsons say they’re also focussing on personal growth, especially with relation to their governance and financial skills. “We need to drive strong, profitable performance on Monowai, as well as extra stock income from surplus, high quality replacements and surplus in-calf cows.”


Farming is not just about the bottom line for Kirsten and Donald though, who in addition to their farm ownership goal have the very simple, yet aspirational goal, of being happy. This is the main driver behind the change in career pathway, especially as they began their family. The couple met at vet school at Massey University in 1993 and both worked as mixed animal vets for three years in New Zealand before heading to the United Kingdom for their OE in 2002. Upon returning in 2004, Kirsten and Donald resumed their vet work, yet felt the pull towards farming. “We didn’t have any thoughts of entering the farming industry prior to our vet studies,” says Kirsten. “But I think it had been in Don’s mind for a long time – as a vet he was always slightly envious of the farmer.” “I had begun thinking I’d rather do the farmer’s job instead of mine,” agrees Donald, who began mulling it over with friends in the farming industry. The couple who grew up on sheep and beef farms – Donald in Southland’s Garston, and Kirsten in Dannevirke – soon reached a consensus. “We are farmers; it’s in our blood and it kind of pulls you back. We have no regrets about our vet degrees and time in practice though, as the knowledge and skills are absolutely invaluable now.” Donald spent the next three-and-a-half years working at Awapai, a 2125ha sheep breeding and beef farm near Hastings. Then in 2009, the couple came across the DairyNZ website and, utilising the strategic planning information, completed their first strategic plan. “We spent two days on this and we then had a clear

with everyone pulling together in this particular instance. “What still continues to amaze me about this industry is how people are so willing to share their knowledge and skills; and there is such a wide range of resources available to everyone,” says Kirsten. The couple say they’ve enjoyed incredible support from a combination of former employers and informal mentors, including Dean Nikora, Alison Dewes and Monowai owners Glenn and

Kirsten and Donald Watson are the Central Plateau Dairy Industry Awards Sharemilker/ Equity Farmer of the Year winners. vision: ‘Rapid equity growth in livestock agribusiness to achieve financial independence and personal fulfilment’. At this point we had two opportunities – to either lease a sheep and beef farm or go dairying – we thought the dairy industry offered us huge opportunities.” The switch to dairy was made, with Don beginning as herd manager for Dean and Kristen Nikora on an 1100cow farm in central Hawke’s Bay. The Watsons sold a lifestyle block they’d purchased in 2005 and started buying empty cows to carry over in autumn 2010. In 2010 the couple moved to Benneydale, King Country, where they were lower order sharemilking on a 1620-cow, 650ha operation, leasing some of their own cows to the farm as they built up stock numbers: 276 in 2011/2012, then 500 in 2012/2013. The Watsons then moved to Monowai last season, bringing 500 cows plus 158 carry-over cows and 43 R2 heifers.


The incredible speed at which they’ve progressed through the industry is testament to the couple’s hard work and precise vision. Not only have they been growing equity and knowledge, but also their young family, with their three boys Riley, six, George, five, and Josh, three. The farming lifestyle has generated a lot of positives for the family. “We love to be able to teach our boys the same skills we learned as children,” says Kirsten. “They love the outdoors and are exuberant active farming boys – loud, noisy and full of life and happiness. “It’s great to be able to walk out the door and be at work, to be able to work with my family – and to have control of our own plan and life,” says Donald. It hasn’t all been plain sailing however, with the usual ups and downs of farming. The couple cite one of the hardest things they’ve ever done as facing and getting through a major salmonella outbreak at Benneydale. The experience tested their resilience but also served to remind them of how supportive the industry can be,

Karen Speed. In relation to the dairy awards, the couple has been particularly humbled. “We’ve had such a lot of support from friends, family and also the wider dairy industry, which has been really uplifting. “We’d also like to make special mention of our parents, who have just been amazing. The real highlight for us so far has been to see how proud both our parents and farm owners were on the night at regionals, ” says Donald. By Jo Roberts

Constantly delivering results for my vendors!

These properties had previously been unsuccessfully marketed with other companies! I am relatively new to the world of real estate but my career so far has been very successful. My point of difference is my specialised marketing skills which I have utilised to get my vendors properties sold! You have to be able to get your property to stand out above all the others & that is exactly what I can do. I design individual marketing plans specific to each property I list. Whether it be lifestyle blocks, kiwifruit/ avocado orchards or high end homes, I can design something specific for you. I have a lifetime of experience within the horticulture and farming sectors. So if you are thinking about listing your property, let your property stand out in the crowd and list with me! mobile: 027 9493725 office: 07 5788887 email:


Page 46

SPE retention key to industry success The sole driver for success is what kiwifruit growers earn. If growers don’t earn enough to cover their costs and debts to make a reasonable profit, the industry will fail. This is true for any industry. The ingredients required for the kiwifruit industry’s success are: • Retention of the industry’s marketing system, known as the Single Point of Entry. • Robust biosecurity systems to protect our industry from pest and disease incursions; and rigorous processes to provide effective and timely responses, should an incursion occur. • Market access and tariff reduction – for example, the kiwifruit industry pays a 45 per cent tariff for fruit going into Korea. Our main competitor in our Southern Hemisphere season, Chile, pays nothing – equalling a zero per cent tariff. • Access to world-leading varieties that are Psa and pest/disease tolerant. • Access to water and land suited for kiwifruit orchards that can be sheltered from the wind. • Succession planning and development of industry skills and leadership.

• Access to reliable and skilled labour, particularly during peak times (harvest and winter pruning). • Access to capital to buy and develop orchards. • Good infrastructure throughout the rural growing areas – for example, roads, water, broadband. Maintaining the Single Point of Entry marketing system is the key ingredient for the industry’s success, as it has the ability to generate increasing returns to counter the increased cost of growing, picking, packing and shipping our kiwifruit. The trend since 2009 is shown in the attached graph for Hayward green kiwifruit. The figures in this graph are averages. The key point to take out of the graph is increasing returns are needed for the economic good health and survival of the kiwifruit industry.


Orchard Gate Return, or OGR, is the money growers receive after paying their postharvest operator and Zespri for all costs associated with picking, packing, cool-storing, shipping and selling their fruit. Net Orchard Return , or NOR, is what is left after their orchard costs are met. What is left over must service debt, orchard upgrading and pay the orchard-

ist for growing the fruit. The kiwifruit industry’s marketing system was created by the Kiwifruit Export Regulations 1999. The regulations appointed only one exporter for kiwifruit exported outside of Australia; this exporter is Zespri. Other exporters can apply for collaborative marketing through Kiwifruit New Zealand. On average a little less than two million trays yearly are exported by collaborative marketers, so the main exporter is Zespri. While this marketing system is referred to as the Single Point of Entry by the industry, it is not a legal term. It describes the marketing system. The beneficiaries of SPE are kiwifruit growers who supply Zespri; and this is because it gives Zespri the majority of NZ kiwifruit to export.


This scale means Zespri has, for example, the size and power to negotiate favourable shipping rates; take foreign exchange positions for future years – taking the

sting out of the high NZ dollar; run one supply chain, saving the cost of running many supply chains; ensure our kiwifruit is consistently of the highest quality; be able to back our kiwifruit’s quality on the supermarket shelves; and to market and distribute our kiwifruit generating superior grower returns. The SPE therefore needs to be retained, as it is a key ingredient of the kiwifruit industry’s success. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily the views NZ Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated.

Opportunities come from challenges Psa-V has caused significant changes to the kiwifruit industry – both on and off orchards. During the last couple of years, growers have had to meet the aggressive disease’s challenges head on. New growing techniques, changing spray programmes and managing for Anaru Tibble and Daniel Green, of Horticentre. and through weather events are the materials to the project. new world for growers. Horticentre not only supplies products to the As Horticentre’s regional manager for the Bay of kiwifruit industry but also technical input through its Plenty Gavin McMillin points out every challenge creates an opportunity, “which we have witnessed since knowledgeable team of people. Daniel Green has been with the company for almost the Psa incursion”. three years and comes from six years’ kiwifruit orchard Gavin has a long-time association with the kiwifruit management with Satara, backed by a HCA Applied industry, since the mid-1980s, from orchard developScience qualification. ment to orchard ownership and managing the joint Dan says he saw an opportunity to broaden his ownership of the family packhouse and coolstore knowledge and skill level within the industry by joinoperation. ing Horticentre, given the company’s commitment to After a break from the industry, Gavin’s been back in development of its people. his role at Horticentre for three years. Anaru Tibble has recently joined the team, again “One key factor that attracted me to Horticentre was citing the opportunity to develop his career in the the aspect of the Horticentre Charitable Trust, where industry. all profits from the Horticentre trading company are Anaru has a life-long association with Te Puke and placed for distribution back into horticulture on a lot the kiwifruit industry, working for Seeka for six years of different levels,” says Gavin. until he secured a kiwifruit orchard manager role for Horticentre, and its charitable trust, sponsor and the last five years. support many causes such as the Young Grower of the Anaru is currently completing his HCA Applied Year at both regional and national levels. Science qualification at Bay of Plenty Polytech, which The Horticentre Trust has recently co-sponsored, Horticentre is fully supporting him in. with Zespri, a long-term kiwifruit novel training Horticentre is committed to horticulture through its initiative by the Growplus Group at the Tauranga people, innovation and fresh thinking. polytechnic. Horticentre is also supplying


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Copper ‘very good protectant’ In a recently-conducted trial by Zespri and Kiwifruit Vine Health scientists, Grosafe Chemicals’ Hortcare Copper Hydroxide demonstrated very good protectant activity against Psa-V. Three different copper actives were screened, including a new copper oxide supplied to the Zespri/KVH Product testing programme by Grosafe for assessment. In summarising the trial, Zespri/ KVH states: “Some differences in effect were observed, which may be due to copper formulation, rather than rate applied, as Grosafe Hortcare Copper Hydroxide still showed a significant decrease in leaf spotting at the end of the trial for all concentrations applied”. Mark Yortt says when Grosafe decided more than two years ago to introduce a copper to its range, the company looked closely at existing forms of copper and formulations and decided to run with copper hydroxide at 300g of active copper/kg as the preferred

formulation. “At this point we engaged our formulation chemists and manufacturer to produce the best possible water dispersible granules formulation, with a brief it had to be as good as or better than other available products. “From there we supplied samples to an analytical laboratory and the best of our sample formulations was selected.” With stage one of product development completed, samples were supplied to Auckland University for electron microscope analysis of the micron particle size of the spray deposit. “In all laboratory studies Hortcare Copper Hydroxide performed very well, which gave us confidence to launch the product last spring,” says Mark. Prior to the launch of Hortcare Copper Hydroxide 300 WDG, Grosafe retained an independent researcher to conduct preliminary replicated field trials on four kiwifruit culti-

vars, Hort 16A, Hayward, Gold3, and Green14. In all copper treatments, Mark says there was no residue, nor fruit marking, and no vine phytotoxicity occurred. “This preliminary trial has been followed up by a full season trial, commenced at bud break last spring, with seven copper applications through to harvest. “The results of this trial will be posted to our website in late-May 2014,” says Mark. “In demonstrating our commitment to product development, Grosafe has recently employed an agronomist who, as part of his role, will be involved in new product development and comparative trials with existing products.” Grosafe has been appointed as exclusive distributor for a number of proprietary products offering exciting potential in a range of pastoral, arable and horticultural use situations including kiwifruit, avocados, pipfruit and grapes. For updates on this development programme, visit Growers and farmers are invited to register on the Grosafe website to be allocated a buying group and receive the most competitive prices.


(Trials undertaken by HortEvaluation Ltd)

Site 1 Bay of Plenty. Average Number of Cicada nymphs per trap Engulf + Talstar (1 L + 1 L in 1000 L water applied July)


New training opportunities for kiwifruit workers A need in the kiwifruit industry for skilled workers is set to be met by a $150,000 funding injection from the government. New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc president Neil Trebilco says the funding will subsidise training provided by Fruition Horticulture for new employees. Fruition Horticulture is experienced in delivering training to seasonal workers from the Pacific and people currently employed in the horticulture industry throughout New Zealand. In announcing the funding, Rotorua MP Todd McClay says the Industry Training Fund will boost performance and participation in industry training, encourage competition and innovation and simplify the industry training system. “These past few years have been trying times for kiwifruit growers in Te Puke and the wider Bay of Plenty District and the industry is continuing to recover through the resilience of local growers. “NZKGI was selected following a competitive tender

process and has shown a commitment to training that will benefit the trainees, their organisations, and the country as a whole.” Todd says it is another positive step forward for the community. “The Government has a strong interest in the recovery of the kiwifruit industry and I remain committed to supporting local growers.” Fruition Horticulture academic manager Wendy Bradley says a number of postharvest operators have indicated a willingness to have their staff take part in the training. “There is quite a shortage of skilled staff within the industry now and the courses we run are designed to break down the barriers to further training. “While the training is intended to assist employees in gaining a National Certificate in Horticulture Level 1, the aim is to provide essential skills and encourage people to pursue further training through the Primary ITO or polytechnic.” The courses will come at some cost to the employer but the funding will aid companies in enrolling more employees than they could have otherwise, says Wendy.

My Name is Neil Woodward. I am a director of Z-Contracting- we are family run business, our team consists of three, being myself, my son and my brother. Our organisation has been established for over 18 years. I have been involved in applying crop protection programmes within the horticultal industry since 1966. We specialise within the kiwi fruit industry, We have the equipment to spray orchards with our two Atom sprayers and one recently purchased Tracatom Formula tractor which is also available for mulching and mowing.

My Name is Neil Woodward. I am a director of Z-Contracting- we are family run business, our team consists of three, being myself, my son and my brother. Our organisation has been established for over 18 years. I have been involved in applying crop protection programmes within the horticultal industry since 1966. We specialise within the kiwi fruit industry, We have the equipment to spray orchards with our two Atom sprayers and one recently purchased Tracatom Formula tractor which is also available for mulching and mowing.

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.

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.

216 Pongakawa Bush Road Te Puke

To contact us: Phone: 021 907 621 E-mail:

216 Pongakawa Bush Road Te Puke

To contact us: Phone: 021 907 621 E-mail:


Page 48

To prune or not to prune is the quandary Should we prune the next crop?

This is the question Woodmetrics staff are often asked by clients after we’ve managed a sale for them. There are a number of reasons they’re in this quan-

dary. The main one is the pruned log price has fallen in the last 11 years. In 2003 there was a differential of about $90 between the pruned log price and the price of the top unpruned logs making the domestic structural grades. The current price differential is down to $15 per tonne. If we add up the pruning costs and use a discounted cash flow analysis, it’s pretty obvious a $15 per tonne price differential doesn’t currently justify the additional silvicultural costs. Even when the price differential was wider, there was sometimes little difference in earnings-per-hectare between pruned stands and forests treated with a wellmanaged structural regime. There are several reasons for this; one is not all pruning is equal. If timing and quality of pruning is not good, it will not yield the returns, no matter how much you pay for pruning. In other forests Woodmetrics has sold, thinning has been to such a low stocking even if the composite stumpage price is good; there are just not the tonnesper-hectare to sell. This is very pronounced once stands get below 200 stems per hectare. There is also a big difference between a stand managed with a well-planned structural regime, and a stand that’s just plain neglected. A good structural regime is about managing branch

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size and tree diameter. You also need to consider the distance from your forest to the local sawmills versus the export port. If there is a local sawmill 15km down the road verse 150 km, the net price-per-tonne to the owner will be increased greatly. The transport differential might be $30 per tonne, which is a large difference in terms of cost. To prune or not to prune? While I’m reluctant to give specific advice, there are things I suggest people consider. One don’t be too driven by today’s market when making long-term decisions. It’s not an annual crop. The various log markets will probably fluctuate up and down several times before your trees are mature. Stand back and look at the big picture. Consider your site. Some of the smarter corporates are now making the pruning decision on a site-by-site basis. Each site is analysed and a decision is based on site index, location, weeds, contour and fertility. This has to be a smarter approach than to prune everything or prune nothing. Finally, pruning gives options for small and large forest owners. For further information, contact Gerry Mortimer at Woodmetrics Forestry Marketing.

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Bay of Plenty Regional Council chief executive Mary-Anne Macleod, Western Bay of Plenty constituency councillor Jane Nees, Tauranga constituency councillor John Cronin, Scion deputy chair Judith Stanway and CEO Warren Parker, at the signing of funding for the innovation centre. An agreement which should help the Bay of Plenty economy receive more value from forestry has been signed between Scion and Bay of Plenty Regional Council. The agreement will enable Scion to build an innovation centre at its Te Papa Tipu Innovation Park to foster innovation in forestry and wood processing industries. The Rotorua-based Crown research institute successfully bid for funding through the regional council’s Regional Infrastructure Fund, which is a contestable fund set up to support economic development in the Bay of Plenty. Scion was allocated up to $2.5m from RIF’s inaugural funding round towards the construction of a proposed innovation hub for forestry and wood processingrelated businesses. Scion’s project is one of four to receive funding in the 2013 RIF round. Since announcing the funding, Scion and BOPRC have been working on contractual requirements for the project; and now representatives from Scion and the council have signed a funding agreement to formalise the project. BOPRC chief executive Mary-Anne Macleod says the project has the potential to provide a significant boost to not only the Rotorua economy, “but that of the wider region, bringing employment, economic benefits and innovation”. “We’re very pleased to be able to contribute to getting it underway, through the Regional Infrastructure Fund, and look forward to seeing the development progress.” “The funding is essentially seed funding, which will help get this project off the ground sooner rather than later, for the economic benefit of the region,” says Mary-Anne. Scion CEO Warren Parker says the funding will enable his company to get going with securing tenants and, all going well, to have construction underway by late this year or early-2015. It’s anticipated the building will be completed by December 2015.


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Leadership course focuses on horticulture Horticulture New Zealand’s Leadership Programme is aiming to take great horticulture employees and make them great horticulture leaders. The programme develops tangible leadership skills in areas like communication, presentations, working with teams and understanding how other people work. Throughout the course participants gather a much greater understanding of strategy, operations, governance and manageA group of 2013 Horticulture New Zealand’s Leadership Programme ment. The beauty of the participants – from left Shane Flynn (Hawke’s Bay), Neale Cameron (Bay of programme is it’s for Plenty), Trudi Webb (Otago) and Scott Rimes (Canterbury). horticulture and about horticulture, so takes in opportunities and threats such as biosecurity, traceabil- graduate and he’s using what he learned to keep his team at Seeka positively on track towards their goals. ity, food safety and sustainability issues. “Or Camilla Harvey of Katikati, a 2011 graduate, The programme, in its 12th year, is jointly-run by who put her hand up to work with growers through HortNZ and Lincoln University. The course is always Psa-V at the height of the crisis. oversubscribed, so anyone interested needs to register “And Ashby Whitehead of Te Puke, who is chair early. Past participants rate the programme highly – scoring of the Avocado Industry Council and a graduate of 2005, is now working with his chief executive, Jen it more than eight out of10. Two of the most highly Scoular, spearheading the Go Global avocado industry valued outcomes for students are building confidence strategy.” and having opportunity to build a network of likeThe first phase of the leadership course is an intense minded people from a range of horticulture sectors and three days at Lincoln University, where expert presentregions. ers take a variety of interactive sessions. “Hardly a month goes by when I don’t see or hear The second phase is an individual project, and during one of the graduates of the HortNZ leadership prothe third phase participants are required to present gramme putting themselves forward to ‘lead’ in some their project and utilise skills they’ve learned. way,” says HortNZ’s Sue Pickering, who built and This course’s last part is held in Wellington, where implemented the initiative from scratch. participants hear from specific horticulture leaders and “Sometimes, it’s within their own organisation, explore government, its processes and usually meet sometimes it with the local grower community – and with the Minister for Primary Industries. sometimes it’s at industry level. “We have an amazing talent pool in horticulture For example, Jim Smith is a 2013 Bay of Plenty

HortNZ’s Sue Pickering built and implemented the Horticulture New Zealand’s Leadership Programme.

that businesses can utilise. The programme is just a start for people, but it is a good start,” says Sue. As part of HortNZ’s commitment to development of industry leaders, growers, employees of growers, or those closely associated with grow-

ing, have their course fees and accommodation paid for by HortNZ. For more information, call Sue 04 472 3795, go to www. or email renee. for the application form. The application deadline is May 31.

An initiative of Horticulture New Zealand Facilitated by Lincoln University

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Ambitious plan to increase production and incomes New Zealand avocado growers have been set an ambitious target to treble orchard production to 12 tonnes per hectare and quadruple industry returns to $280 million by 2023.

The targets were set as Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced on April 1 an approved Primary Growth Partnership programme, worth $8.56 million, to lift industry performance and returns. About 150 growers, some from as far as the Waikato, attended the earlyApril roadshow to hear the funding

announcement which the Avocado Industry Council, led by CEO Jen Scoular, has been working on with MPI for two years. Called ‘Go Global’, the programme is a five-year partnership between the AIC and MPI, and will receive $4.28 million from the Government via PGP funding, with the balance coming from industry partners as a mixture of cash and in-kind contributions. Nathan says the programme is a prime example of what the PGP is designed to achieve, boosting productivity and innovation across the primary industries. “The programme will also focus

on sharing knowledge across the industry. It’s great to see New Zealand’s primary sectors working collaboratively to increase value and benefits not just for this sector, but the wider New Zealand economy.” Katikati avocado grower Hilton Paul says the target of lifting production from about four tonne per hectare to 12t/ha is a big ask for growers. “I am pleased the industry has

received the funding and the opportunities it offers but to achieve the increases in production will require an attitude change among a lot of growers with the realisation that avocado orcharding is a business and not a hobby,” says Hilton.

By Elaine Fisher

Growing their way to NZ Summer Producers Awards Six Bay of Plenty and Waikato produce growers in the running for the 2014 Farmers Market New Zealand Summer Producers Awards have to wait to July to find out if they’ve won. From showing their produce in Tauranga in late-March, Katikati’s Kurowski Forde Orchard, Matamata’s Southern Belle Orchards, Tauranga’s Paul's Tomatoes and Potato Power, Omokoroa’s Kandu Organics, and former award-winner Pahoia Fresh Produce will learn their fate at the NZ Farmers Market annual conference 2014 during July 30-August 1 in Feilding. The six growers entered the Tauranga Farmers Markets-hosted summer producers section of the awards, which was held for the first time this year. Tauranga Farmers Market manager Trixie Allen says the city markets hosted the event as a member of Farmers’ Markets NZ – and she encouraged local producers to get involved.

“We hosted this segment of FMNZ’s annual awards – these are held every year – and it’s to recognise the producers throughout New Zealand, who attend farmer’s markets.” The awards categories are tastiest pip fruit, juiciest stone fruit, dirt on the roots, dirt off the roots, organically produced, ugly is tasty – and Trixie says the judges mainly look for taste. “Because product that comes into a farmers market isn’t always the smoothest and the most beautifullooking, like we’re used to seeing in conventional retail outlets, it’s all about taste and freshness,” says Trixie. “And because you’re purchasing directly from the producer at the market – and that’s what it’s about – if you’ve got a fresh product, you know it’s going to last more than a few days until you want to use it.” Trixie says the new summer produce section of the awards is to recognise summer fruits people enjoy at NZ farmer’s markets, but while being deliberated on in Tauranga – winners will be announced in Feilding with the entirety of the awards. Winners will receive free coverage in ‘Taste' and ‘Good' magazines.


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Securing the future Kiwifruit’s 25th anniversary Beneath every long-term successful business is a foundation – something which regardless of the inevitable ups and downs ensures not only survival but prosperity.

Underpinning the dairy industry is the steadily increasing demand for protein in the form of milk, cheese, and other highly nutritious protein products derived from pasture. It’s a strong industry and with competent management at all levels, a rosy future is guaranteed. The sheep and beef industry relies largely on the demand for grass-fed meat, and we produce unique products savvy overseas purchasers are prepared to pay a premium for. The qualities of wool cannot be replicated and the cost of producing other fibres with inferior performance steadily increases – and still prices paid for wool continue to languish. The price received is largely dependent on our ability to sell its less obvious benefits to prospective customers, so there’s still some distance to go before its true value is realised. Beneath all of this lies the true foundation of New Zealand’s pastoral farming, a benign climate, clean water and soil. There’s little in the short-term that can be done to guide climate, and with clean water largely dependent on what we apply to our soils, the top few centimetres of this country is the aspect we can most immediately influence. In 2004, our most internationally-recognised and acclaimed soil scientist Dr Graham Sparling stated: “It’s a sobering thought that our entire high tech world is ultimately supported by life in the top 20cm of the soil”. This follows the idea the healthiest soils not only produce the most, but give the highest quality. But the proposition that growing less increases quality simply doesn’t wash; those growing the most pasture also produce the highest quality. There is a group of farmers whose production doesn’t fit current models; and for this growing number of elite farmers fertiliser nitrogen, when used, is applied sparingly and strategically. However, a product common to nearly all, where magnesium is required, is the application of dolomite. Farmers applying dolomite seldom treat animals for calcium/magnesium-related metabolic disorders, and because all health issues are linked their overall animal ill health costs are low, often very low. Production, both per animal and hectare, is also significantly higher than the district average. Dolomite, a naturally-occurring rock, contains 11.5 per cent magnesium and 24 per cent calcium – and it is this ratio that’s at the heart of the often extraordinary improvement in both animal and soil health, with the real value assessed from its performance, and purpose for which it is applied. The dollar cost of cows requiring veterinary treatment in spring is easily calculated, as is the value of a calf saved. Production increases are less easily figured, but the value is just as real. Dolomite contains both calcium and magnesium in the form of carbonate. The release rate is the same for both ensuring pasture during winter contains between 0.22 per cent and 0.25 per cent magnesium and close to 0.60 per cent calcium. Animals fully fed on pasture containing these levels seamlessly make the transition from pre-calving, where magnesium is essential, to post-calving when extra calcium is required. A single annual application of Golden Bay dolomite at 200kg/ha provides 23kg/ha magnesium. A sound maintenance rate for intensive dairy, and a similar rate once every second year to intensive sheep and beef breeding enterprises, provides outstanding cover. For more information, call Peter on 0800 436 566.

It’s not often govern legislation is celebrated but kiwifruit growers and industry leaders – past and present – gathered at Mount Maunganui on March 13 to mark the anniversary of a law many believe has been the industry’s saviour.

special legislation, others have petitioned the government for deregulation, and more recently for a review of the regulations. The New Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Board was established under the new regulations and today the marketing company Zespri has exclusive right to export New Zealand kiwifruit throughout the world, with the exception of Australia. It was 25 years in March New Zealand Kiwifruit since the establishGrowers Inc president ment of the industry’s Neil Trebilco says the single desk marketing industry owes much structure. This was to the pioneers who established, following had the foresight and pressure for change determination to push from growers, by the for the SPE regulations. Labour Government Thanks to those which agreed to give the regulations, kiwifruit is industry marketing regunow the most successful lations under the Primary Leo Mangos at the event horticultural industry in Industry Act. An order New Zealand. to celebrate the 25th in council was passed on “There are people who anniversary of the single March 6, 1989, and gazet- point of entry regulations. are trying to change the ted the following day. single desk structure. We Leo Mangos, one of the prime movers need to make sure we are militant in for restructuring, says in the 1980s support of it and explain the benefits of grower returns were suffering because the SPE to growers,” says Neil. seven exporters were competing against Zespri chairman Peter McBride says each other in the market place. “The the achievement of industry leaders who only thing they could compete on was convinced a Labour Government “hell price. bent on deregulation” to give the indus“At the time a good many people try its own regulations was significant called me a communist for trying to set and led to grower ownership of one of up a co-operative marketing organisathe world’s best-recognised fruit brands. tion,” says Leo. “Today there are two widely-recogLeo says it is important to celebrate nised fruit brands in China, Sunkist and the 25th anniversary to honour those Zespri.” who worked hard for change, but also Among the special guests were kiwito ensure the significance of what they fruit pioneers Roly and Irene Earp of Te achieved, what the regulations mean to Puna, who in 1959 were among the first growers, and to ensure the industry is growers to develop a kiwifruit orchard not forgotten. from farmland. However, the SPE under which Zespri Roly has written a book on the operates, is not universally popular. industry and a meeting room in Zespri’s Although growers voted by a strong Mount Maunganui offices is named majority, in a referendum to retain the in his honour.




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Future-proofed retirement village

Own your own at Aparangi Village The Te Kauwhata Retirement Trust Board has developed ‘Own Your Own Housing’ as a means of providing independence and security in housing at Aparangi Village for retired people who are financially able to house themselves. “The Trust owns the land on which your residential dwelling stands and you are issued with an occupation licence which sees you, in essence, treated as if you ‘own your own home’,” says Jackie Long of the Te Kauwhata Retirement Trust Board. “On termination of your occupation licence, you will receive a fair market price for your home [as agreed by you at the time] paid by an approved purchaser.” Most importantly, the dwelling, following either construction or purchase, is in all respects the property of the owner, as detailed in the occupation licence. The owner is responsible for maintenance, power and telephone charges, insurance and the upkeep of any garden immediately adjacent to the house. A weekly fee is charged by the Trust Board to the resident to cover a share of Waikato District Council and Environment Waikato general rates, lawn cutting, grounds maintenance and green waste collection, rubbish collection, water supply and street lighting, administration and Retirement Village Act compliance costs. This charge is reviewed each year by the trust board and is held to the minimum level possible. There are three ways in which ‘Own Your Own Housing’ may be purchased:

• Re-sale by existing residents. The trust board’s general manager holds a list of persons interested in purchasing a dwelling in this way. When a house becomes available for sale, interested parties are invited to inspect the house without obligation. • Building a new house on a vacant site. It is a condition of this arrangement the purchaser must submit drawings prepared by an architect or draughtsman for approval by the trust board. When choosing this option the purchaser is responsible for all payments against the building contract. • Choose a home from the design stage onward, when, from time to time, the trust board undertakes the building of new ‘Own Your Own Houses’. This relieves prospective residents from being involved with a building contract. On the sale of the ‘Own Your Own House’, the trust board acts for the resident, or the resident’s estate.

The opportunity is open now to build homes on land at Aparangi Village.

When Minister of Health Tony Ryall recently opened the newlyrefurbished apartments and redevelopment of Ocean Shores Village, it was the culmination of an arduous journey from leaky building problems to solutions for the Mount Maunganui retirement village. The apartment blocks have been future-proofed and the buildings brought up to current Building Code standards. Ocean Shores Village is a safe and

healthy place to live and the modernisation includes double-glazed windows to keep the apartments warm in summer and cool in winter. The redevelopment incorporates 84 apartments in two three-level buildings and a single-storey central building, housing the reception and common areas. It also has a pool building, which was demolished and rebuilt. The main building is part of an 8.5 hectare village that includes 124 quality and spacious villas. Now, living the retirement dream 300 metres from the beach in a luxury apartment is no longer out of reach.

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Dark perfect cover for crimes Autumn’s darker nights are seeing an increase in unwanted visitors around rural properties, with items going missing and fuel tank levels mysteriously dropping. Smartway Security is receiving more calls than ever before, requesting gate alerts and cameras on farming and rural properties, says managing director Roger Bull. Farms are moving to this type of higher technology to keep a track on what is going on, in and around their properties, says Roger. Smartway has the products available to attach to petrol and diesel tanks to alert

owners when fuel is being drawn from their tanks. Alarms alert to unwanted visitors around customers’ tools and implement sheds, cameras allow them to see footage, and GPS tracking devices can be installed on vehicles to check where they are in real time. “Now you can have a gate alert activated, get out your smartphone and look at the cameras to see areas that you can’t see from your windows,” says Roger. “Several farms have installed a PTZ [pan, tilt, zoom]Camera at a key point on their properties which has the capability to ‘see in the dark’ for up to 100m - even in pitch black.” This can be controlled remotely from your

Smartphone to zoom in on a particular area, building or track to see what is happening. The PTZ Smartway are certified camera with wireless data installers and infra-red can transmit data and illuminators Wi-Fi around the farm – can “see in even in the cows’ shed – to the dark”. keep customers connected. If you want to see for yourself what the future has in store - and what is available right now - give Roger at Smartway Security & Technologies a call and ask him to bring the CCTV Demonstration Truck around to show you the technology. Call 0800 936363 to book an appointment.

More mirrors on school buses improves safety Rural Women NZ is urging bus companies to follow the lead of Ritchies Transport, which installed extra mirrors on its buses following the 2012 death of a five-year-old West Coast boy as he was dropped off by a school bus operated by the company. An inquest into the death by Christchurch coroner Richard McElrea last month found the driver was unable to see down the full-length of the left-hand

side of the bus at the time of the accident. Since then extra mirrors have been retro-fitted to the company’s fleet to improve visibility for its drivers. Rural Women NZ national president Wendy McGowan says such blind spots are likely to be a problem with many school buses, “and we urge other companies to install extra mirrors where necessary to ensure there is good visibility down the full length of the bus”. Children are unpredictable, and as in this case, may step out on to the road, says Wendy. “The cost of retro-fitting mirrors is a small price to pay to keep children safer around

school buses and hopefully avoid a similar tragedy.” Rural Women NZ has long campaigned for better safety around school buses, with a

strong focus on raising awareness of the 20km/h speed limit in both directions when passing a bus stopped for children to get on or off.


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Woollen ‘duvets’ keep homes warm Winter is the season for putting extra covers on the beds – and it’s also the time when many homeowners install giant woollen ‘duvets’ in the ceilings to make their homes warmer too. Kane Burton-Brown, of Green Sheep Insulation Solutions, says the company’s 100 per cent natural sheep’s wool insulation called GreenWool is becoming increasingly popular for insulating in existing homes. “The average home loses 42 per cent of its heat through the ceiling. Our GreenWool insulation is installed by only approved installers, using a machine blowing technique that provides a full blanket effect. “It is important the entire area is covered in insulation with no gaps, and this product goes right to the edges, which ensures a total cover,” says Kane. The insulation is made from New Zealand sheep wool, which is cleaned and moth-proofed but has no other treatment or added fibres. “It is a high quality product available at a fair price. The machine installation process used takes advantage of wool’s natural

Kane Burton-Brown, of Green Sheep Insulation Solutions, with the company’s 100 per cent natural sheep’s wool insulation called GreenWool. bonding properties ensuring the product maintains its loft and will not shift. This provides a superior and long-lasting thermal insulating performance.” Kane says the wool is “pumped” into the roof cavity and installers “prod” it into place, ensuring it covers right to the edges. Unlike fibreglass products, wool will not release small fragments of fibre into the air which can trig-

ger allergic reactions in sensitive people. Wool does not produce toxic fumes; and unlike fibreglass, wool can easily be installed without any special safety equipment. “GreenWool insulation is very popular among farmers and people in rural areas who know and trust wool and readily understand its unique insulation properties. “It makes sense to use wool. Humans have been using it to keep warm for thousands of years and synthetic products are just attempting to copy what wool is naturally good at doing,” says Kane. Wool has the unique ability to moderate the humidity inside the home. When the external temperature drops and the amount of moisture in the air increases, wool absorbs this increase by keeping the indoor environment stable and comfortable. In summer wool helps to create a cooler, pleasant living environment, says Kane. Green Sheep Insulation Solutions offers free no obligation assessment. “We will assess your home and give you recommendations based on your needs.” The company also sells energysaving LED down lights and has HRV filter replacements, which can be bought online from its website.

Warm homes are healthy homes for families Winter is coming and now’s the time to make sure your home heating needs are sorted ready for whatever the weather or economy throws your way – because warm homes are healthy homes – according to Ngaire McClure of Far North-based Wagener Stoves. “Our company offers genuine NZ-made products with local back up and support; and 35 years’ experience in the heating industry,” says Ngaire. The cute Wagener Sparky is a compact wee fire which has created big interest nationwide. “Sparky literally ran out the door when he was launched in the middle of 2012 – and he’s proved very popular ever since.” The Butler Multi is the only modern-day chip heater on the local market and it delivers copious amounts of hot water, along with room heating and a cooking surface. “Visitors are always impressed with the Butlers’ performance and the luxury of long, hot showers in our remote Kiwi bach, not to mention good, old-fashioned steamed puddings The Wagener Sparky is and other treats off a compact fire, which is the stove top,” says proving very popular. Ngaire. The Butler Multi is also a perfect partner to solar systems. When the sun’s energy is low, the Butler will provide all the hot water you need. For a robust and affordable fire with a 35-year history of solid and reliable performance, you can’t go past the CookTop Wagener Stove, says Ngaire. “They can be found in DOC huts around the country, are a popular choice in rural areas and landlords love them too – as they can handle a few knocks, have a deep firebox for ‘man-sized’ logs and are definitely built to last.” And last but not least is the ultimate of solid fuel stoves – the Wagener Fairburn Cooker. “Let it become the heart of your home, keeping

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Page 56


Landscaping, plants, fish and birds at centre There’s a gardeners’ and pet lovers’ oasis tucked away just off State Highway 2 near Te Puna, north of Tauranga. Called Carine Garden Centre and Water World, it has the Bay of Plenty’s largest selection of water features, thousands of plants, trees and shrubs, tanks of brightly-coloured tropical fish and cages of chattering and singing birds.

Founded 20 years ago by John and Leonie Wild, Carine also specialises in landscaping with the expertise, materials and machinery to transform gardens of any size. Drive past the landscaping supplies – including piles of boulders, bins of soil, pebbles and metal at the entrance to the centre – and you’ll discover a world of unique quirky, clever and beautiful water features, and an extensive nursery area filled with plants, trees, shrubs and natives, many of which are quite rare. Particularly popular are Carine’s raised garden beds; ideal for those who find gardening at ground level too tough. Inside there are banks of tropical and cold water fish tanks. Plus, a tropical fish expert from the UK is on hand to give advice on keeping them. There are aviaries full of birds, and again advice about caring for them is available. To house or transport pets, there is a wide range of cages, kennels and beds, pet foods and accessories, including those for cats and dogs. Carine’s botanical design consultant Stuart Robertson can create plans for new or renovated gardens, from urban to rural, large of small. “We can design a plan and carry out the work, or prepare plans clients can follow over time, as funds allow,” says Stuart. Glenn Sutton is the hard landscaping manager and

Talk to Carine Garden Centre and Water World about Landscaping, plants, fish or birds. approaching, Carine also has a supply engineer, with skills and knowledge to of shed-dried firewood and dry top soil, operate machinery needed to create or which can be delivered or clients can use transform any garden. the company’s courtesy trailers. Carine has designed and constructed There’s a gallery of images of water many of the district’s premiere gardens features and pots available and landscapand its team is available to carry out ing projects on the website: work from Thames to Whakatane, Rotorua to Hamilton. With winter

Protecting natural features assists subdivision qualification Can I subdivide my land? It’s a question I’m regularly asked by rural landowners in the Western Bay. In response I must ask them where precisely their property lies, as it makes a huge difference. Things have changed radically from five years ago, when most areas of the district operated under the same rules. Today, the majority of properties qualifying for subdivision into small rural blocks are located in the Minden Lifestyle zone. The Stage 2 area has reached its limit of 30 sites allowed and is now on hold, pending the Tauranga Northern Link. However, plenty of potential exists in the Stage 1 areas, where lifestyle lots appear to be selling well. New lots generally need to be about 3000 square metres but can go as low as 2500m2 if owners have structure plan walkways/cycleways or greenlanes shown on their properties. Subdivisions throughout the Minden zone are required to be carried out in conjunction with either protection of an ecological feature (on-site or off-site), amalgamation of two existing lots, or by transferring a subdivision right existing under the previous district plan in the rural zone. The donor lots for amalgamations and subdivision rights must be located in the rural zone of WBOP district. Many older blocks have these subdivision rights and can now only benefit from them by selling to owners located in the lifestyle zone. If your property is located in the rural zone, you now have very limited opportunities to subdivide compared to what you once enjoyed. If you’re lucky enough to have more than one certificate of title, you

can potentially make a boundary adjustment between them to create a small block – you can also adjust boundaries with neighbours. If you have more than 12ha of horticultural land, you may be able to use the new six hectare horticultural lot rule. Otherwise, it really comes down to ecological protection lots. Under this rule, you’re rewarded with a subdivision in return for protecting a feature of value to the community. Good archaeological, historical and ecological sites qualify but it’s mainly the ecological ones that get protected. For example, protecting a wetland area of at least half a hectare – about one acre – can produce an additional subdivision lot. If you have at least 250m of stream running through your land, you also potentially qualify for a lot. Areas of scrub or bush also qualify, depending on their size and significance. Other areas such as Thames-Coromandel, Waikato, Waipa, 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 rule 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 you wish to clarify any subdivision strategies mentioned, please don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’m happy to discuss the situation with you, to see if it’s worth pursuing. Brent Trail, managing director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. For further information, call 0800 268 632 or email:


Water quality from four angles Professor Jacqueline Rowarth expects some creative thinking when a conservationist, a farmer, an economist and a cultural consultant get together to discuss the state of this nation’s waterways on Saturday, May 31, at the Escape! festival in Tauranga. “Getting different approaches to the problem is a great way to sort out the way forward,” says Jacqueline, who will chair the ‘Cry Me a River’ event. “The panellists are all leaders in their fields and while I’m sure they’ll want the audience to be entertained, they will also want to present cogent arguments.” The panel comprises of Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills, economist Rod Oram, conservationist Craig Potton and Tauranga cultural consultant Antoine Coffin. Jacqueline, professor of agribusiness at Waikato University and a media commentator, says research data shows rivers in New Zealand are frequently better now than they were in the 1950s – while last year Lake Rotoiti hit its water-quality target for the first time in decades, thanks to remedial work. However, the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright released a report in November warning New Zealand’s water quality could get worse by 2020 if the dairy industry continued to boom without implementing new technologies. In February she also warned Government proposals for minimum standards in freshwater management were not adequate for protecting water quality. It is through this thicket of information, claim and counter-claim, that Jaqueline will attempt to guide the

panel and inform the audience. “We all want a good outcome,” says Jaqueline. “We are Team NZ with an environmentally-protected and economically-productive New Zealand as the goal.” Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills, who farms sheep and beef in Hawke’s Bay, jumped at the chance of appearing on the panel. Bruce says water quality is “a critical issue” for Federated Farmers. “It may not seem like it in the political miasma water can create, but new systems of farming, new pasture varietals, better stock genetics and even insects, like the dung beetle, present the means to meet our nitrogen challenge.” But it’s not only water quality that’s occupying Bruce, it’s also water quantity. “What keeps me awake at night is the uncertainty around whether we are able to keep up our food production with a world population expected to hit 9.3 billion in 2050. “Water is a key part of New Zealand meeting this growing demand for food.” Last year he attended the World Water Week conference in Stockholm, probably the only farmer among 2700 delegates, “who looked at me in complete disbelief when I said that we let 95 per cent of our rainfall run out to sea unused”. Escape! is the first off-year event from the Tauranga Arts Festival and has a focus on books, featuring writers and performance. Cry Me a River is on 7.30pm Saturday, May 31, ASB Baycourt, costing $25. Tickets on sale from April 30 at the ASB Baycourt box office, or phone 0800 842 538. Find the full festival programme at

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Natural compounds for high cholesterol A clinical trial into tangerine and red palm extract is for me one of the most important studies into natural support for cardiovascular health.

A study called Citrus Flavonoids and Tocotrienols for Hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) by Rosa, Xian-Lu and Guthrie, 2007 identifies the cardiovascular benefits of a patented combination of these extracts. This was a high quality double-blind placebo controlled trial, with the objective to see if these compounds have any effect on blood cholesterol and other heart risk factors. The study involved 120 otherwise healthy people, with high cholesterol. They were divided into two groups. Group one was given a tangerine flavone extract combined with the palm fruit extract Tocomin; and group two was given a placebo

(sugar pill). After 12 weeks all groups were given a blood test. The results shows, on average, those receiving the active ingredients reduced total cholesterol by 27 per cent. This was reflected in a reduction of potentially dangerous low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 25 per cent, with a small increase of beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol of four per cent. Triglycerides are the transported fat from excess calories and can lead to heart disease; and these reduced by 31 per cent. Many people have been prescribed cholesterol-lowering medications called statins. These are very effective at reducing cholesterol, as they inhibit the liver enzyme needed to create cholesterol. However, this same enzyme is needed for critically-important co enzyme

Q10. By reducing CoQ10, statins can cause many side effects, such as fatigue and muscle pain. I recommend most people on statins take CoQ10 as CoQsol but please call me to see if this is right for you. There is a large group of people who can’t tolerate statins, and another group who prefer to use non-drug solutions to improve heart health. The compounds in the above trial are now available to the public. Give me call if you’d like more information. To join my weekly newsletter, go to: www.abundant. and click on ‘weekly email newsletter’.

John Arts (B.Soc.Sci, Dip Tch, Adv.Dip.Nut. Med), is a nutritional therapist and founder of Abundant Health Ltd. Contact John on 0800 423559 or email: Join his weekly newsletter at: For product information visit:

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Trees for Bees conference for arboretum Beekeepers, farm foresters and other land administrators are expected to converge on Eastwoodhill Arboretum in May for the second Trees for Bees conference.

Expert speakers include Landcare Research scientist Dr Linda NewstromLloyd from the Trees for Bees NZ programme, landowners, beekeepers, scientists and policy makers engaged in planting to improve bee health. This year’s programme, on May 9-10, will showcase the progress made in identifying the best plants to nourish bees. Collecting data on which trees are best for bees at It will present several case studies of Eastwoodhill Arboretum, Gisborne. plantings by landowners aiming to gain “Eastwoodhill has provided a wealth of new tree and more bees, improving pollination and honey harvestshrub species for analysing protein in pollen,” says ing. Information on the biology of bees and their need Linda. “As a result, we’ve added a large number of for protein-rich pollen will be presented along with ways to remedy the problems of severe pollen shortages new species to our New Zealand bee plant list, giving landowners greater choice.” at critical times of the year. To find out more, go to Such pollen shortages cause bee colonies to decline.

Thermography alterative for breast screening Many women are reluctant to attend a breast screening.


The results can be scary, the procedure itself can be extremely painful, and there is some concern that accumulative effects of X-ray radiation from mammograms is contributing to the very condition it is aimed at detecting, says Truly Godfrey from Clinical Thermography Ltd Tauranga. “Maybe it’s time to investigate other options. Thermography is another method of analysing breast tissue. Whereas a mammogram or an ultrasound measure physical anatomy of breast tissue (detecting different densities), infra-red thermal images measure the heat from metabolic activity. “Just like a mole-map monitors skin changes, thermal imaging monitors the blood vessel patterns in a woman's breasts.” Thermography has had an interesting journey in NZ. Dr Mike Godfrey introduced the technology in 2002 after a patient mentioned it. Truly had travelled to Australia for her first thermogram and suggested he do it here. Mike says, although it is not yet accepted by most radiologists trained in mammography, modern computerised thermography is gaining ground especially as limita-

tions and risks associated with mammographic screening are raised internationally. Results from a German study in 2013 show thermograms are more sensitive and specific in detecting breast cancer. In a study of 114 women, thermal analysis identified all of the Thermal imaging monitors the blood vessel cases of cancer mampatterns in a woman’s breasts and is an mographic detection also alternative to x-ray examinations. identified. the infra-red camera in an air conThermal imaging also ditioned room for 20 minutes. picked up two cases (confirmed by The female technician takes a biopsy findings) missed by mamseries of images before and after mograms, says Truly. a 10 minute period of cooling. “While this study is encouragBecause the breast tissue cools ing, and the findings have been significantly, a ratio of temperature published in a text book, more research is needed, on a larger scale, change is established. Areas of heat that don’t cool are before the NZ Ministry of Health thermally abnormal. The images will accept thermography as a valid are analysed by a trained doctor screening method. who will then provide a report with “Women may want more choice recommendations. in their breast health journey but Because there is no squeezing of for now they will need to choose a breast tissue, it is a less invasive private service to access thermogexam process, and women of all raphy.” ages can do it. Clinical Thermography Ltd is Ideally women will choose to based in Tauranga. Two trained establish their base-line blood vessel technicians travelling to different cities have now provided the service pattern early in their 20s. This pattern normally remains to more than 4000 women. constant, and can be used for comThermographic examinations parisons later in life. involve sitting topless in front of


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Love is nurturing Marie’s heritage roses The wafting perfumes of more than 700 heritage rose varieties signify how much Mike Philo’s late wife Marie loved her Ongare Point garden. But despite admitting he doesn’t share Marie’s appreciation for the beautiful, petal-curled flowers – he’s still going to keep her garden growing. Mike says Marie’s interest in heritage roses sprouted from a couple of wellknown rose growers in Taranaki. “She got to know them and bought her first rose from them. “That is when she really got serious about growing roses.” Moving to Ongare Point Rd in 1991 from Taranaki’s Egmont Village – Marie, who grew heritage roses for more than 40 years, insisted her heritage roses came with her. “She bought trailer-loads up,” says Mike. “She drove about four trailerloads up behind her car – she couldn’t

leave them behind.” Mike met Marie in London in 1958 and married her one year later before they lived together in America and moved to New Zealand to first settle in Auckland’s Howick then Taranaki; retiring in the Bay of Plenty. The 76-year-old explains that his late

Marie Philo in her Ongare Point garden

wife, who was known for her heritage roses, had been growing them since the 1970s. “I have certificate somewhere round here of her winning Queen of the Show [for best rose] in Auckland in 1985.” Once living in the Western Bay, Marie’s rose garden grew in size – and so did her contact with growers in the region and abroad. Local visitors joined those from Northland, Hawke’s Bay, Taranaki; and overseas guests from America, Australia and England came to see Marie’s garden. Asked why Marie chose to love heritage roses, Mike reckons she loved their unique perfumes. “Modern roses just don’t have the perfume that heritage roses do.” By Merle Foster

Employment Law Services

Ongare Point resident Mike Philo in his late wife Marie’s heritage rose garden, which he is now looking after.

Health and safety changes New Zealand’s biggest health and safety reform in 20 years is one step closer.

The object of the changes is to improve New Zealand’s appalling record in workplace safety. The independent taskforce, set up following the Pike River tragedy, reviewed the state of New Zealand’s workplace safety and identified health and safety needs to be driven from the very top. The Health and Safety in Employment Act is to be replaced with the Health and Safety at Work Act, which will come into force April 2015. It imposes a due diligence role on directors of a company, or on any person who occupies a position comparable to that of a director. In addition, the act imposes duties on “any other person who makes, or participates in making; decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business”. The penalties increase too, up to $600,000 or five years imprisonment

– or both – for individuals. Businesses can be fined up to a whopping $3 million. The new act also increases the duty to consult with workers on health and safety matters, particularly about the adequacy of the safety facilities. Plus, consultation is necessary when proposing changes in the business that may affect the health and safety of workers. Workers are also permitted to refuse to carry out work that may expose them or another person to a serious health and safety risk. In summary, the changes in health and safety are all about personal liability. Do something now to make sure you and your business are compliant to prevent any exposure for your business. If you have any employment or HR queries you would like assistance with, please email Wendy directly at 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.

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Sponsors sought for Tuakau A brother’s story of war Ambulance charity dinner

Another charity dinner and auction to raise funds for the Tuakau ambulance station will take place at the Cosmopolitan Club on Tuesday, June 17 – and to make it happen a lot of sponsorship is needed. The evening will also celebrate 50 years of Tuakau Rotary in the community, and needs community support to be a success says Tuakau Rotary Club president Richard Gree. The five-course dinner needs principal sponsors and individuals or businesses can also contribute to promotional costs, or be a donor of an item to be auctioned

off on the night. The menu sponsorship is recognised on the ticket, posters, website, screen and announcements on the evening. Menu stages include canapés, appetisers, soup, main, desert and cheese board. Tuakau Grain, Mercer Cheese and Fonterra are sponsoring a course each for an investment of $2000. The Tuakau Cosmopolitan Club is donating use of its venue and is sponsoring welcome drinks. Everyone attending gets a numbered ticket and an auction placemat, with a list of auction items. Contributions are welcome to sponsor the printing and/or promotion at an investment of $1000. Auction items are welcome and donors get recognition on the auction placemat and at the time of auction on screen and in pre-promotion, on tickets and emails. “The ambulance station development started at this dinner last year and much progress has been made; funds raised so far stand at $40,000,” says Richard. “The total cost is likely to be close to $400,000 for the building and fit-out of the first response vehicle and full ambulance vehicle, and fit-out of the ambulance station building. We need this facility in Tuakau desperately.” A first response four wheel drive vehicle has been set aside by St John, and is currently being fitted out with gear, with volunteers being trained. It’s hoped the vehicle will start operations in a few weeks’ time. A place to safely store it has been found and plans are underway for a building site for the eventual building of a permanent station. Tickets for the charity dinner cost $130 for two people, and participation is limited to 150. The night will also celebrate the fact Rotary has been part of the Tuakau community for the last 50 years. To sponsor, buy tickets, or donate items for the auction, please contact any members of Tuakau Rotary or Tuakau Rotary president Richard Gee on 0274 720410 or 09 236 9414 or email

“War is certainly not the great adventure I thought it would be,” writes Private James Duncan, from Gallipoli, to his younger brother Tom.

Those poignant words are in stark contrast to Jim’s first postcard, in which he describes training in Egypt as “a great adventure”. Author Glyn Harper and illustrator Jenny Cooper have combined to create a beautiful and moving book called ‘Jim’s Letters’ published by Penguin Books, which brings alive something of the realities of World War 1 for younger readers. Well-researched, the book takes readers into the lives of Jim Duncan, serving overseas with the army and younger brother Thomas, at home on the farm, through postcards and letters they exchanged. Readers can open letters attached to some pages, illustrating what’s happening at the time of writing. The story ends with Tom’s last letter to Jim – one Tom knows his brother will never read. To bring further reader understanding, the book includes information about The Gallipoli Campaign and the meaning of Anzac Day. With the approaching centenary of the landing of Anzac Troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, 1915, this book is a timely and acces-

‘Jim’s Letters’ is the book prize for May.

sible way to ensure young readers remember the sacrifices servicemen made. Thanks to Puffin Books, Coast & Country has a copy of ‘Jim’s Letters’ to give away. To be in to win, email your name and address, with ‘Jim’s Letters’ as the subject, to: Or put these details on the back of an envelope and post to: Coast & Country Book Prize, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110, to arrive no later than May 17. The winner will be announced in Coast & Country’s June issue.


Threeshot rule for duck shooters Game bird hunters have been given a timely reminder of the ‘three-shot’ rule that applies to shotguns being used in the AucklandWaikato Fish and Game region. The new game bird hunting season is now underway and hunters in the Auckland-Waikato region must have their magazine shotguns plugged so the gun is holding no more than three shots total. The magazine must not hold more than two rounds of any size, plus one more in the breech – three in all. And the rule applies for all waterfowl, including pukeko. Southern game bird manager David Klee says it is recognised bag limits and season-length are both relatively blunt tools when it comes to regulating harvest, so other initiatives are being tried to help reduce pressure on the duck population. “It is also hoped that hunters will be more thoughtful of exactly when they squeeze the trigger, given they now have less shots to fire. “We had a lot of positive feedback regarding the new rule last year, with hunters commenting ‘sky busting’ was less prevalent, and many commented that having less shots actually improved their shooting as they took more time to ensure good shot placement.” David says last season too many hunters were caught with ‘unplugged’ shotguns, in spite of a great deal of

send in an old band – IF they give the year it was shot. For information on Banding Together, visit http://hunting.

River islands

publicity surrounding the introduction of the new rule. “We will take a hard line this season as there is simply no excuse,” says David. Guns can be plugged with a removable plastic filler which doesn’t require a gunsmith to install semi-permanent pins and rivets. “But if you don’t have the original filler-plug your shotgun came with, they’re easy enough to make using a piece of doweling. Or a gunsmith can do the job for you.” Unpinned magazine shotguns can be used in all of Fish and Game’s other 11 regions. This year the game bird season for mallard and grey duck in the Auckland-Waikato region has been extended to end on Queen’s Birthday Monday. “Pukeko can be hunted to August 24, so we urge hunters to target them to extend their game bird hunting – and in doing so help more ducklings survive next spring,” says David. If you get a banded bird, send the band details to your local Fish and Game office to be eligible for great prizes donated by Hunting and Fishing New Zealand. The company has weighed in with support for Fish and Game’s banding programme, with the offer of five of its Hunting and Fishing New Zealand Shearwater Gen II waterfowling jackets; hunters who return their band information by August 31, 2014, go in the draw to win one. Fish and Game wants new bands but hunters can

Saddlery business continues to grow Hoofcamp Saddlery at Whakatane, now into its sixth year of business, is constantly increasing its range of products and services. “New suppliers are coming on board to enhance our wide range of gear, equipment, products and supplements for your horses,” says co-owner Kathryn Dick. “Our large second-hand corner with saddles and everything equestrian has reached the 2000 items listed on the books to sell on behalf. This service takes all the hassle out of dealing with buyers for the private person selling gear. “We deal with all the questions and make the sale for you. You just come in and collect your payment after the item is sold.” Hoofcamp has winter rugs in now, featuring the new style

Horze rug. This rug has been ranked best rug from a range of brands. It has no gap in the front of the neck and chest area, so keeps the horse dryer and warmer in the cold months, with extra allowance in the neck and wither area to prevent rubbing. It’s well shaped for a perfect fit with a strong 1200 denier outer for strength and waterproof-ability. The variation of fills are 100g, 200g and 300g weights, priced from $179- $199 for a top quality combo horse cover. “We now also stock the new Cavallino Ultra Grip Breeches. These are a great design and already are racing out the door for the up-and-coming hunt

season,” says Kathryn. “This range includes a men’s breech, in three colour shades. If you want a good grip in your saddle on the hunt field, don’t miss out on your chance to wear this great new style.” Hoofcamp’s workshop is busier than ever with everything imaginable coming in for repairs, says Kathryn. “Anything that needs a heavy duty machine, stitching, rivets, domes, clips, buckles or zips, we can do. Horse cover repairs are a specialty.” There a great special of $400 off any new Western saddle and a horse feed special of $10 off selected bags of feed. Some are going out the door at cost price, says Kathryn.

The two Waikato River islands upstream of the Rangiriri Bridge and adjacent to Te Onetea Stream (currently known as the ‘Maurea Islands’) were returned to Waikato Tainui by the Department of Conservation, as part of the Waikato River Settlement in 2010. They are now the focus of a long-term restoration project funded by the Waikato River Authority and WCEET, and project-managed by the Waikato Raupatu River Trust, NIWA, and Landcare Research (Department of Conservation,

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Waikato Regional Council and local marae are supporting this kaupapa). Throughout the duck hunting season this area of the Waikato River will be staffed during week days by contractors undertaking weed clearance other work, in addition to weekend planting groups operating on both islands. It is crucial hunters operating on or near the islands, or along the river, are aware of people there. Hunters are urged to double-check their firing zone before firing shotguns. If you have any queries, contact Julian Williams or Cheri van SchravendijkGoodman at the Waikato Raupatu River Trust on 07 858 0400, or the Fish and Game Office on 07 8491666.


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To list your rura for free please l event, email: .n Rural Event in z with th subject heading. e

trades & services personal

cars wanted

Monday, May 12:

Tokoroa Employers Group Tokoroa Club, Tokoroa 10.30am-1pm. Come and join a like-minded group to talk about people management on your farm. If you have staff and want to learn some different tips and techniques and hear about what others have done, then this is for you. Topics will be advised closer to the time. Please note RSVP is required before the event. Call Amy Johnson 0274 832 205 or email:


trades & services Keep your cows in milk over summer Plan your summer crops now • Pasture Sprayout

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Cultivation & Seeding



Tuesday, May 13:

Direct Drilling

We do the complete job.

Otorohanga Employers Group St John Station, Kakamutu Rd, Otorohanga 10.30am-1pm. Come and join a like-minded group to talk about people management on your farm. If you have staff and want to learn some different tips and techniques and hear about what others have done, then this is for you. Topics will be advised closer to the time. Please note RSVP is required before the event. Call Amy Johnson 0274 832 205 or email:


runon listings



Book early—Call us on 07 549 1075

for sale

PULLETS Hy-line Brown, great layers. Phone 07 824 1762 ONLY $20+gst for 20 words. Ph Aimee-Leigh 07 928 3042 today.


CONTROL YOUR CHOOKS. No post’s, free standing fencing easily moved. Visit the website or Ph Alan 027 432 1133

wanted to rent

HOLIDAY HOME WANTED to rent Waihi Beach. Approx Dec 28th - Jan 3rd. Careful family of eight (Mum & Dad, three school age children, two Aunties, one Grandma plus one well behaved small white dog). On or close to beach. Ph Jean Chalton 09 5348018 or email

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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


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ckey, with a five-mon th-old lamb called Miss Cu rley. She loves her bottle and ar rowroot biscuits. Sent in by J Lowe.

doing a umbal, four, R n so ck Ja n ay in This is our so ing with Ruby the huntaw ll ia Jackson. bit of dog tr Sent from Faith Taumarunui.

TC the cat, Sharnae, Nakesha – and ns. enjoying their new chicke


Pictures and details can be emailed (high resolution jpgs)


“Country Camera” or posted to Coast & Country, PO Box 240, Tauranga. Please include a name, address and phone number with every entry.

Nirvana Shaw, catching the full moon as it rises over Maramarua. Sent in by Kylie Edwards.

Sent in by Ann Herod

Tom, two, playing at helping his dad chop firewood. Sent in by Charlotte Mogg.

Coast & Country News May 2014  

Coast & Country News May 2014