Page 1

Golden harvest First Fresh technical manager Matthew Carter with navel oranges ready for packing at NZ Fruits’ post-harvest facility in Gisborne. See story on page 4-5. Photo by Elaine Fisher.

Whakatohea Mussels PAGE 6-7


Tauranga A&P PAGE 20

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Baypark Speedway PAGE 25

Waikato/Sth Auckland PAGE 27-29

Moutohora Island PAGE 36-37

Avocados PAGE 42-45



Sheep & Beef PAGE 46-47

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Page 2


Ocean helping Opotiki’s wave of reinvention It’s not often a community has the chance to reinvent itself, but that’s exactly what Opotiki in the Eastern Bay of Plenty is doing – and the ocean is providing the impetus. The Eastern Seafarms mussel farm 8.5km offshore from the small rural community has produced its first commercial harvests and the big, clean, sweet tasting shellfish have proved a real hit with consumers. Only a fraction of the 3800 hectare farm is currently developed and, along with that future potential and plans for the town’s harbour, the district is poised for new economic prosperity. The driving force behind the sea farm is Whakatohea

Trust, with strong support from the Opotiki District Council and the wider community, including individuals and businesses who have invested money into the venture – see pages 6-7. A harbour navigable at all tides will obviously benefit more than the marine farm operators. It will open up potential for tourism and increased recreational boating too. Opotiki Mayor John Forbes – surely one of the region’s biggest advocates – also believes other marine life may have economic potential. His vision includes the district becoming known for its own special signature dish – surf clams, served exclusively in restaurants throughout the region. These are all big plans for a small region of just 8973 people. It’s a district much in need of an economic boost. While 5.9 per cent of the working age people were unemployed in 2013 – comparable with the national

average – incomes are low. The median income was $20,700 in 2013 compared with $28,500 nationally. Government assistance for the harbour redevelopment is vital but the returns on that investment in terms of increased employment will be significant. What is even more important is enhancing pride and confidence in themselves and their community for those who call Opotiki home. No doubt funding for the new harbour will be on the Christmas wish list for many in Opotiki, and the fulfilment of Fonterra’s $6 kg/ ms payout prediction will be on dairy farmers’ list too. On mine is a wish for a summer of sunshine and rain so our farmers and orchardists enjoy enough of both to keep their pastures, livestock and crops in healthy production. We also wish all are readers safe and happy holidays and a prosperous 2017. Elaine Fisher


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F4PC - council dispute chair’s statements Waikato Regional Council chairperson Alan Livingston is refuting claims he has “made misleading statements and shown arrogance to and a disregard for farming families and rural communities over the significant adverse impacts council’s Plan Change 1 will have on them” made by Rick Burke, chair of Farmers for Positive Change Wai Ora Waipa-Waikato – also known as F4PC. “To his credit Alan was at the meeting we held at Te Kuiti in November, attended by around 170 farmers, but it was the statements he made at the end of the meeting which has farmers ropable,” says Rick. “Alan told the meeting that the Collaborative Stakeholders Group reached a unanimous agreement on the plan change and that was absolutely untrue. James Bailey, who was the drystock farmers’ representative on the group, refused to sign off on the CSG decision – so it was clearly not unanimous. “Also in his address to the Te Kuiti meeting Alan attempted to ‘dumb down’ the effects of the plan change on farmers and rural communities.” Alan disputes those statements. “There’s no way I would have tried to convey the impression that all sectors on the Collaborative Stakeholder Group reached unanimous agreement on the plan change. “I know very well this is not true. I may well have said the CSG is united in its commitment to achieve the vision and strategy for the Waikato and Waipa rivers. But clearly there was some disagreement within the CSG about how best to do this through the plan change. “What I know I said was that there was not total agreement as some sectors, including sheep and beef, voted against aspects of the plan. I specifically acknowledged James Bailey and Graham Gleeson from the sheep and beef sector for the work that they did and that there were aspects of the plan that they didn’t support.

requires us to collectively take action to achieve, over time, the goal of them being safe for swimming and food gathering over their entire lengths,” says Alan. However, Rick, who is sticking by his statement, says Alan and other Waikato Regional Council councilors fail to understand the significant financial and emotional impacts of the plan change – which F4PC says is “grandparenting” and effectively rewards the polluters and disadvantages drystock farmers.

Nasty implications

“The nasty implication of grandparenting infiltrates right through the plan and has created the whole negative impact to it. If that aspect of the plan change was removed, then I believe all sectors, including council, could sit down to talk and reach agreement on the rest of the plan. “Alan Livingston claims the CSG process was a wonderful success, but in fact it failed because it was not collaborative. It was not signed off by all parties. “Hence the reaction to Plan Change 1 [also known as PC1]. F4PC, with increasing farmers’ support, will go outside the normal rules of engagement and do whatever it takes to ensure we protect sustainable farm systems, families, communities and the environment.” The biggest concern for F4PC relating to PC1 is around the approach to managing nitrogen, which sees nitrogen discharges capped at 2014-2015 or 20152016 levels. Rick says this method allows the larger dischargers of nitrogen to carry on as normal and not address their environmental impacts. Whereas low emitters of nitrogen, mainly drystock farmers, will be capped at low levels with little flexibility to alter their farming systems to remain profitable. “This principle has created a negative culture across farming communities from day one; it incentivises perverse behaviour such as gaming of the system and increasing contaminant losses, while pitching dairy

against drystock farming, when in fact we should be all working together to achieve the vision and strategy of

Healthy Rivers.” (See additional stories pages 8-9). Elaine Fisher

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River protection

“As a drystock farmer in the Waipa catchment, and with a relatively large number of waterways on my property, I am well aware of what the physical and financial implications might be,” says Alan. “We strongly urge all sectors to submit on the proposed plan change to make their views known so that we get the best possible final plan change. Farmers and others in the rural sector shouldn’t be shy about giving us their views. “But the reality is the rivers do need protection and the legallybinding Vision and Strategy

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. The electorate office will be closed from Thursday 24th December and will reopen again on Wednesday 13th January 2016.

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New ‘track and trace’ system speeds post-harvest processes The sweet smell and bright colours of oranges and lemons dominate NZ Fruits’ packhouse in Gisborne during the citrus harvest season.




Thousands of oranges floating in a water bath or travelling along a conveyor, lemons on grading tables or cascading gently down to an automatic packaging machine and bins full of freshly-picked fruit create an almost festive atmosphere in the facility that handles about 50 per cent of the national citrus crop and 65 per cent of the national persimmon crop. One of its shareholders and its largest customers is First Fresh, which is also one of New Zealand’s largest citrus suppliers to the domestic market and exports Gisborne citrus to the world. The quality of the produce supplied by its Gisborne growers has enabled the company to build export

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relationships in a wide range of countries. As a result, almost every day somewhere in the world, someone is enjoying a slice of Gisborne fruit. When Coast & Country News visited the NZ Fruits post-harvest facility in earlyNovember the company had just introduced a new track and trace system, which has done away with hand-written documents â&#x20AC;&#x201C; instead its uses barcodes and electronic scanning systems.

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Among those enthusiastic about the change is Justice Anderson, whose role is to document every pallet of fruit. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great and so much quicker than writing everything by hand,â&#x20AC;? says Justice. First Fresh technical manager Matthew Carter says the transition to the new system went well and it will be used across all the product groups the packhouse handles. These include citrus, kiwifruit and persimmons. ...continued


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Lemons ready for packing at NZ Fruits packhouse.

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Page 5

Sending ‘a slice of Gisborne’ to the world continued...

Gisborne is the first region in New Zealand to begin kiwifruit harvesting each season and about 80 per cent of the region’s supply is packed at NZ Fruits. First Fresh markets green and gold kiwifruit not required by Zespri for the domestic market and ships Class II green kiwifruit to Australia. Oranges and lemons packed for the First Fresh brand bound for New Zealand supermarkets.

First Gold

First Fresh has led the development of a new variety of gold kiwifruit marketed under the First Gold brand. It was bred by a well-known kiwifruit plant breeder Don Skelton and is characterised by its early maturity and colour, making it an ideal variety to grow in Gisborne. First Gold has been marketed collaboratively with Zespri into a limited number of Asian markets, where it has rated well in consumer trials. Further development and expansion into other markets is planned as the volume increases. First Gold is also marketed in Australia and New Zealand. Because of the diverse range of produce NZ Fruits packs, its packhouse and coolstores are kept busy yearround and are well-equipped to handle that diversity. The post-harvest facility has four, two and one-lane Compac grading lines, forced air pre-cooling and conventional coolstorage, dedicated citrus

de-greening facilities and a large prepacking facility for domestic supply.

Small to large growers

The company works with about 150 local horticulturalists, from small ‘Ma and Pa’ and lifestyle growers to large corporate and trust orchards. “Most of the produce to be packed arrives by the truck load but some of our growers deliver just a bin or two. All the fruit receives the same attention no matter how much or how little,” says Matthew.

Holly Galloway, 6, with navel oranges from her family’s orchard delivered for packing at NZ Fruits in Gisborne.



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Large, succulent ocean-grown mussels harvested from New Zealand’s first offshore farm by Whakatōhea Mussels represent more than a tasty treat – this special kaimoana is set to bring a healthy boost to Opotiki economy, employment and optimism. The Whakatōhea mussels harvested this October from the Open Ocean Farm, 8.5km offshore from the East Coast community were so popular locals queued in supermarket aisles to buy them. “Delays in harvesting meant the mussels grew too big for export. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to sell our mussels on the local market,” says Eastern Sea Farms Ltd and Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board chairman Robert Edwards, who is director of Whakatōhea Mussel Ōpōtiki Ltd, a company tasked

water space, was made. with operating and develResource consent was oping the mussel Farm. finally granted in The first harvest 2008 for 20 years, was 30 tonnes, folwith the right to lowed by a further renewal. So far, 20 tonnes. Howresearch into how ever, fans of the to farm offshore has Whakatōhea mussel been carried out in must wait a while for conjunction with the their next taste of the Cawthron Institute. delicacy. Robert says the chal“In 2017, WMOL will harvest 12 lines. How we Eastern Sea Farms Ltd lenges of the operation and Whakatōhea Māori have led to a number of proceed with this crop Trust Board chairman is still to be decided by innovations for which Robert Edwards. WMOL,” says Robert, the trust has intellectual who was aboard the property rights. ‘Northern Quest’ to bless and return Unlike in-shore mussel farms, Eastto the sea, the first mussels harvested. ern Sea Farms has a limited number of Opotiki Mayor John Forbes is buoys floating on the surface. Instead, among the fans of the mussel, which some are submerged to reduce the were distributed and sold in Foodimpact of ocean swells. Navigation stuffs Ltd stores throughout the North beacons signal the farm’s location to passing vessels. Island under the OPEN OCEAN brand. “They are big, fat, clean mussels Mussel spat with bright green shells and have a “When the buoys sink too low great taste – probably because they are because of the weight of mussels, grown in the open ocean,” says John. we send divers down to attach more buoys to hold them at the right level,” says Robert. Largest farm The farm’s operators have also The farm is the largest consented water space in New Zealand. Growing developed unique systems for catching mussel spat, including special spat mussels in the open ocean at a depth lines to seed the farm and sell to other of up to 35 metres has not been done operators. So too have they refined in this country before, and it’s taken the process of harvesting spat and re15 years to bring home the first comseeding the farm’s lines with juvenile mercial harvest. mussels. The project began in 2001 when the continued... application for consent, to farm the


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Page 7

Goal – providing food for the world ...continued

Robert says the farm has faced numerous obstacles, including gaining consent to farm the waters and raising the required capital. The grounding of the container vessel the Rena on Astrolabe Reef offshore from Tauranga in October 2011 was another spanner in the works. It meant mussels on the farm had to be removed and returned to the sea instead of harvested because of the risk of contamination. Eastern Seafarms had been reliant on Sanfords to harvest the mussels, but this year WMOL leased, and then purchased, the $2.3 million purpose-built vessel ‘Northern Quest’. “This has made a huge difference to our operation because we can now harvest and service the farm ourselves. We will be adding extra equipment to the vessel for mussel grading and re-seeding,” says Robert.

Northern Quest

Northern Quest was built by Challenge Marine in Nelson and launched in 2009. It is 29.9m – or 100 feet – long and 8.22 metres – or 30 feet – wide. Two moorings have been installed in the Whakatane Harbour where the Northern Quest will be based until the Opotiki Harbour entrance is opened. The vessel also has a mooring in the Coromandel where it will continue to do contract work when it is not

required in the Eastern Bay. Robert says the re-development of the Opotiki Harbour to create all-tide access is crucial to the future of the marine farm and Opotiki economic development. “The harbour is essential for us to meet our goals.” Those goals include increasing the yield from the farm and developing a mussel processing plant onshore in Opotiki to provide even more employment.

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“We remain positive and look forward to the mussel farm, the harbour re-development becoming a reality,” says Robert. In preparing for that eventuality and the increased employment it will bring, training courses are being run to upskill people for a whole new rafts of job opportunities. “It has been a long road, with many potholes, but our resolve and determination have seen us through to this day. We will be here for generations to come, providing food for the world – as well as other value-added products,” says Robert. Through marine farming and the harbour development, the trust board will also realise its goal “to grow and invest in the wellbeing of our people”. “It is all about our people,” says Robert. Elaine Fisher

Whakatōhea mussels were so popular they supermarkets sold out of them in days.

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Page 8

Plan change is ‘data gathering’ not ‘grandparenting’ The Waikato Regional Council’s proposed plan change on the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora Waipa and Waika-to River Catchments “is more like data gathering,” says the council’s science and strategy director Tracey May. There will be some initial reductions in nitrogen emissions for high emitters, followed by the development of a new system further down the track once

council has all the information to make the decision, says Tracey. She is responding to statements made by Farmers For Positive Change – or F4PC – a group highly critical of the plan change proposals that it describes as “grandparenting”. “So the aim in the first 10 years of the plan is to basically hold the line and better understand what’s happening with nitrogen loss to waterways


from properties in particular. Then we can use that infor-mation to decide on future plan changes,” says Tracey. “That’s where establishing a nitrogen reference point for properties comes in. It establishes what’s happening now and requires high emitters to drop their levels.

Past discharge

“So this nitrogen benchmarking is not grandparenting in disguise. Grandparenting is a method of allocating property level limits, by using past discharge levels as the basis for deciding users’ levels in the future.” F4PC chair Rick Burke says the council talking of “holding the line” in controlling nitrogen leaching for 10 years has created a serious negative culture by sending signals that threaten the future of farming families and rural communities. F4PC is advocating for a natural capital approach and believes scientists will work to formulate sciencebased solutions, which will result in the desired positive outcomes. However, council is not sure that will work. “It’s great to see Farmers for Positive Change talking of support for ‘a natural capital approach’ and that it believes ‘scientists will work to formulate science based solutions which will result in desired positive outcomes’,” says Tracey.

“The Collaborative Stakeholders Group identified similar potential for such solutions. But at this stage we haven’t got the information, records and science to go straight to that sort of approach and apply on-farm limits to various activities.

Best way forward

“We find it really positive that farmers are keen to see science developing solutions to the likes of reducing nitrogen discharges and working overtime to protect our rivers. That’s a great signal that we can work together to get things right. We really want to hear people’s views on the best way forward,” says Tracey. “We support Rick’s comment about people making individual and collective submissions. It’s good, too, to see alignment between outcomes sought by the council and the Farmers for Positive Change group.” Rick says hill country drystock farmers will be among those hardest hit – and F4PC wants council to be honest with farmers and tell them now which properties it wants taken out of farming and planted in trees.

Stripping equity

“What’s happening now is stripping the equity of these farms by stealth. Farmers have to be told now what the long-term plan is and council must put in place exit plans and compensation based on the value of the land before Plan Change 1. If this is not addressed now, in five or 10 years it will be too late.” Rick says F4PC is not against the vision of Wai Ora Waipa-Waikato. “We embrace the vision, but not the mechanism to achieve it currently proposed in the healthy rivers plan.” His group is proposing instead land environment plans based on sub-catchments that would encourage entire rural communities, along with industry bodies such as Beef + Lamb and DairyNZ, to work together to identify which waterways need attention and take measures to clean them up. “This might involve, communities and farmers building wetlands, or farmers with adjoining land agreeing to co-operatively plant some of it in manuka for honey production. “There are examples in New Zealand, including at Raglan and Rerewhakaaitu as well as in Chesapeake Bay in the United States where such community plans have been very effective in improving water quality. It can work in the Waikato too.”

An 80-year target

In fact, Rick believes such a plan will achieve the Healthy Rivers plan goals in a much shorter timeframe than its 80-year target – and will do so while retaining the economic, environmental and social values of farms and rural communities. F4PC now has more than 1000 farmers on its database and at a meeting in Te Rapa on October 10 it received a unanimous mandate from those attending to advocate for their interests and aspirations on the Healthy Rivers Wai Ora Waipa and Waikato River Catchments’ Plan Change 1. However, Rick is urging farmers to make individual written and in-person submissions on the plan change as it will be their stories and the weight of numbers that will influence council and if not, then the Environment Court, to make changes to the plan. Plan Change 1 has now been publicly notified by the Waikato Regional Council, and farmers have until 5pm on the March 8, 2017, to submit on the plan. Elaine Fisher


Page 9

Healthy rivers - can uneven wedge change shape? Last month I wrote that drystock farmers were claiming they were getting the thin end of the wedge in their requirements contained in proposals for Plan Change 1 by the Waikato Regional Council. And the more I think about it, the more I can see significant issues have been either ignored or minimised in the thinking behind the proposed plan change. So I’ve come up with a list of what I think is wrong with the current proposals I’m no scientist – but I’ve been involved in environmental issues for about 30 years now, and have read an awful lot.

What’s wrong

1 Urea. Allowing dairy farmers to continue using this product at current levels for another decade, and ignoring alternatives, which assist Mother Nature to do her job, that are already out there and have been successfully used by ‘enlightened’ farmers for more than a decade, just doesn’t make sense. Usage levels rise every year, while the annual averages of pasture grown have reduced significantly since the mid-1980s. Where once research figures showed levels of 18 tonnes/ha in the Waikato, we now hear 13.5 tonnes/ha or possibly 15 tonnes/ha. Some of the ‘enlightened’ farmers are still growing between 18 tonnes/ha and 21 tonnes/ha. 2 Climate change and carbon. People are finally talking about soil carbon, and its potential to be sequestered in pasture soils. The science fraternity had claimed our fertile soils couldn’t hold any more carbon. But now they are discovering hill country soils are actually gaining carbon, while flatter regions are losing it at about one tonne/ha/yr and have been doing so for about the last 30 years. Research papers I’ve read recently talk about how soil life balloons when urea is applied to pasture, and

gobbles up all the humus making plant detritus. No humus, no soil carbon sequestering. 3 Beef cows versus dairy cows. At present many beef cows drink from clean streams. But dairy cows drink a lot more, because they are lactating hugely. Beef cows produce just enough for their offspring, and don’t need to drink huge amounts. Dairy cows tend to graze on nitrate-rich pasture, due to the urea spread. There is research showing the rumen can’t cope with all that nitrate-ammonia. So they drink more to try and calm their rumbly tummies, and therefore pee more than ever. So the pasture gets huge numbers of urine patches from the enriched pee, and the soil-groundwater has to cope with it. So where does this lead to in the argument between dairy and drystock farmers in the Waikato?

all the bells and whistles, and be very nervous now of their bank managers. If all these issues could be taken into

account in the final plan version, the uneven wedge might just about change shape to become a plank. Sue Edmonds


Fence Streams

Dry stock farmers are being required to fence many kilometres of clean running streams, within comparatively short blocks of time. Their beef cattle may be creating a small amount of pollution in such streams. It is surely possible for farmers to create easy access points to such streams, to avoid erosion and sediment. They do not use much urea, but are not permitted to use any more than in the past. However, their soils are probably sequestering carbon, which may eventually be counted as carbon credits for climate change. Dairy farmers are permitted to go on using the much greater amounts of urea on their pastures for another 10 years, with no indication as to what restrictions may be placed on them after that. So they can go on adding nitrogen to groundwater, and producing less pasture tonnage, as well as doing nothing for climate change. They may well have spent vast sums on effluent management in recent years, but they have also increased their herd sizes, built new farm dairies with





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Scholarship hones Midge’s leadership skills Leadership, says Midge Munro, is not about the individual. “It is about taking other people with you – about helping everyone achieve.”

time was communications manager for New Zealand Avocado, a role she held for eight years. “This was the inaugural scholarship awarded by PMA Australia-New Zealand and I hope it will continue, so other young leaders in this country’s fresh produce and floral industries can benefit from it too. The newly-appointed group communications “I would absolutely encourage manager for Darling Group has just graduated from people in the horticulture industry the 2016 Produce Marketing Association Emerging who are interested in leadership Leaders Programme, in Arizona, USA, and says the to apply for this scholarship; experience helped clarify what leadership means for and for those interested in her. personal growth and develop“Leadership also means taking responsibility when ment, there are many other things go wrong,” says Midge. scholarships on offer in New Midge was the only New Zealander among the 36 Zealand. PMA scholars “Just take a look and get that applying,” says Midge, who was one of two communications people on the course. Her skills in that area meant the team she was part of nominated her to face ‘the media’ when the team’s mock company had a food safety scare. The graduation ceremony for the course was in October and coincided with the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Midge Munro is the newly-appointed group communications manager Convention & Expo in for Darling Group. Orlando attended by 1000 exhibitors and up to 24,000 visitors. attended the intensive programme at the Thunder“It was an amazing trade show and I was fascinated bird School of Global Management at the University by the range of fresh produce and food innovation of Arizona. and how companies were marketing them.” “There was also a woman from Australia and two people from Canada, but the rest of those attending Darling Group were from America. Much of what she learned during the course will be “It was an amazing experience, which included a invaluable in Midge’s new role where she’s responbusiness simulation project which the team I was sible for the development and delivery of Darling part of won,” says Midge, who has the trophy to Group’s communications strategy, including stakeprove it. holder communication, internal communications, marketing support and media liaison. Handle challenges Her roles include those for Just Avocados Ltd, the The aim of the programme is to prepare potential Katikati-based fully integrated specialist avocado leaders to embrace increasing levels of responsibility service company and the Australian-based company and be able to handle challenges and opportunities J.H. Leavy & Co the Darling Group has recently inherent in future leadership roles. acquired. The bursary awarded to Midge to take part in the This is one of the oldest established fruit and vegprogramme in March was supported by PMA Ausetable wholesaling businesses in the Brisbane Markets tralia-New Zealand Limited and Nuffield Australia at Rocklea, and has been trading since 1907. for a young emerging leader from the horticultural Midge is passionate about the avocado industry and industry. is driven to achieve outcomes that make a positive The Avocado Industry Council and HortNZ also difference for stakeholders. contributed to Midge attending the course. It came “I’m enjoying my new role – being part of a busiat a good time in her career. ness so closely involved with growers is rewarding,” “I was at a point of wanting to develop my skills says Midge, who grew up on an organic avocado further; this programme helped clarify my beliefs, orchard in the Bay of Plenty that her parents still what skills I have and how to incorporate leadership run. principles into my work,” says Midge, who at the Elaine Fisher

Page 11

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A ‘compulsory’ – or cautionary barbering tale We’ve re-named the popular Coast & Country News ‘Mystery Item’ contest – the ‘History Item’, which features items from local museums we hope will spark memories our readers will share with us. A photograph in last month’s issue of Burman clippers on display at the Western Bay Museum recalled memories for Christine

Illingworth of Katikati. “The device is the dreaded hair clippers. I remember my young brother aged about four years absolutely loathing having his hair cut. To enable the job to be done, my father had to sit on his squirming body to hold him still. It must be karma because at the age of 55 his hair is now disappearing,” she writes.

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these are still in excelhis new wife.” The photo took Trevor lent order and together Mitchell of Tokoroa on with electric clippers, are a trip down memory used by my good wife lane. to cut my hair today,” The clippers, he writes Trevor, who has says, were used for won admission for two to cutting men’s and the Western Bay Museum in boys’ hair and Katikati. the company also made clippers for grooming stock, especially Power in Te Aroha horses and cattle. This month’s history item is from the “In boarding school at Wesley Te Aroha & District Museum’s summer College, ‘Snowy Knott’, the school exhibition, which highlights ‘Power in handyman, cut our hair. Te Aroha’ with displays of various elec“Then in 1952 I did my compulsory trical appliances and memorabilia. military training with the RNZAF as The photograph shows the original a radio-mechanic at Taieri in Ground head office of the Thames Valley Electric Training Squadron 6, known as GTS6. Power Board on the corner of Rewi St There was fierce rivalry between our air- and Lawrence Ave, Te Aroha. crews and ground crews and on our first To celebrate the visit of the recentlynight in camp we were raided. crowned Queen Elizabeth II in “I was tipped out of bed and landed December 1953, the building was decoon my rifle – an MkIV Lee Enfield rated with Christmas lights including a and broke my coccyx, or tailbone. The crown. medical officer made me ‘ED’ Excused If you recall seeing this building in from Duty for the 1953, or some aspect remainder of my of the Queen’s visit, 14-week course. send us your memo“Of course in true ries and be in to win military fashion I, admission for two to with no experience the Te Aroha & Disof all at barbertrict Museum, open ing, became the daily 11am-4pm. barber for the Email elaine@ course. I bought with myself some ‘History item’ clippers – not in the subject Burman, but line, or post to A.J. Martin History Item, If this photograph from 1953 of the – professional Coast & Country, Thames Valley Electric Power Board scissors and PO Box 240, building in Te Aroha brings back combs. All Tauranga 3110. memories – we’d love to hear from you.

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Rotorua physio is enterprising winner Amy Dibley of Physio Direct Ltd has been named the supreme winner of the annual Rural Women New Zealand Enterprising Rural Women Awards. Amy is from Rotorua and started up her business to meet a gap in the market. She offers physiotherapy and other allied health services in rural service towns in the Central North Island, and in Canterbury in the South Island. “Amy was a standout finalist in the awards,” says Wendy McGowan, awards judge and national president of Rural Women New Zealand. “The judges appreciated Amy’s innovative approach and business planning skills, which have grown the Physio Direct franchise. “Her team offer a health service that meets the needs of rural residents, who often struggle to access services such as physiotherapy in remote towns. Well done Amy, we wish her every success for the future.” The judging panel also included ANZ Private’s associate director Grant Rae, and SWAZI New Zealand’s sales manager Warwick Bean and HP New Zealand’s sales specialist David Farquhar. They joined Wendy in interviewing the four finalists and reviewing their financial information and also

their business plans. They were very • Innovative Enterprising impressed with the high standard of Rural Women Award, sponsored entries. by HP New Zealand and Supreme The four winners in the 2016 EnterAward winner, sponsored by prising Rural Women Awards are as follows: • Love of the Land Award, sponsored by Agrisea New Zealand: Marian Hirst: Bay Blueberries, Hastings. See: www. Bay Blueberries is passionate about producing quality apples and blueberries in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner. It won the 2016 Ballance Farm Environmental Supreme Award for the East Coast Region. • Emerging Enterprising Rural Women Award, sponsored by SWAZI New Zealand: Monique and Lyn Neeson: Shear Warmth, Taumarunui. See: www. Shear Warmth produce top quality wool blankets, made in New Zealand and can be traced back to wool grown on the family farm. • Entrepreneurial Enterprising Rural Women Award, sponsored by AgriWomen’s Development Trust: Helen Slattery: Slattery Contracting Limited, Matamata. See: The Slattery Family has been involved in agricultural contracting since the mid-1950s, starting hay making and cultivating land. The business has grown from harvesting conventional hay bales, ploughing and undersowing to a wide range of services.

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Transport infrastructure keeps NZ on the move The National-led Government is investing more than ever in transport infrastructure to keep a growing New Zealand moving. This is important because a safer and more efficient transport system drives a competitive and productive economy.

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In November we announced construction on the Puhoi to Warkworth motorway project will be underway before the end of the year, with the road open by 2022. This

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is vital to the competitiveness of New Zealand businesses. The Government has also released a new Speed Management Guide that will modernise New Zealand’s approach to managing speed and enable a limit of 110km/h on some roads. The guide combines a wide range of information to help councils, the New Zealand Transport Agency and other road controlling authorities decide where and when to make safety improvements or changes to speed limits. Our roads are unique and vary from urban to rural, north to south. What this guide does is strongly encourage and enable community involvement in the decision making process. Local knowledge and perspectives, backed by the information and data provided in the guide, will help ensure the best possible safety results. Changes made may include altering road design, lowering speed limits, or in certain circumstances, raising them. In order for a road to be eligible for a 110km/h limit it will need to meet a long list of very strict conditions such as having a median barrier, at least two lanes in each direction and no direct access to neighbouring properties. As a small, exporting nation, New Zealand relies on a robust transport network to move people, goods, and services safely and efficiently. This is what National is working hard to achieve.

Which side is bread buttered? Murphy drops some buttered toast on the kitchen floor and it lands butter-side-up. He looks down in astonishment, for he knows it’s a law of the universe that buttered toast always falls butter-down. So he rushes round to the Parish to fetch Father Flanagan. He tells the Priest that a miracle has occurred in his kitchen. He won’t say what it is, but asks Father Flanagan to come and see it with his own eyes. He leads him into the kitchen and asks what he sees on the floor. “Well,” says the Priest, “it’s pretty obvious. Someone has dropped some buttered toast on the floor and then, for some reason, they flipped it over so that the butter was on top.” “No, Father, I dropped it and it landed like that!” exclaimed Murphy. “Oh my Lord,” says Fr Flanagan. “Dropped toast never falls with the butter side up. It’s a miracle, but's not for me to say it’s a miracle. I’ll have to report this matter to the Bishop, and, he’ll have to deal with it. He’ll send some people round to interview you, take photos, etc.” A thorough investigation is conducted, not only by the Archdiocese but by scientists sent over from the Curia in Rome. No expense is spared. There is great excitement in the town as everyone knows that a miracle will bring in much-needed tourism revenue. Then, after eight long weeks and with great fanfare, the Bishop announces the final ruling: “It is certain that some kind of an extraordinary event took place in Murphy’s kitchen, quite outside the natural laws of the universe. Yet the Holy See must be very cautious before ruling a miracle. All other explanations must be ruled out. “Unfortunately, in this case, it has been declared ‘No Miracle’, because they think that… Murphy may have buttered the toast on the wrong side!”


Page 15


Page 16

Why can’t blokes have coffee together like women do? Social isolation is not exclusive to farmers – let me make that point clear. Apparently, there are two ends of the scale for socialisation. At one end of the scale you have high maintenance people – like me apparently – who need feedback from people to make them function properly and feel valued. At the other end of the scale are those who don’t need feedback. If everything is going well they are fine, and they only want to know when there is a problem. Lighthouse keepers and many farmers tend to fall into the later end of the

scale. Modern farmers may put ear plugs in, climb onto the tractor and work all day on their own. Maybe some people chose to be farmers because they do not have to talk to people and they like the isolation. Who are we to say they should be more socially integrated and talk to their neighbours anyway? There are also many socially active farmers. As we all move into semi-retirement then not only do we need to be more socially integrated, but we also need a

Social stuff


I’ve also noticed the ‘attitude’ that comes with not wanting to hang or be social with people, particularly their partner, tends to bring out a lot of issues as they retire. Partners complain bitterly of loneliness or unwillingness of their ‘mate’ to go and do social stuff together. In the business world this may be that they work hard all week and want to stop all weekend and say and do little. The partner may be ready for action and wonder where their mate has gone?

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place to meet. That may be the gun club, a Probus Group, the golf club or a cycle group – whatever spins your wheels. Again, however, some may prefer to live in the ‘lighthouse’ or on their farm until they die and that is okay for them. But what if the wife or partner is social and wants more company? The farmer might end up in the ‘lighthouse’ on his own. The reason I’m talking about social isolation is because...I’ve seen a lot of this issue with my work. Often those socially isolated do not seem that happy. They often avoid crowds and functions because who will they chat to and what will they talk about? They often feel insecure in a crowd and may well wander off to be with themselves again.

When he or she complains, the isolated cannot understand. He or she has worked all week to provide and everything should be peaceful and happy. Not so. It appears to me that aloneness and social isolation – as distinct from depression – tends to be more with ‘we’ blokes than the fairer sex. Maybe it is the man who chooses the farming life, not the wives? Depression and social isolation are different, but my observation has been those who are socially isolated will have a greater tendency to be depressed from time to time.

Dead lonely

In summary, social isolation comes in many forms; for some it is how they prefer to live, for others it is dead lonely. It seems this social isolation is fine while you are busy on the farm, but as soon as you go to retirement mode off the farm it may become a huge issue. How are you going to cope with being up against people, to talk, mix and chat when you are used to be being alone on the farm all day? Are you going to join clubs and mix, or stay home all day while your social partner goes out and enjoys life? What is wrong with ‘we’ blokes having coffee together like women do?

Disclaimer – 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. A disclosure document is available on request.

Investing in retractable roof systems pays off Covering bunkers with tarpaulins might seem a cheap and easy solution but can end up costing time and money, says Coast Sliding Roofs’ Scott McLean. “Many tarpaulins are not effective in keeping the bunker dry and are timeconsuming to use. They are especially difficult to handle in windy conditions.” Having good storage for fertiliser and supplementary feed is essential. Storage in

A Coast Sliding Roof is a safe and easy retractable cover solution for feed and fertiliser bins. wanted was a quality roof system that bunkers is common but the covering was easily operated and didn’t take over the bunker is important in keeping up much space. Coast then set about products dry. making a roof that was also cost-effecIt's estimated that between 15-20 per cent of supplementary feed goes to waste tive. “At Coast we are passionate about the because of poor storage and covering. product and stand behind everything Cutting down the time covering and we do. We believe we have a sliding roof uncovering the products and reducing that ticks all the boxes. the wastage caused by poor covering “They are built strong and will give lowers overall costs and improves profits. “Coast Sliding Roofs were developed as years of trouble free service. Our roofs offer affordable, cost-effective weather a safe and easy retractable cover solution protection, which is safe and easy to use. for feed and fertiliser bins,” says Scott. Above all we are proud to say our roofs “After talking with farmers during are Kiwi-made,” says Scott. development it was apparent what they


Page 17

Fertiliser co-ops not always best option The two big fertiliser co-operatives have normally been the market leaders as far as fertiliser products and pricing goes, but during the last 12 months several small importers are bringing in products that are significantly cheaper than what both Ballance and Ravensdown are selling them for. DAP can be bought for 15 per cent cheaper from at least two importers, Sulphate of Ammonia up to 20 per cent cheaper, Triple Super for 20 per cent cheaper, Dicalcium Phosphate for 25 per cent cheaper, Muriate of Potash for five per cent cheaper and Elemental Sulphur for 10 per cent cheaper. For hill country farmers, high analysis products like DAP, Triple Super and pure Dicalcium Phosphate – which are 18 per cent P – where cartage and spreading costs are a lot lower than using low P superphosphatebased fertilisers the savings can be substantial. Or farmers can, for the same money, get up to 20-30 per cent more phosphate on the ground for the same dollars spent. This is going to be a game-changer for many farms and it will be interesting to see how the two co-ops respond, as much of their business is based on the manufacture of single superphosphate, and for them to import and sell large quantities of cheaper high analysis phosphate fertilisers will risk making these plants redundant. The Reactive Phosphate Rock fertiliser market is also currently in a state of disarray from the co-ops. Last season Ballance was selling a low analysis Peruvian rock they called Sechura with only 7.5 per cent P. To be classified as a RPR it is supposed to be at least 10 per cent P. Although really they should not have called it Sechura RPR as technically it wasn’t.

Citric solubility

However, it had a high citric solubility of 50 per cent and therefore was very reactive, and at $217/tonne I was happy to recommend it to clients because it was good value phosphate fertiliser. Unfortunately, they are no longer able to get this product. Ravensdown, on the other hand, was selling Ben Guerir (BG4) RPR, which I’ve never been comfortable recommending because it has a much lower citric solubility. Recently Ballance purchased a boat-load of BG4, which had been tested in Morocco before shipping and it was supposed to be just above 30 per cent citric solubility – to be classified as a RPR a product must have at least 30 per cent of the total phosphate dissolve in a two per cent citric acid solution –but when it arrived here it only tested out to be 28.5 per cent citric solubility of P. For me, unless a RPR is at least 33 per cent citric solubility I’m not comfortable recommending it, because it will take too long to react in the soil and work. Ballance has done the right thing and not put this product on the market. However Ravensdown, which has imported the same Ben Guerir rock, has rebranded it as Direct Applica-

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tion Phosphate Rock since they cannot technically sell it as RPR. On their website Ravensdown proudly state: “Supplying top quality fertiliser is just the tip of what we do”. Selling this BG4 is far from top quality, and is likely to take more than 20 years to fully work once applied to a farm. For pine trees this may be acceptable but not for pasture.

Confusing name

Direct Application Phosphate Rock is a good marketing name, but that’s all. Even having the DAPR abbreviation, which contains the letters DAP which normally one associates with Diammonium Phosphate, can be confusing in itself. Forr those organic farmers and those wanting to use natural and soil friendly options all is not lost. There are six companies I know selling RPR fertilisers in the Waikato region – two importing Guano – at 10 per cent P and 50 per cent citric solubility. Two selling genuine Sechura – at10-13 per cent P and 40-50 per cent citric solubility. And one importing Algerian – at 12.5 per cent P – and one Egyptian RPR – with 12 per cent P – which both importers claim to be above 30 per cent citric solubility. My advice is to look at the cost per unit of P. For hill country farmers, where cartage and spreading are a big expense, high analysis Triple Super, DCP or DAP from a small importer is likely to be best value, or a decent RPR fertiliser can also be considered as well as single superphosphate. For ground spreading, single superphosphate based fertilisers from one of the co-ops can still be an attractive option. Getting a decent soil test done which looks

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Page 18


Enhancing web of life in healthy soils After years of chemical abuse our planet’s soils are ready for restoration and increased production, says Agrissentials NZ Ltd CEO John Morris. “Agrissentials ‘best-on-earth fertilisers’ are pioneers of ground-breaking, multimineral, microbial rich, energised fertilisers, which are bringing vitality and life back to the soil, increasing soil humus, soil carbon and top soil depth. “With more than 21 years of experience our 100 per cent natural BioGro-certified organic fertilisers meet today’s consumer demand for safe, certified, nutritiously dense food, plus all of the environmental and sustainable standards for a brighter tomorrow.” John says when we pick up a handful of healthy soil, it is hard to imagine all of the activity happening at a microscopic scale and the powerful impact it has. “This web of life in a healthy soil is a magical world of interaction. Micro-organisms have the ability to transfer natural minerals into a plant available form, locking those minerals into the humus they produce to stop the minerals from leaching. “This humus also stores water, increasing water

retention quality in the soil and on your farm or in your garden. “Break the chemical chain today and start working with Agrissentials and Mother Nature for a healthier, happier, brighter future and a clean, green environment. Let’s do it.” Call us today on 0800 THE KEY for a chat or a free information pack – that’s 0800 843 539 to find out how we can partner with you to find a better way of farming.

Biosecurity direction statement released The partners of the Government Industry Agreement for Biosecurity Readiness and Response welcome the release of Government’s Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement saying the strategy is a major step in the right direction. Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy, launched the Biosecurity 2025 Direction Statement at a biosecurity forum in Auckland

with about 200 primary industry stakeholders in attendance. GIA secretariat manager Steve Rich says Biosecurity 2025 is about futureproofing New Zealand's biosecurity system for the years to come. “The primary industry sector is a significant part of New Zealand’s economy, making up around half of all New Zealand’s exports. The GIA partnership currently has 13

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Page 19

Nanotechnology increases crop yields and nutrient density A new product called CARBON-Plus, and growing technologies, are now available in New Zealand for all growers, farmers and commercial and home gardeners. Ever wondered why after years of applying chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides to your crops and soils, yields are on the decline and so is crop quality? The work of Dr Don Huber, professor of plant pathology at Purdue University for 35 years, on glyphosate shows the mechanism by which this occurs – basically the glyphosate chelates some of the key trace elements in the soil like manganese, zinc, copper and iron. This is then further complicated with Genetically Modified Organism RoundUp ready crops where additional applications of this herbicide during the growing cycle renders more soil mineral availability issues. So a lot of our long-term cropping soils are in a chemical dilemma.

Physical chemistry

So moving forward soil physical chemistry will supersede our normal approach, which is soil chemical chemistry. As only five per cent of a plant’s growth mass comes from the ground and the other 95 per cent comes from the air, the focus needs to be on the physical chemistry being delivered to the plant. The real issue with growing crops is focusing on the process called photosynthesis. If, as a grower, we focus on how we maximise this then we can make leaps and bounds toward increasing crop yields and quality. This is just common sense but is overlooked by the universities and major fertiliser suppliers.

Small particles

So the real issue is trying to get enough carbon dioxide into the plant from day one and that’s where the new nanotechnology comes into play. CARBON-Plus is a covalent-bonded product with carbon dioxide, water and nitrogen with particle sizes so small they are

measured as pectometers. Most foliar fertilisers supplied today contain particles so large that it will take years for them to breakdown to be able to enter the plant and contribute to yield. So what is the impact on a plant exposed to three times the normal CO2 in its growing atmosphere in 35 days? A trial was conducted with growing cowpeas and this was the outcome – stem length 52 per cent increase, stem weight 21 per cent increase, root length 339 per cent increase, leaf number 38 per cent increase, leaf weight nine per cent increase. When plants are sprayed at a very young age or at the beginning of their yearly production cycle with CARBON-Plus, the chlorophyll density is increased significantly. Trials showed significant crop yield increases: soybeans 800kg/acre on a dry season and 100kg/acre on a normal season; rice in Asia1300 kg/acre in an excessively dry season; corn yield increases of 300kg-800kg/acre; tomatoespeppers squash watermelons, tobacco etc all had significant yield increases.

Nutrient density

Trials also show nutrient density was enhanced; manganese 190 per cent, iron 41 per cent, boron 38 per cent, copper 71 per cent, and zinc 134 per cent. CARBON-Plus has been extensively trialled internationally on the following crops – maize, soybeans, cotton, peanuts, grass silage, tobacco, wheat, oats, barley, vegetables tomatoes, sweetcorn, squash, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, cabbage, watermelon, and peppers. Fifteen trials are already underway in NZ and are showing promising results. CARBON-Plus is natural but has been developed out of the new world of nanotechnology. It is incredibly cost effective. Selling at $50-60 per litre and being applied at 100ml/ha three to four times during the life cycle of a plant will only cost about $5-6/ha per application – so four applications a year will cost

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Page 20

Fun, information, animals and more at show Horses will be sharing the limelight at Tauranga Racecourse on January 15 when the annual Tauranga A&P Lifestyle Show is staged there. Equestrian events and pony rides will be part of the fun and there will also be a petting zoo and cattle show, and a whole host of other attention-grabbing action when the country is brought to the city. Tauranga A&P Lifestyle Show president David Harricks says the 122nd show will

be a wonderful, inexpensive, family day out – and not just for farming folks. “It’s for lifestylers – whether you have a worm farm at your apartment block, a vege garden in your backyard, or a lifestyle block with cattle in the country,” says David. Big crowds are expected to attend the event, which will cost $10 for adults while children under 12 gain free entry. As many as 7000 people attended the 2016 show. “There will be plenty for everyone to see and do including strongest man and wood chopping competitions, trade-stall holders, food truck, artisan goods, a rock climbing

wall and water slides, a fairground, lifestyle lane and old machinery,” says David. There will also be a speaker series, with experts covering topics like worm farming, organic living and farming, and Tauranga chef Peter Blakeway will hold cooking demonstrations. Show tickets can be purchased from or at the gate on the day. Every ticket-holder will receive an entry into the draw to win $1000 cash or a barbecue. There will be spot prizes too. People are invited to bring picnic and dogs are allowed.

An alpaca called ‘Prince Naveen’ and his young handler at last year’s Tauranga A&P Lifestyle Show.

Young grower’s contest at Te Puke A&P show Two popular local rural events, the Bay of Plenty Young Fruit Grower competition and Te Puke A&P Show, are joining forces to stage an actionfilled event on Saturday, February 11, 2017.

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BOP Young Fruit Grower competition organising committee chair Kate Longman is thrilled to see the collaboration for the first time, between the young growers competition and Te Puke’s classic agricultural event. “The Te Puke A&P Show has been running for 111 years and has on average 3000 to 5000 people attend annually. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Bay of Plenty horticulture to showcase our industry and its up-and-coming leaders to a broad new audience.” As part of the A&P show, the two-part young grower comThe skills of competitors in the BOP Young petition will consist Fruit Grower competition will be displayed of a full day event where contestants at the 2017 Te Puke A&P Show. showcase their skills in

a series of theoretical and practical horticultural modules, which will range from tracking with a GPS to testing biosecurity knowledge and manoeuvring an orchard tractor. The second element of the competition will include a speech contest at a gala dinner and awards ceremony on February 15 at ASB Arena in Mount Maunganui. It’s expected the gala dinner will be attended by more than 400 orchardists, post-harvest operators and associated industries.“There are several sponsorship opportunities available for industry partners. “Sponsors will enjoy high brand exposure through media, promotional material, online marketing and signage as well as at recognition at the competition and gala dinner,” says Kate. For more information visit:


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Travelling in comfort Touring through high country stations If you’re after a more relaxed tour with the advantage of a seasoned travel and tour guide, look no further than Susy’s Tours.

NZ Adventures takes 4x4 tours to some of the South Island’s most spectacular locations.

NZ Adventures 4x4 Tours organise journeys through the back country of the South Island – and of its six different tours the most popular are the High Country Heritage six-day and the West Coast Explorer five-day.

night in Westport, Reefton and the last night in Greymouth. Along the way this trip is rich with a diversity of content. Plenty of great scenery and plenty of human and natural history. Day two of the tour takes in a bush-clad river valley east of Murchison which is always an adventure.

Connie Crickett of NZ Adventures says these are also the only tours they offer multiple times during the summer season. “The High Country Heritage is the longestrunning tour and runs monthly from December through to April.” Starting in Blenheim this trip takes participants through large sheep and cattle stations of the Waihopai and Awatere Valleys before a drive through Molesworth Station to the first overnight at Hanmer Springs. There are subsequent overnights in Methven, Lake Tekapo, Omarama and Cromwell before the journey end in historic Cardrona. “This is 1250km through some of the most iconic New Zealand scenery with visits to 20 high-country stations and several Conservation Department Parks along the way.”

A highlight of day three is the visit to the Denniston Plateau and the history and coal mining in this historic and sometimes inhospitable place. “Driving the magical beech lined tracks near Reefton is the priority on day four but for most the absolute highlight of the trip comes on the last day in the forests and farmland inland of Ahaura. Truly a NZ adventure.” For any NZ Adventure 4x4 trip the only mandatory stipulation is for vehicles to have good condition all-terrain tyres and a low range transmission. Every vehicle is supplied with a radio for commentary and two-way communication.

Denniston Plateau

“I have worked in the tours for seniors industry as an administrator and tour guide for the last nine years,” says founder Sue ‘Susy’ Towler. “I decided to start Susy’s Tours to cater for those seniors who, for whatever reason, no longer want to do the longer tours or spend long days on the road.” Sue runs tours in Australia, New Zealand and Aitutaki in the South Pacific. Most of the tours are ‘stay-puts’ but there are a few that involve more travelling for the adventurous traveller. ‘Susy’ Towler “I have chosen eight destinations has seen some for 2017 with an additional five or beautiful six to be added in to the programme scenery. for 2018,” says Sue. The tours are fully escorted and are designed to be fun, friendly and as comfortable as possible, and Sue

   

West Coast

The West Coast Explorer Tour is as different from the more easterly tours as it’s possible to get. The main difference is trees are as plentiful as they are absent in the east. “Nowhere is the east-west contrast more notable than on the first day of the West Coast trip when the tawny brown tussocks of North Canterbury, St James Station and Western Molesworth are left behind when the trip suddenly plunges into the verdant beech forests that are a feature of the journey.” Early highlights of the West Coast Explorer include the tracks on St James, Lake Tennyson and the highest road pass in New Zealand. Overnights on the coast include two nights in Murchison, a Manuka Provenances




East Cape



says tours fly in and out of Tauranga airport instead of travellers driving to Auckland. The cost of the tours is all-inclusive – all you will need is lunch money and a bit of spending money. Group numbers will be kept to between 10 and 25 travellers, with the ‘Forgotten World Adventures’ and ‘Murray Rivers Tours’ restricted to just 15 so early bookings will be essential. “I have travelled extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand and am passionate about both countries,” says Sue. For more information, visit: www.



Page 22

Spot the difference? Skin Cancer is by far the most common cancer in New Zealand and the number of diagnosed cases continues to rise each year. Skin Cancer can be life threatening, specifically melanoma if not treated early, so ensure you receive the right analysis and treatment at an early stage. Call the Skin Centre today to arrange an examination.


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Early detection of melanoma provides best chance of cure People often ask: ‘what is happening regarding advances in management of melanoma’, says Dr James Spreadborough of the Skin Centre. “There are no doubt some exciting developments with treatment for this disease based on genetic testing. However, this is still not offering a cure and is only applicable for metastatic disease – for example, melanoma – that has already spread,” says James, who holds a MBBS Dip in dermatology. For this reason early detection is still the best, before the cancer has invaded too deep into the skin. Surgical excision of these early melanomas gives excellent cure rates. “So how can we detect these melanomas early? The majority of melanomas in the younger age groups are picked up by the patient themselves. Self-examination of the skin is obviously important and the A.B.C.D.E. is still helpful.” A: asymmetry – is the mole chaotic looking? B: an irregular boarder. C: colour – is the mole multicoloured? Or a different colour

Dr James Spreadborough, MBBS Dip Dermatology of the Skin Centre. to the other moles? D: diameter – greater than 6mm). E: evolution – is the mole changing? No single feature listed defines a melanoma, however this can certainly be a helpful guide and as a cancer is a tumour growing out of control, evolution or change in a mole is very significant. “If you couple this with the statistic that 70-plus per cent of melanomas start as a new mole then any new growing lesion should certainly be checked by a doctor in the skin cancer field.” Unfortunately, some early melanomas are very subtle indeed and can be very slow growing Although this may make them slightly less likely to spread deep into the dermis, it also makes them much harder to detect.

If you combine this with a skin type showing lots of sun damage or numerous moles you can understand how fraught melanoma detection can become. But one major advance that’s helped is Sequential Digital Imaging, says James. Using a sophisticated software programme with a high definition camera, polarised light and magnification, images of atypical moles can be stored. “Atypical moles are ones that, to the specialist trained in dermoscopy, are not entirely normal but do not fit the criteria for melanoma. “Once the image is captured a follow-up image is taken three months later. “This comparison image is the most valuable one. If there are no changes seen then, reassuringly, there is a greater than 99 per cent chance the mole is benign. If, however, change is noted then it can be dealt with in its infancy. “Numerous melanomas have been detected in early stages with this technology. So remember the best outcome following a diagnosis of melanoma depends on early detection and if you would like to have a skin check please call the Skin Centre.”

Investment needed for 250m children at risk Although child mortality has dropped worldwide, about 250 million children in low and middle income countries are at risk of not meeting their developmental potential because

of extreme poverty and stunting, concludes a series of global studies on child health. The authors call for a global push on policies to boost child wellbeing in the critical first few years

of life, including promoting breastfeeding, paid parental leave and free early childhood education, according to the United Kingdom medical journal ‘The Lancet’.


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Focus on glucosamine – the building blocks of cartilage Glucosamine and chondroitin are often familiar words for those with osteoarthritis. But what are they? What do they do? Can they help? Is there research to suggest how these could be used? Today we dig a little deeper at glucosamine; and focus on chondroitin in the next edition. Glucosamine sulphate is a specialised form of sugar used to make hard shells in crustaceans and in humans, the building blocks of cartilage. Adding glucosamine seems to help cartilage function and perhaps cartilage renewal. Some suggest it may have an anti-inflammatory function.

Glucosamine was really put on the map with the prestigious medical journal ‘Lancet (Reqinster, 2001)’ publishing a study ‘Glucosamine on osteoarthritis progression: A randomised placebo controlled clinical trial’.


This study followed more than 200 people during three years and compared a group taking glucosamine and those given a placebo. The authors concluded: “The long-term com-

bined structure-modifying and symptom-modifying effects of glucosamine sulphate suggest it could be a disease modifying agent in osteoarthritis”. My view is glucosamine can help but I rate this as less effective than similar doses of chondroitin. It is interesting that my old joint formula was mostly glucosamine and it did help a lot of people. However my new formula which is 50 per cent glucosamine, 45 per cent high grade chondroitin and five per cent curcumin – a 95 per cent extract from turmeric – has seen dramatically better results. I always prefer to give individualised advice but in general terms, combining this formula with 4000-6000mg of fish oil can really help. I generally like to start with higher initial dose often one to two months at doses of 1500mg of glucosamine, 1500mg of high grade chondroitin sulphate plus 200mg of 95 per cent curcumin.

Austrian and German scientists have

identified a plant that mimics the scent of honeybees under attack to fool flies into pollinating its flowers. The flies normally lurk in wait for a honeybee to be caught by a spider then sneak in for a meal. The floral scent of the Giant Ceropegia is comparable to the alarm scent let off by honeybees when they’re attacked, luring the flies in where they are temporarily caught

Men’s voices established by age seven Whether men will have the deep, sexy tones of Barry White or the high-pitched whine of comedian Alan Carr is determined long before their voices have even broken, according to United Kingdom and French scientists. Their small study followed 10 men taking part

in a documentary, measuring their voices as they aged from seven to 56, and found pitch is established as early as seven years old; boys with deep voices went on to become men with deep voices, according to the ‘Royal Society Open Science’ journal.

within the flowers and forced into pollination duty, according to ‘Current Biology’.

John Arts is a qualified nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health. Contact John on 0800 423 559. To read more go to

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Page 24

Adding sensory stimulus to equestrian experience The 10 horses at Cambridge Riding for the Disabled do more than carry their riders – they are also therapists, which gently and without judgement, enable children and adults to increase their self-esteem and confidence.

“Many of our riders struggle with overloading of sensory input and many find difficulty in verbalising their feelings and interpretations of senses,” says RDA coach Katrina Roberts. “Exploring different senses in a nonthreatening, safe environment will make a huge difference to them,” says Katrina. “The stimuli may be both man-made such as specific bespoke artworks or installations or natural such as plantings or landscape changes. “The purpose of this trail is to create

Now the Cambridge RDA wants to further enhance that experience, by creating a sensory trail; an interactive environment ridden through on horseback, to stimulate the senses.

RDA, its horses and volunteers, enhance the lives of riders from five years to adults, who have physical and intellectual difficulties. a stimulating and challenging environment for both the horses, riders and volunteers to explore as part of the therapy programme that Cambridge RDA offers.” Cambridge RDA manager Vanessa Donnelly says the concept is in its infancy and in need of sponsorship support, but it’s something the organisation very much wants to see become a reality. “The hope is to create a trail which either winds through our six-hectare property; or to sacrifice one small paddock and create a trail there.”

Visible location

Cambridge RDA is set almost in the heart of the town, on land leased from the local council, and a newly-formed cycle trail skirts its boundary, creating, says Vanessa, a highly visible location for sponsors to display signs. “We hope the Cambridge RDA sensory trail could be a place the wider Cambridge community could utilise and enjoy, not just on horseback, but also on foot. It could also become an educational resource for schools,” says Katrina. “By engaging local artists we are hoping this sensory trail will become a community project, with all sorts of different groups working together on a little bit to create the complete project. “This would give it a unique community feel and would allow local artists and groups to share and showcase their work to the wider community.” The proposal is each station would have a sponsor, who may be the artist or group that carries out the work from design to development. “Or they may be a person who would rather sponsor the station with funds for another person or group to take on the station. “Either way each station would be clearly marked


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with the designer, developer and funder to acknowledge their contribution.” Some stations can be interactive such as a noughts and crosses game made of wood that can be played from pony height.

Wind chimes

Other ideas include wind chimes to stimulate the sense of sound; a jasmine vine arch for smell, maybe mixed with raspberries for taste; a water feature for sight and sound; toi toi planting for sound and touch and a stained glass feature with light bouncing off colours to also stimulate sight. An up and down, a winding narrow hill path or maze could provide another interactive, sight-focused part of the trail. Like other RDA groups throughout the country, the Cambridge RDA, it horses and volunteers, play an important role in enhancing the lives of riders from five years to adults, who have physical and intellectual difficulties, says Vanessa, who has been the Cambridge RDA coordinator for 13 years. “We all get so much reward from seeing the pleasure our riders gain from the experience, and the close bond many form with the horses. “Some riders are quite apprehensive at first but as we gently introduce them to the horses and to riding, their confidence grows.” The classes are generally conducted in the relatively new, large covered arena built with the help of funding from the Rodmor Charitable Trust. “Our riding programmes are designed to help develop and increase physical abilities, communication, concentration, social skills, confidence and self-esteem. To find out more about Cambridge RDA, or to sponsor the sensory trail, visit: Elaine Fisher


Page 25

Tauranga drivers help Kathy hone demo skills The daily battle of negotiating Tauranga’s commuter traffic has honed the skills for Kathy Sellars who will be behind the wheel in the SunLive car for the SunLive Baypark Speedway Demolition Derby on Saturday January 7. “I’ve never driven off road before but did grow up driving the Pyes Pa Road in the days before it was sealed, dodging possums and handling corners,” says Kathy, mother of two and SunMedia’s Marketing & Specialist Titles Manager. “Driving to work each morning in Tauranga has certainly given me a taste of what it might be like at Baypark – except on the roads you have to dodge cars and at Baypark I’ll be allowed to hit them - Yes.” Kathy’s name was drawn from a number of SunMedia staff who volunteered to drive the SunLive car and while she’s a little apprehensive Kathy says she’s looking forward to the challenge. “Though my kids aren’t so keen. They said they don’t want me to get killed. Isn’t that sweet?” There’s not much chance of that as Kathy will be driving a car especially prepared for the event by Baypark Speedway. It will be appropriately modified, fitted with the right safety gear and Kathy will be wearing the correct clothing, footwear and helmet to keep her safe.

Two derbies

give them the chance to enjoy the spectacle of a demolition derby.” It’s not hard to prepare a car for the derby. All the information on what is required can be found at Baypark website “Basically all the glass, including mirrors, must be removed, the correct seat belt installed and a safety pole put in behind the driver’s seat. “A number of drivers in the past have pretty much taken their road car and converted it into a demoderby vehicle as a way of having a last fun drive before it goes to the wreckers.”

Champion of champions

Once on the track it’s no holds barred and, to make things even more interesting - as well as trying to hit other vehicles, every competitor must drive over a ramp. The winner is the last car still mobile and there’s prize money to win too. The demo-derby is just one of the attractions of the January 7 meet which will also feature the second round of the Champion of Champion Sprint Car Series which is raced over six rounds, spread between Baypark and Western Springs speedways. Also racing that night will be Saloons, Mini Stocks and 6 Shooter V6 Wingless Sprint Cars.

ASB Baypark Speedway promoter Bernie Gillon says interest in the January event is strong with 11 cars entered by late November. “We have six cars entered by one business alone and are aiming for up to 50 cars on the track.” The January demo-derby is the first The SunMedia car with Melanie Stone at the of two to be held this season, with the wheel in action at last year’s SunLive Baypark second one scheduled for April 15. “We Speedway Demolition Derby. decided to hold one in January when holiday makers will still be around to

Page 26


Rural Women raise road toll concerns Rural Women New Zealand has issued a submission expressing its support for the Government’s Land Transport Amendment Bill but is also expressing concern about the recent spike in New Zealand’s road toll and current levels of policing.

“On the whole the changes in the bill are directed towards improving road safety and we support them on that basis,” says Rural Women New Zealand national president Wendy McGowan. The Bill sets harsher penalties for offenders who flee Police and also makes it mandatory for high-alcohol offenders and repeat drink and drivers to have breath testing alcohol devices installed in their cars. “However, we also note recent spikes in the road toll during the last three years, which we think do raise questions about the adequacy of current policing levels.” According to figures from the Ministry of Transport, the road toll in 2015 involved the highest number of fatalities on New Zealand’s roads since 2010.

“We think the question of whether current policing levels are appropriate for road safety purposes should be examined as part of this Bill. The changes introduced in this Bill will only be effective with the right level of police enforcement,” says Wendy. In its submission, RWNZ also recommend the committee further examine the competition effects of new changes the Bill introduces to “small passenger services”. These changes will require the likes of Uber to be subject to the same licensing regime as taxi drivers, with the intention of creating a more level playing fi eld. However, according to RWNZ’s submission, the playing field in rural areas is already heavily skewed towards taxi drivers, who have a significant competitive hold on the market and the ability to charge extortionate prices. The lack of affordable taxi services in rural areas is a strong contributor to isolation in rural areas, particularly for vulnerable population groups like the elderly. “We want to make sure that these changes will encourage competition in the market, rather than imposing additional compliance costs on potential new players,” says Wendy.

Making it click not clicking with many People not wearing seatbelts and dying on our roads has to stop, says New Zealand road safety organisation the Automobile Association. “It’s hard to believe that in 2016 we would still need to be urging every person in a vehicle to buckle up but we are seeing far too many lives lost because of this,” says AA spokesperson Simon Douglas. “The AA is asking every driver and passenger to please wear your seatbelt every time you are in a

car.” In the first nine months of the year nearly 70 people not wearing seatbelts have died in crashes. One simple click could have saved a lot of them. “There are many crashes where the people wearing seatbelts in a car only suffer minor injuries but someone not buckled up dies. “No one knows why we are seeing an increase in the number of people not wearing their seatbelts but the power to turn it around is literally in everyone’s own hands. “You’ve got more chance of being

in a crash than winning big in Lotto. “Yet people think one of them will never happen to them and hope the other one will. “If you are someone who doesn’t care about wearing a seatbelt for your own sake, do it for your family.” Drivers who are already wearing their seat belts can do some other simple things to be safer on the roads as well by giving themselves more following distance, sticking to a safe speed for the conditions and staying 100 per cent focussed on driving.


Page 27

Producing quality Kiwi-made farming products Vertec is an engineering company based in Hamilton and its 100 per cent New Zealand-made product lines provide customers with cost-effective solutions to meet any need and budget, says sales manager David Korteweg. “We have the expertise to find solutions to satisfy your goals. All components are designed and manufactured in-house offering a direct no-nonsense approach. Our company has three divisions.” Rosswood was established 60-plus years ago to service the farming community. Today Vertec continue to offer the Rosswood product range with same commitment to quality and service. Contour half round barns and sheds have served Kiwi farmers as storage units for hay, calves, implements, feed supplements and workshops since their inception and continue to be the most economical and practical building option. “Contour or round barns are erected on reinforced

give speedy assistance to a naturally occurring biological process. Tests carried out have shown our Cage Rotor Aerators to have a clearly superior oxygen transfer rate and greater mixing ability. They are for use in any oxidation pond requiring one or multiple units from small dairy farms, municipal applications and to large scale effluent

ecosystems, says David. Pro-Decks are built tough with quality features such as welded solid mudguards, heavy duty side rails and tail light surround etc. The Premier range offers the versatility to be built in range of – for example – longer or wider than standard length or width if required, as well as offering many other optional features.

Cage Rotor Aerators from Vertec are an efficient and economical method of treating effluent. concrete footing blocks, have a minimum of 13 purlins per bay and are braced every other bay giving the structure an advantage of strength over competitors.” The use of Cage Rotor Aerators is rapidly gaining wide acceptance as an efficient and economical method of treating effluent, which is discharged into oxidation ponds. “These aerators have an almost silent operation to

Lot Job or 25 s f Deal more or

5000-year-old corn similar to modern maize Researchers who have sequenced the genome of a 5310-year-old corn cob have discovered the maize grown in central Mexico all those years ago was genetically more similar to modern maize than to its wild ancestor. For example, the ancient maize already carried genetic variants responsible for making kernels soft, a common feature of modern corn. The findings are reported in ‘Current Biology’ on November 17. “Around 9000 years ago in modern-day Mexico, people started collecting and consuming teosinte, a wild grass,” says Nathan Wales of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. “Over the course of several thousand years, human-driven selection caused major physical changes, turning the unproductive plant into modern maize, commonly known as corn. “Maize as we know it looks so different from its wild ancestor that a couple of decades ago scientists had not reached a consensus regarding the true ancestor of maize.”

Archaeological expedition

To better understand the domestication history of the world’s most produced crop, Nathan and his colleagues, including Jazmín Ramos-Madrigal, sequenced the genome of a 5310-year-old maize cob from central Mexico. The cob, known as Tehuacan162, was excavated from a cave in the Tehuacan Valley in the 1960s during a major archaeological expedition lead by Richard MacNeish. Fortunately, the Robert S Peabody Museum in Andover, Massachusetts, America, took excellent care of the ancient maize specimen – one of the five oldest known in the world –for decades. Nathan says this particular cob and the DNA within it had been unusually well preserved. “Archaeological specimens frequently have high levels of bacterial DNA due to decomposition and soil contaminants,” says Nathan. “However, during genetic testing of ancient cobs, we were astonished to find 70 per cent of the DNA from the Tehuacan162 cob was from the plant.” Most other ancient samples contain less than 10 per cent plant DNA. Tehuacan162 didn’t have hard seed coats like its wild ancestor would have. But, the ancient cob is less than one-tenth of the size of modern cobs, at less than

two centimetres long. In addition, the ancient cob produced only eight rows of kernels, about half that of modern maize.

Genetic clues

That led the researchers to suspect its genes would offer clues on the early stages of maize domestication. To make the most of the small sample, Nathan and Jazmin used cutting-edge paleogenomic techniques. They extracted DNA with a method designed to recover ultra-short DNA, taking special care to avoid losing any genetic material. As a result, the researchers were able to prepare sufficient DNA for sequencing while still preserving enough of the sample to determine the cob’s precise age via radiocarbon dating. The new findings offer an informative snapshot in the 10,000-year evolutionary history of maize and its domestication, the researchers say.

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Rachael Foy – tech-savvy young farmer Rachael Foy is the epitome of the new generation of farmers – she’s well educated, hardworking, disciplined, tech savvy and a natural leader.

䄀瘀愀椀氀愀戀氀攀 椀渀 琀栀爀攀攀 猀椀稀攀猀 昀漀爀 挀漀洀瀀氀攀琀攀 椀渀琀攀爀氀漀挀欀椀渀最 吀栀攀 昀愀猀琀攀猀琀 愀渀搀 洀漀猀琀 攀挀漀渀漀洀椀挀愀氀 洀攀琀栀漀搀 漀昀 挀漀渀猀琀爀甀挀琀椀漀渀 昀漀爀⸀⸀⸀⸀⸀⸀ ⴀ 倀愀氀洀 欀攀爀渀攀氀 戀椀渀猀 ⴀ 䴀愀椀稀攀 戀椀渀猀 ⴀ 匀椀氀愀最攀 戀椀渀猀 ⴀ 䴀攀琀愀氀 戀椀渀猀 ⴀ 䈀甀氀欀 猀琀漀爀攀 戀椀渀猀 ⴀ 刀攀琀愀椀渀椀渀最 眀愀氀氀猀 ⴀ 吀爀愀昀昀椀挀 戀愀爀爀椀攀爀猀 ⴀ 䈀愀爀爀椀攀爀猀 ⴀ 䐀椀瘀椀搀椀渀最 眀愀氀氀猀 ⴀ 䌀漀甀渀琀攀爀 眀攀椀最栀琀猀 䌀愀氀氀 昀漀爀 愀 昀爀攀攀 焀甀漀琀攀 愀渀搀 氀愀礀漀甀琀 琀漀搀愀礀

The 24-year-old Lincoln graduate is working on Bert and Merle Coster’s 178 hectare dairy farm near Te Kauwhata, as assistant manager for the 500-cow herd for sharemilker Matt Young.

performance – something she’ll do later back at the office in the dairy. “Cellphone coverage isn’t that reliable on all parts of the farm, so the RT is the best way to keep in touch,” says Rachael, who also answered RT queries from other farm staff about their roles that day.

Online information

The cellphone, however, is a vital information and recording tool that Rachael uses as naturally as earlier farmers may have used a notebook. Unlike an old-fashioned notebook – the cellphone, of course, gives access to a host of online information from weather forecasts to daily reports from Fonterra on the herd’s milk production. It’s a mixed herd. The breed, says Rachael, is not as important as how the cows perform. Last season they produced on average 370 kg/ms. The cows in the young herd are in good condition. “We are pleased with how well the whole herd has come through the winter and spring, Rachael Foy’s cellphone is an integral part of her role as assistant which was very wet.” manager on a Waikato farm. A break in the weather This is Rachael’s second season on the farm – and in early-November allowed silage to be made from under Matt’s oversight she is responsible for two staff paddocks, which had been retired for that purpose, and most of the day-to-day running of the herd and and preparation had begun for sowing turnips for the property. summer feed close to the dairy. Entering the paddock with the herd of young cows, Rachael’s attention is immediately drawn to the Lincoln degree behaviour of a small group of cows around a bull. Matt also grows maize on the runoff block he owns, She records their details, using an app on her phone, and palm kernel was fed to the cows during spring. into the LIC MINDA herd record programme for Rachael grew up on a 28ha lifestyle block and from later reference as to natural breeding. an early age enjoyed managing the animals her parEarlier, walking up the race to the cows, Matt ents grazed. A neighbouring farmer taught Rachael called Rachael on the Radio Telephone, asking her how to milk cows when she was 12, and there was to prepare a report on the herd’s current and past ...continued


Page 29

Land ownership the long-term aim for prize-winning farmer Rachael Foy.

change of pace, she also plays netball in Te Kauwhata. Contract milking, leading to sharemilking and eventual farm ownership are among Rachael’s plans. Whatever she does in future, Rachael has more

than demonstrated she was worthy of the ER Hudson prize she won in 2013 for the student who showed the greatest promise of becoming a successful farmer. Elaine Fisher

The herd owned by sharemilker Matt Young produced an average of 370 kg/ms last season.


never any doubt that she would go farming. In fact she continued to help on that farm at weekends and after-school, studying agriculture by correspondence while at Huntly College, going on to complete a three-year degree in agriculture at Lincoln University. Rachael was awarded a DairyNZ scholarship for her second and third years at university, and a Landcorp scholarship for her final year. Being the only woman on the farm’s staff doesn’t concern Rachael. “There

are more women coming into farming now. It’s not as physically demanding as it was, but you still have to be strong and fit and prepared to work hard.”

Young farmers

Farming can, however, be socially isolating especially during calving when time off is limited. The North Waikato Young Farmers Club is important in providing the opportunity to socialise with likeminded people and Rachael has just stepped down as its chairperson. For a



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Irish-based company gave them better access to the latest technology developed from many years of experience in the dairy industry. “Dairymaster equipment is simple and easy to use, it’s intuitive, long-lasting and hard wearing. It has proven to be robust and low maintenance in the tough environment of a year-round dairy milking operation,” says Craig. Ag-Worx took Dairymaster on in October 2015, so have had a full year’s experience with the international brand. “We offer a customised milking solution for new shed upgrades or for additions and extensions. If it is a simple milking system that works well, costs less in maintenance and running expenses that you are looking for, contact Ag-Worx.” Call Craig Hawes for more information or to arrange a visit to a Dairymaster plant.

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Progress is impossible without change Kiwi Fertiliser is a company built on integrity and trust, and has stuck to its guns against the onslaught of the chemical NPK – Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potash – movement that continually tries to discredit any competition. Some farmers have asked: ‘Why do some academics criticise a system that works so well, and has improved our production and animal health?’ They are referring to the Albrecht-Kinsey system. Some soil chemists are in competition for clients; some are plain ignorant of the facts. Some are both. Obviously critics have never tried the method, nor do they want to understand it. If they did, they would make themselves look like bigger fools. One ploy is to mention ‘BSCR’ – or Base Saturation Cation Ratios.

Right numbers

The Albrecht-Kinsey system is practiced in 75 countries worldwide. Every year there are courses

being taught in some of those countries. We do not see any critics attending these courses. Those that practise the principles regularly meet with each other. We don’t know any consultants anywhere in the world that use BSCR. Nor has it been taught at any of those courses. Dr Albrecht did not use it or teach it. Nor does Neal Kinsey, who studied privately under Albrecht in the 1970s. BSCR was invented by the chemical industry at a later date. When we have a ratio of 10:1, and a ratio of 100:10, the ratios are the same. If the numbers represent kg/ha, or are derived from them, then the first example will have 10 per cent of the nutrients of the second example, but the ratios are the same. Some people are well-meaning and use ‘ratio’ by mistake, but others that should know better do it deliberately. Ratios? Really? Do those with university degrees actually believe their own drivel? A kg/ha and percentages are all

mass throughput of soil samples. That means the numbers are no longer appropriate for his system. You cannot take a soil sample, analyse it at one laboratory and then try to make anyone’s numbers fit. That doesn’t work. It’s akin to trying to put Ford pistons into a Holden engine, but some ‘scientific’ research uses that very principle. That’s how they wrongly claim: “The Albrecht method doesn’t work”. Use the right lab and it works brilliantly. Farmers may talk about biological farming. Opponents deliberately twist that to organic farming to suit their own agendas. There is a huge difference important. So is the lab where you get the numbers from. Few labs prescribe the same numbers around nutrients. If the lab doesn’t tell you the right numbers for your specific soil test, it’s time to change the lab.

between the two philosophies. Do those that choose ignorance really believe they are the same thing? A fourth excuse is to claim it is too expensive. Now the chemists are economists. At that level of thinking, their minds are in their shoes with no thought at all on increased quality and quantity; not only of pasture and crops, but of animal health and production. George Bernard Shaw said: “Progress is impossible without change, and those that cannot change their minds, cannot change anything”. See our advert on page 27.


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Fonterra has welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s announcement of China New Zealand Free Trade Agreement upgrade negotiations, which followed a bilateral meeting between Trade Minister Todd McClay and Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng. "The upgrade of the FTA provides an opportunity to strengthen the already strong dairy relationship between New Zealand and China,” Fonterra chairman John Wilson says. “I am pleased the leadership of both countries recognise the value of continuing to improve the FTA. We are committed to continuing to build our business in China and the FTA will remain the key platform for that growth." Fonterra has operated in China for more than 40 years, and has developed an integrated business strategy encompassing farms, ingredient products, foodservices

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Why report won’t won’t make make any any difference difference The official report states sheep are the likely source of the campylobacter contamination of the Havelock North water supply.

For those that believe dairy cows are the source of all contaminants in our groundwater it just doesn’t matter; they will continue to berate individual farmers and the industry as a whole. Unfortunately, those who see only the negatives have already been provided with sufficient ammunition for a barrage of stinging blows without any new information coming to light. The average lactations for dairy cows is now less than three, and given that cows don’t reach peak performance until seven years of age it’s a telling statistic. What is it about the rearing and feeding regimes that allows little if any discretionary culling for those rearing 25 per cent replacements each year?

Robust animals

Dairy cows are remarkably robust animals able to survive on a wide variety of feed provided the diet remains reasonably constant. Dr Max Turner of Massey University claims cows suffering from calcium-magnesium related metabolic disorder in spring were indeed very sick animals and had their diet been anywhere near suitable, few animals would ever need treatment. If the average lactation length could be doubled there would be room to cull on performance, fewer cows would be required, the genetic merit of the national herd could be lifted, and fewer animals reared with a marked reduction in labour and grazing costs.

If we are to prosper from the growing demand for pasture-only fed dairy products, the quality of the pasture provided will have to be lifted; and the primary issue would seem to be the balance of protein, carbohydrate and fibre, particularly in spring. Excess protein-nitrate from rapidly growing pasture in spring is excreted and that requires energy, already in short supply. Cows utilise whatever body reserves still available; the reason for rapid weight loss immediately after calving. The necessity to excrete excess nitrate also means the rumen is not functioning as intended, feed is not fully digested and mineral deficiency sets in resulting in low production and poor mating performance.

Rumen function

But there is an alternative. Grazing pasture that is more mature helps provide extra energy because there is more leaf surface area for sunlight to work on. Longer fibre helps improve rumen function with the pleasing result of more settled animals producing at higher levels. However, a lift in pasture growth with the subsequent improvement in feed quality is only sustainable with an improvement in physical soil structures. The soil improvers DoloZest and CalciZest, applied nationwide by an increasing number of farmers, are designed specifically to improve physical soil structures. With more crumb, soils drain more freely and plant roots extract nutrient from deeper, allowing plants to photosynthesise more effi ciently. Plant sugars increase with more of the nitrate being turned to full protein. The improved balance of the feed means rumen function is enhanced and animal performance lifts.

Rapid response

Due to the specifically selected beneficial fungi and bacteria, response can be rapid with farmers often commenting animals become more settled and graze more evenly within two weeks of application. With reduced stress on stock mating performance improves, production increases. It’s the first step in a farming system that grows more total pasture. Clover growth during summer is markedly stronger, reducing the effect of summer and early autumn dry, as well as the reliance on fertiliser nitrogen. For more information, contact Peter on 0800 843 809.

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BVD can be managed successfully Bovine Viral Diarrhoea virus, commonly known as BVD, may affect up to 60 per cent of dairy cows and 90 per cent of herds because it limits production, causes reproductive losses and may lead to animal deaths. An article on the DairyNZ website estimates annual costs of BVD infection to the New Zealand dairy industry is more than NZ$23 million, or NZ$11,334 per herd. Effects include diarrhoea, impaired reproductive performance, reduced immune function and mucosal disease. Control includes removing infected animals, vaccination, and closed herd. See: This disease can be transmitted vertically – for example, between generations – so management starts with the planning of breeding, only to breed, especially replacements, from cows in good health. The BVD virus can cross the placenta to the foetus so an infected dam will produce an infected calf. The health status of all cows should be considered in herds where BVD has been found or suspected.

Tolerant to virus

An added complication is any cow or heifer with a new infection during the first 150 days of pregnancy will produce a calf with an immune system tolerant of the virus. It will be persistently infected, ill thrift and secrete viral particles, so it’s a significant source of infection to other naive animals. Infected heifers that survive long enough to calve have been shown to have lower rates of growth, produce only half the expected milk in the first lactation, suffer multiple other infections and have a shorter lifespan. The virus is transmitted via many body fluids so horizontal transmission to naive herd mates is a risk especially when animals from different sources are comingled, as happens when calves and heifers are

pooled from different farms in commercial rearing enterprises.

Biosecurity practices

Management of BVD requires good biosecurity practices and a robust herd health record system. Bulk milk can be screened for presence of the virus or antigens to indicate relative risk in a herd while individual animal tests are valuable in identifying carriers. For problem herds, vaccines are available. Good agricultural practices for animal health must include: • Manage the herd to resist disease. • Prevent entry of disease onto the farm. • Isolate sick animals. • Have an effective herd health management programme in place. • Practise good hygiene and pest control. • Use all chemicals and veterinary medicines as prescribed. • Train people appropriately. BVD has become endemic in many cattle populations but it can be managed successfully. In Scandinavia and the north of Scotland total eradication campaigns are underway with some success. For the individual New Zealand farm, having a closed herd policy, screening the milk vat annually, only accepting animals tested free of the virus on to the farm, including bulls, and home-rearing all replacement stock are essential components of a control strategy to remain BVD free. The run-off, where contact with other animals can never be excluded, may be the weak link in the chain. Source:



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Wishes for a bright and prosperous New Year What a turbulent month November was – Trump became the United States President against all predictions; a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hit Kaikoura and on November 18 Fonterra increased its 2016-2017 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 75 cents to $6kg/ms.

The milk price increase is good news – I’m not so sure about Trump as president or how that will affect New Zealand trade – and the earthquake is devastating for Kaikoura and surrounding communities. Farmers in the region have been hard hit too. The increased milk price is of no help to those who have had to dump milk or dry off cows if they can’t farm out their herds because of damage to their dairies and roads due to the earthquakes. Sheep and beef farmers are struggling to get stock to market. Those who can are seeing a drop in lamb prices to about $90 from $100 last year and the beef schedule has also eased back, which is not helping after several tough years they’ve experienced.

Production down

Throughout the North Island milk production is down, which will offset the advantage of the increase in price. Farmers still face the same costs of production for less volume. In most parts of the Bay of Plenty and Waikato, grass growth is reasonably good despite the rain. But some areas are still struggling to get good growth and have been unable to make silage

as they normally would at this time. Many farming on low-lying swamp land are still trying to get their heads above water, so to speak. Arable farmers are also having a hard time with cropping with prices at their lowest levels for many years.

PKE-free trend

There’s an interesting trend emerging for Palm Kernel Extract-free milk production with a new boutique milk company in Auckland taking milk only from farmers who aren’t feeding their cows PKE. Landcorp, New Zealand’s biggest farmer, is to phase out palm kernel; and increasingly the farmers I talk to say they don’t like using it. However, using PKE as a supplement has taught farmers how to fully feed their herds which can be hard on an all-grass system. One young sharemilker told me it is difficult to pay the bills for those wanting to get into farm ownership using a low-input system and PKE and maize silage helps keep cows in good condition and production up. Another advantage of PKE is farmers can pick up the phone and order it when they need it. It’s sometimes not that easy with New Zealand-grown sup-



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Maize crops

We finally managed to get our maize crops planted, but had to change varieties to ensure we can harvest by the end of March to ensure we get new grass sown in time. Maize silage could be in short supply again this season because many farmers aren’t growing it and contractors have cut back on areas sown. We have planted a little more than last year, but not a lot more. I hope the increased payout and improving weather will take some of the stress off dairy farmers in the lead-up to Christmas. We will be contactable during the Christmas and New Year should anyone require any milking quality silage or other supplement. As another year draws to a close, the team at Bill Webb Feed Solution’s wishes everyone a Happy Christmas, good times with family and friends, safe travels, and a bright and prosperous New Year.

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plements like maize silage, silage and hay. A whole generation of farmers and consultants have not experienced the need to plan and order ahead for extra feed and if PKE is phased out, they are in for a steep learning experience – especially if we have a summer drought. Recently, with a lack of sunshine, the grass didn’t produce enough dry matter to fully feed cows – they can’t eat 100kg of grass to get the 10kg of dry matter they need so production drops and condition comes off their backs. One option is to feed fibre in the form of hay or straw, which is a low-cost but effective way to help get the most out of low DM grass at this time of the year.

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Parasite-resistant deer on the horizon? Deer breeders who want to select deer with natural resistance to internal parasites may now do so. However, they’re taking a punt, as research to find out whether – or how – resistance is linked to growth rates and parasite levels in deer won’t be completed until late-2017. Resistance levels are scored using a saliva test that measures the antibodies triggered when animals ingest internal parasites. Dubbed CARLA, short for Carbohydrate Larval Antigens, the test was developed by AgResearch scientists for the sheep industry, where CARLA Breeding Values are now a routine part of genetic selection. Research to date shows CARLA responses in deer are heritable and CARLA levels may be a useful predictor of resistance to internal parasites. This resistance varies both within and across breeds, with wapiti-crossbred terminal and red maternal progeny having similar responses. Deer industry’s genetic database Deer Select’s manager Sharon McIntyre says CARLA BVs will eventually be provided within Deer Select.

Robust database

mended deer drenching programme, there’s a 90-day withholding period between the last drench and slaughter. That’s a long-time without a drench when you are chasing premium spring venison prices,” says Geoff. “Some breeders want to get in on the ground floor and breed deer that need less drenching in their first year. “The ideal would be an animal that only needed drenching at weaning and perhaps once or twice more, before natural resistance to parasites kicked in. As I say, that’s the ideal, but we can’t promise that – at least not yet. And the last thing we want to do is over-promise and under-deliver.”

The need for drenching may be reduced if deer can be bred for internal parasite resistance.

Growth rates

Research now underway into the linkage between CARLA scores and deer growth rates is part of a two-year project dubbed Tomorrow’s Deer. It is funded by DEEResearch – the organisation that channels farmer levies into research – as well AgResearch, which is providing substantial core funding. The project aims to identify genes, such as for parasite and disease resistance, that will enable deer to thrive in a commercial farming environment. In an interesting twist, the study is being broadened in 2017 to see whether resistance to parasites is linked to resistance to an important deer disease. “In this trial we will look at the health and performance response to an artificial Johne’s disease challenge in deer from both high and low CARLA bloodlines and those that come from Johne’s disease-resistant and susceptible bloodlines,” says Geoff.

“Recording fields have been set up, but for the meantime the BVs will be produced off-line through AgResearch. “While we could do this quite easily within Deer Select, it is important at this stage that the data collection is supervised. Also we want to reinforce Disease challenge the message to breeders that the tech“This is the first time progeny from nology is experimental,” says Sharon. sires with known immune responses Sharon says the CARLA scores now to two different organisms have had being gathered will be added to the their performance measured under data collected in the Deer Progeny a crossover-type disease challenge. Test, to help build a robust database “The aim is to find genetic markers that one day may underpin a BV for and breed for deer with high levels of worm resistance. This would enable immune competence for the farms of commercial farmers to factor worm tomorrow.” resistance into their decision-making Geoff says it will be interesting to see when buying stags. AgResearch senior scientist Geoff how all the genetic factors play out. • Mow asyet a conventional ride on. Asher says there is considerable com-twice as “Wefast don’t know what an optimal • with Safe on hills and manoeuvrable in astight areas. mercial pressure to come up CARLA response looks like, perhaps a practical solution to the growing some overactive responders • Rugged fabricated steel immune frame and deck. resistance of internal parasites to the may be wasting valuable energy on drenches used in deer. unnecessary immune responses rather “When farmers are using the recomthan growth.”

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Moutohora Island unrecognisable from three decades ago The last time I stepped ashore at Moutohora (Whale) Island, its flanks were almost bare of vegetation, other than a few hardy pohutukawa and small stands of bush. And its most abundant wildlife was hundreds, if not thousands, of rabbits. Thirty-seven years later the 143-hectare island off Whakatane’s coast is cloaked in lush native bush, its canopy filled with native birds – and, there’s not a rabbit in sight. The difference three-plus decades and thousands of hours of pest eradication and replanting have made is truly impressive. Back in the late-1970s while working at the ‘Whakatane Beacon’ I spent a

couple of weekends on Moutohora – commonly called Whale Island – with dolphin researchers Des Crosland and Ramari Stewart, who, with the permission of the then island owner Mick Orchard, and the wildlife division of Internal Affairs, had erected a small hut near Boulder Bay. From there they made trips in their five-metre catamaran Interlock Two to record and observe the activities of a resident population of dolphins as part of a research project coordinated by Wade and Jan Doak of Tutukaka, Northland.

The view from the saddle of Moutohora Island out to White Island is impressive.

Orca and dolphins

Aboard Interlock Two, I was fortunate to enjoy a very close encounter with the dolphins and their young; and on another occasion an up-close inspection from a bull orca, which

swam to the small craft before diving beneath its hull, causing not a ripple but demonstrating he was far longer than the yacht. He may or may not have been attracted by the music of Pink Floyd, which Des was playing through the yacht’s hull. But whatever the cause of his deviation to check us out – he soon rejoined the two females he was accompanying.

Seal colony

In October this year I made the trip back to Moutohora on a much larger vessel The Moutohora Cat – operated by White Island Tours and skippered that day by David Plews with guide Fiona Coulter. It’s just a short 10 to 15-minute trip, first across the Whakatane’s bar, then to the island where we stopped to view seals resting on rocks on the island’s western side. A few minutes later Dave nosed

Moutohora Cat onto the beach at Boulder Bay, and we alighted by way of a ladder over the bow. Fiona took our small party on a guided walk of the island, so radically changed from that I had known, it was impossible to identify where Des and Ramari’s hut had been. There is, however, a Department of Conservation hut close to the bay where staff and volunteers stay to carry out work or research. Fiona has stayed there as part of a fire watch team in the past.

Pa site

She explained the island’s original native vegetation and wildlife had been largely destroyed by human activity and by feral animals including goats, rabbits, rats and cats. The island, a remnant volcanic cone that has eroded away to leave its two distinct peaks, has a number of significant archaeological sites including an

extensive pa. In the 1830s a shore-based whaling station was established but the venture failed without a single whale being captured. Forty years later sulphur was extracted from the island’s still active geothermal area but was of such poor quality the venture was abandoned in 1895. The next phase of industrial activity came in 1915, when quarrying provided rock for the construction of the Whakatane Harbour wall. A total of 26,000 tonnes of rock was removed during five years. In 1965 Moutohora was declared a wildlife refuge and the island was bought by the Crown in 1984.

Threatened species

The most significant feature of Moutohora’s current fauna is the breeding colony of grey-faced petrels. ...continued


Page 37

Shore and sea birds, not rabbits or goats, the residents now continued...

Sooty shearwaters, little blue penguins, the threatened New Zealand dotterel and variable oystercatcher also breed on the island. Threatened species that are occasional visitors are the Caspian tern, the North Island kaka and New Zealand falcon. Almost as soon as we entered the regenerating bush we saw kakariki – known as red crowned parakeets– tui and fantail. Shortly after I heard, then caught my first ever glimpse of a tieke – North Island saddleback – it was so quick it was almost impossible to photograph.

and grey warblers also call the island home. The island also has a population of little brown kiwi, which we didn’t see. We know they are there because Fiona located some of the males with an antenna, which picked up the signal from their transmitters.

Resting tuatara

Fiona also lifted the lid of a gecko ‘motel’ to reveal a number of the lizards in the specially made shelter. “There are tuatara on the island too and sometimes we see them resting by the track,” she said – but not that day. One part of the island I did recognise was the saddle on the ocean side from where I had joined Ramari to watch for dolphins – the view is still as spectacular and the drop to the rocks below, just as steep as I remembered. From there we walked back to the landward shore and round to Sulphur Bay, where hot pools that once existed were used by early pioneers as therapy for invalids. After lunch on the beach it was back to Boulder Bay, where Dave brought the cat Guide Fiona Coulter to shore for us to board, and checks for signals from took us on a circumnavigation kiwi transmitters of the island to view its rugged during a tour of Seals resting ocean face. Moutohora Island. on a rocky Landing on the island shore at requires a permit, and White Island Tours is one of Moutohora the tour operators that has DOC permission to take Island. parties ashore. Strict biosecurity protocols are in place to ensure the decades of restoration and pest eradicaThat these vocal and attractive birds are on the tion work aren’t undone. island is a result of local Ngati Awa and the DepartMoutohora/Whale Island tours operate daily but ment of Conservation joining forces in March 1999 to transfer 40 tieke from Repanga (Cuvier Island), off are subject to weather and demand. To find out more, visit: the coast of Coromandel, to Moutohora. Bellbirds

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Page 38

Flystrike already affecting livestock and pets Already this summer period we are seeing cases of fly infestations on livestock and at times even our companion animals. The main culprit is the Australian blow fly, Chrysomya megacephala, lays eggs that develop quickly into larvae and constitute the majority of the maggots found in damaged skin and underlying tissue. Areas commonly affected by flystrike are around the tail, on the backline, on the flanks of the belly and around the pizzle in males. They can also be found at the pole – between the ears of rams from fighting – and between the toes following footrot. Shearing is helpful to deter infestation for a few weeks, though shearing cuts and other wounds will



attract flies. Affected animals may nibble their wool, stamp their feet and twitch their tails prior to becoming depressed and succumbing to the infection. Dark patches may also be seen on white fleece. Maggots can be difficult to see so the wool should be parted and checked. The Australian blow fly, Chrysomya Prevention and treatment megacephala, is the main culprit of flyblown stock should be done in a when it comes to flystrike. timely manner. within hours. In the case of sheep six weeks Cyrex is available in 250ml bottles, post-shearing is ideal for uptake of which must be diluted at a ratio of chemical. 10ml concentrate to 5L water. Insect growth regulators such as Treatment of flyblown animals Cyrex, generally give up to 12 weeks’ should also involve clipping of wool protection when applied properly and from around the affected area close to are safe to use. the skin and disposing of the clippings. Insect Growth Regulators act on Where clipping-shedding of wooled maggot stages so adult flies will die out areas over the back occurs the exposed naturally in a few weeks. Cyrex also skin is prone to sunburn and may kills maggots quickly, with the dual combination of active ingredients stop- become inflamed and infected. Protection of this skin should be with a ping the active feeding of zinc-based product such as the antibacmaggots within minutes of contact terial containing cream Filta Bac. and dead maggots moving off wounds

No odours from composting loos The BioLoo composting toilets are designed in New Zealand for New Zealanders and are the sensible answer to human organic waste management. Bio systems manager Roy Holmes says the toilets are environmentally-friendly, economical, easy to install and easy to use and because they do not use power, water or chemicals there is absolutely no pollution. Composting toilets are recycling devices. Anaerobic composting is done through fermentation using very limited oxygen. It relies

on anaerobic microbes to decompose the materials. Pathogens are killed slowly in the unfavourable environment, which is the fastest way to break down waste into useful organic matter. “Composting toilets turn what is commonly considered to be a waste material, and turn it into a valuable resource for the environment. “That means that you can leave the system to do the work for you and trust that in the end you will have a safe, composted material that can be used on your gardens,” said Roy. After the recommended composting durations, the humus that comes out is completely pathogenfree and totally safe to handle. “It’s great for you and even better for the planet.” Because the toilets do not use water they will

help conserve water and require little maintenance. The toilets are vented so there are no unpleasant odours and there is no need for toilet cleaners or room deodorisers. Roy says the systems are much cheaper to purchase and install compared to septic systems, saving you money right from the start. “Once installed, they require very little ongoing maintenance due to the use primarily of solid-state technologies, which means you won’t be facing huge repair bills.” These composting toilets meet all the required New Zealand standards and the building code and are in use by the Department of Conservation and regional councils. With the additional use of an evaporation tank, the toilet becomes a zero discharge unit.


Page 39

The opportunities of having additional titles Having your farm in several titles allows you to keep the mortgage under control while you expand and restructure. You may not have realised that in owning more than one adjoining block of land with a separate certificate of title, you potentially have a significant opportunity. Now that rural subdivision rules have tightened up significantly in most districts, moving or reducing the size of and amalgamating titles is really coming into its own. Most councils allow some form of adjusting or moving boundaries and have various rules governing how you can do this. Relocating and shrinking the size of titles can be a huge advantage to some when they need to raise capital for a purchase or dispose of a house on the farm, for example.

he still owns several titles that can be adjusted in the future to provide further opportunity. In addition to these opportunities we’ve managed to retain some limited subdivision opportunities with both the balance of his current land holding and that land to be acquired – allowing him the flexibility to create small farming blocks for family in the future. If you’re planning your future and wish to clarify any subdivision or boundary

adjustment issues, feel free to give me a call. I’m happy to discuss the situation with you to see if it is worth pursuing.

Brent Trail, managing director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Coromandel. For further information call 0800 268 632 or email btrail@

Surplus houses

Recently I was asked to advise a client who wanted to purchase an adjoining block, which suited his farming and view to the future. The current state of the sector he was in did not allow him to increase his gearing a great deal. However, we found he had real options due to the number and size of titles that he’s currently farming. Firstly, he had two surplus houses that were rented out. These were actually on large titles, which we proposed could be reduced in size to create lifestyle blocks – the balance of these titles could be amalgamated with adjoining land that he owned. Secondly, the large property he was aiming to purchase contained a substantial house that was also marketable on a lifestyle block – once again giving him the opportunity to release some immediate capital from that block.

Lower lending

Acting on these opportunities would give him the ability to lower his lending requirements by potentially well more than $1 million once expenses have been paid. In short, this could well make the difference between the bank supporting his purchasing proposition or not. This proposal is actually a double-edged sword, not only enabling him to purchase the addition to the property he required to become economical long-term but also allowing him to quit the rental properties that had always been a distraction and were quickly becoming a liability. Luckily for this farmer we’ve not exhausted his opportunities because, following this adjustment,


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Page 40

Search is on for kiwifruit industry’s industry’s finest finest The search is on for the kiwifruit industry’s finest leader as judges call for nominations for the 2017 Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal award. The kiwifruit Industry Advisory Council established the pan-industry Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal in 2012 to honour the people who set up and led the industry to become New Zealand’s largest horticultural export. IAC chairman Paul Jones says the New Zealand industry is on track to more than double sales to $4.5 billion by 2025 and he’s asking people right across the industry to nominate those people who’ve been a key part of this success.

“The industry gala dinner this year where the medal will be presented marks the 20th anniversary of the Zespri brand so this is a pretty special award for us. “We’re calling on our colleagues to nominate the people they think have made a defining contribution right across the fields of leadership, innovation and technology to the industry success we see today, 20 years on from setting up our world-class brand.

Celebrate excellence

“Kiwifruit is New Zealand’s largest horticultural exporter, employing about 18,000 people throughout the season, and we’ve got some of the best people in the country on our team. The Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal has

been set up to acknowledge and celebrate the excellence, commitment and leadership they’ve shown during the years, driving our industry’s success. “We’re asking for nominations now because the award will be presented at the industry’s gala dinner next year and we want to make sure that everyone across the industry has the chance to submit their nominations before taking their summer break,” says Paul. Award-sponsor Fresh Carriers president Takao Takeshige says the shipping company is proud to continue its support of the kiwifruit industry award. “In the 30 years our company has been shipping NZ kiwifruit to Japan, we have worked with many fine people in the kiwifruit industry and we are very honoured

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.

to present the Fresh Carriers Hayward Medal to the winner at the Hayward Medal Dinner,” says Takao.

Vision and drive

announced and presented with the award at the Gala Dinner, which follows the kiwifruit industry conference Momentum early next year.

During the last five years the medal Previous winners has been awarded to people who • 2014 – Sir Brian Elwood in recogmade outstanding contributions to nition of the leadership displayed the kiwifruit industry in very different as chairman of industry regulator ways, through science, leadership and Kiwifruit New Zealand during 10 personal vision and drive. years. Last year, Sir Brian Elwood was • 2013 – growers Paul Heywood and awarded the Fresh Carriers Hayward Leo Mangos jointly awarded the Medal in recognition of the leadership medal for their work in establishing he displayed as chairman of industry the grower-owned structure of the regulator Kiwifruit New Zealand industry. during 10 years. • 2013 – former chair of the New The medal is named after the green Zealand Kiwifruit Marketing Hayward cultivar, which remains the Board, John Palmer, for his tireless foundation of kiwifruit industry, and efforts to bring the kiwifruit indusacknowledges the talented hortitry through the fiscal crisis in the culturalist Hayward Wright, whose early-1990s. innovation and contribution set up • 2012 – the inaugural award went the industry as we know it today. to Plant & Food Research plant Nominations close on Friday, breeder Russell Lowe for develop9 and nominations forsensors, the Our December Atoms are set up with radar speed this ing and helping commercialise the pan-industry award are sprayer controllers and gold kiwifruit variety Hort16A, combined with fully automated threeencouraged nozzle ringsfrom enhances right application efficiency and adding more than $3 billion to the accuracy. across the industry. industry and New Zealand. Theuse winner willbike be for strip weed spray 216 Pongakawa Bush Road We also a quad applications. Te Puke We hold all certificates needed to meet Globalgap compliance. We look at all challenges to help ensure we protect your crop with excellence.

Tooocontact d was us: Sir Brian Elw r of 907 621 Phone: ’s winne021 last year s er ri ar Fresh C theE-mail: . al ed M d Haywar

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:

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Page 41

Helping maximise grower returns

Hume Pack N Cool is a kiwifruit packhouse and coolstorage facility that has been based in the heart of Katikati since 1984. “From small beginnings the business has grown through innovation, integrity and commitment to our growers that has inspired strong loyalty from our clients and staff,” says commercial manl provides world-class Hume Pack N Coo Splash Direct ager Simon Bowker. growers through its statepost-harvest services to2113 MainlRoad 07y 573 6138 “We specialise in growing kiwifruit through our facilit storagePhone and of-the-art packhouseTe Puke coo Email orchard management division as well as providing world-class post-harvest services to our growers through our state-of-the-art packhouse and cool “We cater to a wide range of clients from lifestyle storage facility.” growers to large-scale commercial growers running With the industry undergoing massive growth very sophisticated operations and treat both equally during the last couple of seasons Hume Pack N as valuable. Cool has been continually updating its services and “We believe the industry is in good heart and the facility to ensure it remains at the forefront of the future of kiwifruit is bright with continued conindustry and can sustainably continue to provide sumer demand for quality, sustainable produce. growers with excellent returns. “We invite anyone who is currently thinking “We have heavily invested in our people and about joining the industry or looking to get more infrastructure to ensure we can deliver to our clients out of their orchard to call us and we will visit and and ensure we have capacity for future growth. see how we can help you maximise your return.”

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Page 42

Bio-pesticides -future for healthy food Earlier this year, Horticulture New Zealand refreshed its strategic plan and developed a new vision: ‘Healthy food for all forever’. Implicit in this new vision is the concept of intergenerational sustainability and care for the land that is used to grow fruit and vegetables. This sustainability ethos extends to the chemicals we use and the search for environmentally-friendly and sustainable substitutes. As horticulture is undergoing exceptional growth, we also need to be ahead of trends to ensure our ongoing competitiveness. As our exports grow, so too does our awareness that consumers are increasingly seeking out food produced sustainably and with minimal chemical use. Tolerance for chemical residues in fresh produce is low in our key export markets, and testing regimes are getting ever more precise. Our spray and fertiliser programmes focus on using the best possible options, but we are always looking for ways to enhance our operations.

Message service

Chemical pesticides

Our innovative approach and a global move away from chemical pesticides has resulted in growers in New Zealand looking at what the alternatives are to control pests and diseases that can cause major production losses, or even wipe out crops. Pesticides are being progressively phased out and to balance this there is huge investment in biological controls, such as bio-pesticides. Bio-pesticides are naturally occurring substances or micro-organisms that control pests. Companies traditionally selling agrichemicals are part of a worldwide race to develop and commercialise bio-pesticides, which generally have a reduced risk profile with limited residues; therefore have significant

advantages for growers and consumers. On a global scale, New Zealand is a very small market for agrichemical companies. As growers increasingly seek out alternatives to agrichemicals, there is less appetite for companies producing these products to invest in research and development, or to register products in New Zealand. Yet if New Zealand is to remain reliant on agrichemicals, access to technology will be essential to meet residue compliance, combat pest resistance, and allow for targeted use.


At this stage, regulatory systems for biopesticides are not as widely developed as agrichemical registration systems in many countries, including New Zealand. Neither the Environmental Protection Authority nor the Ministry for Primary Industries currently provide specific advice on requirements for registration of bio-pesticides. So there is limited access in New Zealand, though some bio-pesticides have been registered under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act. As bio-pesticides are predicted to be a key component of future pest management systems globally, it makes sense to look at positioning New Zealand as world-leading in terms of sustainability, low residues, and reduced agrichemical use, particularly as our exports target smaller, high-value market segments with high expectations. It is good to see the likes of AgResearch, Lincoln and Massey Universities, Plant & Food Research and Scion being involved in bio-pesticides research and development. But considerable investment and education will be required if New Zealand growers are going to have timely access to the same pest management as their global competitors. At Horticulture New Zealand we too are working to help develop the regulatory framework for the efficient registration of bio-pesticides.

A $400 fine for fruit fly mandarin Ministry for Primary Industries staff intercepted four Queensland fruit fly larvae at Wellington airport in November, stopping the dangerous pest from making a home in New Zealand.

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The larvae were found in an undeclared mandarin carried by an Australian passenger arriving from Melbourne. They have since been confirmed as Queensland fruit fly – regarded as one of the worst horticultural pests in the world.

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“One of our quarantine officers detected the fruit when the passenger’s bag went through an MPI biosecurity x-ray machine. Another officer discovered insect damage on the mandarin and pulled the skin off, finding the larvae nestled inside,” says MPI border clearance manager, central and south region Andrew Spelman. “Keeping fruit fly out of New Zealand is one of our highest priorities. The Wellington interception shows the value of MPI’s biosecurity x-ray technology,

which has been upgraded during the last few years.” So far this year, MPI staff have made 11 fruit fly interceptions at the border. MPI checks all produce seized from arriving passengers for signs of pests or diseases, says Andrew. It also checks organic material disposed in MPI amnesty bins at airports and ports. The Australian traveller received a $400 fine for failing to declare the mandarin.


Page 43

Integrating the supply chain There are a number of developments underway at Just Avocados – all designed to enhance the benefits the fully integrated specialist avocado service company already brings to its growers. Its parent brand has a new name – the Darling Group. And there’s a new sister company – J.H. Leavy & Co, which is one of the oldest established fruit and vegetable wholesaling businesses in Brisbane. Darling Group chairman Andrew Darling says the purchase of J.H.Leavy is: “In line with the vision of the Darling Group to continue vertical integration across New Zealand avocados and kiwifruit to bring efficiencies to the supply chain”. “We [the Darling Group] are striving for excellence in all areas; our quality, our capability, our relationships and in growers returns.”

International platform

In November 2015 Andrew took sole ownership of Just Avocados Ltd, Global Fresh NZ Ltd, Global Fresh Australia Ltd, the group also has a significant investment in domestic avocado marketer Zeafruit Ltd. It was in July this year that GFA acquired J.H. Leavy & Co. Andrew says the purchase fits with the company’s long-held desire to broaden and expand its international business platform, and develop a more integrated supply chain covering production, packing, logistics, warehousing, sales and distribution. “We see greater opportunities for suppliers and

customers alike on both sides of the Tasman as we look to develop enduring relationships, building on the synergies created through a broader customer engagement, product range and stable of brands,” says Andrew, who has since the 1990s has played significant ownership and leadership roles in the avocado and kiwifruit industries.

New tag line

In September this year the various entities came under Darling Group Holdings Ltd with new the Darling Group branding rolled out with tagline ‘Family. Fresh. Fun’. Those are not the only positive changes underway for Just Avocados. The post-harvest facilities at its Woodland Rd site are undergoing an upgrade, including a new packaging area, loading dock and new road to make truck access safer and more efficient. The coolstore has also been upgraded with the installation of state-of-the-art pre-cooler, extractors, evaporators and condensers and electronic monitoring. Jarrod Redwood, Just Avocados’ general manager operations and grower services says the facility now has improved its capability in pulling fruit temperatures down quickly and in the ability to control and maintain ideal holding temperatures, all contributing to long term fruit quality. In the packhouse, the new Tama net wrapping machine has sped up the palletisation process. Just Avocados also has a new ripening facility servicing the New Zealand market retail programmes. “This capability gives JAL greater control over the pre-ripening process and has gone extremely well with positive feedback from customers and retailers,” says Jarrod.

Jarrod Redwood (left) and Andrew Darling with the new Just Avocados sign outside its up-graded Woodlands Road post-harvest facility.

growers packers exporters marketers No one knows avocados like Just Avocados. From growing to international marketing and everything in between, we do it all. As growers ourselves, we are focused and determined to get the best results – just like you. Talk to us today about putting your avocados in our experienced hands. Contact Greg O’Carroll, Client Relationship Manager M: 027 268 0374 E: or drop in and see us for a chat at 54 Woodland Road, Katikati.

@just_avocados @justavocados


Page 44

Big fruit, big season – great news for growers Optimum growing conditions in the Bay of Plenty combined with excellent orchard management practices have created an ideal supply-demand scenario for avocado export group AVOCO.



Large size fruit – of 16-25 count – carries a premium export price and growers supplying AVOCO are likely to be well rewarded with the export group reporting more than three-quarters of its fruit volume is falling into this heavy weight band category for the year to date. With larger fruit preferred by consumers in Australia and in growing export markets like Korea, the match-up of supply and demand has been pleasing, says AVOCO director John Carroll. “The five packhouses supporting AVOCO – including our three in the Bay of Plenty – have been dealing with significant volumes of large fruit, which is good news for our retail supply in Australia particularly. Our closest neighbours are more familiar with that size and have come to appreciate they can rely on us to supply a high quality product each and every week.

Korean growth

“Equally satisfying is seeing the growth coming out of Korea where large, ready-to-eat pieces are frequently sought by more and more consumers visiting the supermarket.” After a short crop of 2.5 million trays last season, about 5.1 million trays will be exported

nationally in 2016-2017 – exceeding the previous record of 4.5 million trays two years ago. AVOCO will handle the bulk of New Zealand’s crop and this season will export about 3.1 million trays, with 83 per cent destined for Australia. The remaining 17 per cent will be sent to various Asian markets, including Japan, Thailand, Singapore, India and Korea and marketed under the AVANZA brand. AVANZA is responsible for 85 per cent of all NZ exports to Korea this season, shipping more than 7000 trays a week during a 25-week supply window. The total volume is up 135 per cent on last year. Shipments to Japan will end this month, completing a 10-week picking season for this more established market that was earmarked for 210,000 trays in 2016 – a 65 per cent increase. “In a record volume year like this, it’s been critical for us to meet our customers’ expectations, both in Australia and in our Asian AVANZA markets where we have spent a lot of time and energy promoting New Zealand avocados,” says AVOCO director Alistair Young. “That investment in recent years is paying off and this season we’ve received significant orders.

“What’s more, our experience in flow planning and logistics means growers can feel confident about our ability to supply the market with fruit when it needs it most to maximise grower returns as well as respond quickly to changing market conditions.”

Thailand’s mourning

An example is AVANZA’s prompt response to changes in Thailand where the population entered a period of mourning following the death of their King, negatively affecting the hospitality sector. A volume of fruit destined for Thailand was quickly redirected to other AVANZA markets. By the end of December, AVOCO expects to have harvested 70 per cent of growers’ fruit. The remaining 30 per cent left on the trees will be picked for Australia, which experiences a shortage of domestic fruit in January and February. Alistair says the ChristmasNew Year period will remain busy for growers and local packhouses but strong demand for avocados coming out of Australia means their efforts will be well rewarded when disciplines are maintained.

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About three-quarters of avocados harvested and exported through AVOCO are premium, large-sized fruit.

Restoring Christmas spirit The Salvation Army is expecting to help 17,000 families and individuals in urgent need this year—people who find the pressure of Christmas kills their joy and hope. It is asking New Zealanders to help bring hope to life for these struggling people by donating to its Christmas Appeal. Salvation Army head of social services Major Pam Waugh says for New Zealanders who are only just getting by, Christmas adds extra pressure on top of the everyday bills and stress. “It kills the spirit of Christmas – joy, faith, hope and love. When there’s pressure on families, parents get stressed and it can lead to despair, depression and relationship breakdowns. It can be a time of loneliness for the elderly, and it can destroy children’s hope that Christmas will be a special time for them.” Increased financial pressures due to the rising cost of housing, the general cost of living and the downturn in the rural economy have seen more people coming to The Salvation Army for help this year. Budgeting, counselling, advocacy and accommodation services are in high demand, while almost 30,000 struggling New Zealand families and individuals have come to The Salvation Army needing food parcels this year to September 30. This is a 4.3 per cent increase on the same period last year. You can donate to the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal online at or by phoning 0800 53 00 00.


Benefit of low-volume spray Since 2006 the New Zealand Avocado Industry Council and the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Farming Fund have supported research into the use of the product Du-Wett in low volume concentrate spraying of avocados in both Northland and the Bay of Plenty.

avocado industry use high water volumes – up to 6000 litres/ha on large trees – to obtain adequate spray coverage for pest and disease, arguing that high volumes are needed to obtain adequate cover and deposition, especially in the top of the canopy of large trees where spray drift reduces the volume of spray deposited on the target. “By adding Du-Wett and reducing the water volume to achieve three-times concentrate spraying, the same or better results can be achieved. Du-Wett will reduce Etec Crop Solutions’ northern regional drift. manager Pieter Van Der Westhuizen “Du-Wett affects the properties of the water says the findings from this work droplets, making them slightly larger, enhancing have concluded low-volume the droplets’ ballistic profile. spraying with Du-Wett can Larger droplets are also less likely to evapoprovide higher and more rate under the same conditions as smaller evenly distributed spray droplets.” deposits on avocado fruit The challenge on rainfastness due to and foliage throughout the unsettled weather can be mitigated canopy, compared to high by using Du-Wett WeatherMax Improved fruit volume spraying. to enhance spreading and foliage quality is among the “Concentrate spraying deposition just like Du-Wett will not increase the residue results achieved by the use of a and also provide rainfastness, say profile of insecticides. Du- new product for avocado crops. Pieter. Wett, acting as a super spreader, “Growers and contractors have will spread a three-time concentrate droplet over a experienced the same efficacy from Du-Wett Weathermuch larger surface area compared to a same size high Max in three-times concentrate spraying as they have volume droplet. come to expect from Du-Wett. “In the trials it was found that pest and disease conLow volume spraying with Du-Wett plus oils has trol was also maintained or improved with low volume proven to be non-phytotoxic to avocado trees using spraying with gains for growers in both spray efficiency three and even five times less water volumes with oils such as D-C Tron and Excel Oil than standard and orchard returns. practice. “Du-Wett low volume spraying also provided effec“The result of this work has allowed best practice tive deposits on the avocado lower leaf surface, which guidelines to be developed for New Zealand avocado were poorly covered with conventional dilute spray growers to set up sprayers for concentrate sprays; to mixtures.” accurately apply them to different sized avocado trees Pieter says when first introduced to the concentrate with the use of Du-Wett to maximise the quantity and spraying concept, many in the horticultural industry evenness of concentrate spray deposits on fruit and often asked how can that work – better coverage with foliage. less water? “So the message is spreading, low volume spraying But for several years now many growers with crops with Du-Wett delivers results, and saves time with no such as kiwifruit, vegetables, grapes, pipfruit and other additional leaf or fruit problems,” says Pieter. crops have been reaping the rewards from the use of Du-Wett as a crucial part of their spray programme. Many of the benefits growers comment on are: “I get superior spray results, even on hard to wet plant surfaces”. And “I can spray a bigger area with every tank full”. Another says: “I have less leaf phyto symptoms”. And: “It saves me a lot of time when I’m spraying”. At present many in the

Cheeky grin NZ Avocado’s suave new animated avocado character is named ‘Ollie’ following a nationwide social media competition to pick a memorable moniker for him. NZ Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular says Ollie is appearing in television commercials, on their website and in Facebook posts to help promote one of New Zealand’s most-loved fruits. “Kiwis have fallen head over heels in love with avocados and consumed record numbers last season. This year we have a bumper crop and we’re sure Ollie’s going to charm households into eating even more with his good looks, high energy and cheeky grin.” For more information, visit: www.nzavocado. or follow on social media @NZ_Avocado @ Jen_Scoular

Page 45


Page 46

Prevention better than cure for flystrike Flystrike is the most significant external parasite of sheep in New Zealand, costing farmers millions of dollars in lost productivity annually. Warmer weather triggers hordes of flies to emerge from soils and begin their assault on sheep.

Once attacked, sheep have few natural defences they can deploy to combat infestations. Struck sheep will be irritated considerably by the feeding actions of the

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Modern chemical treatments have been a game-changer in the prevention and control of flystrike. In particular, the Insect Growth Regulators’ ability to provide long-term protection has significantly reduced the costs of flystrike. The key to success with any treatment programme is to ensure you are using effective chemicals correctly. Chemical-resistant flies have been confirmed in some regions, and are expected to spread in time. Always follow manufacturer-recommended dose rates and application instructions. When it comes to flystrike protection, prevention is always better than cure.

Safety first a must at shearing time

• Prevent flystrike for up to 12 weeks

With shearing getting underway, former world champion shearer Sir David Fagan is encouraging farmers to work with their shearers to manage injury risks.

• Control lice infections for up to 5 months Call your animal health technical manager, agri manager or the Customer Centre on 0800 100 123

maggots leading to sharp reductions in their own feed intake. Left untreated, these infestations will result in reduced live-weight gain, wool yield, fertility and ultimately expensive stock losses. Farmers need to have a pest management strategy for flystrike that integrates the following: 1. Ensuring stock are kept well fed. 2. Crutching and shearing sheep to reduce attractiveness to flies. 3. Using an effective drenching programme for worms to reduce dags. 4. Remove and disposal of dead animals. 5. Applying effective flystrike treatments.

Farm with greater certainty

Shearing means long hours and the increased risk of back injuries, sprains, strains and hand wounds. Last

year, 129 people suffered severe injuries while shearing. “Contractors who shear or crutch thousands of sheep each year are generally well set-up to manage risks,” says David, who is a five-time individual World Champion and seven-time World Team Champion. “However, shearing gear needs to be well-maintained, and if you’re upgrading the shearing plant, consider a safety sensor with a cutout switch. “Farmers should also ensure their stock are fasted and empty before shearers arrive. A full animal is heavier and awkward to handle and increases the chance of an injury to the shearer.” David encourages farmers to check the tracks to the woolshed are safe for shearers’ vehicles and ensure the woolshed steps aren’t slippery. A safe and clean working environment with basic facilities, such as toilets and wash basins, is also a good idea.” WorkSafe’s sector lead for agriculture Al McCone says farmers and shearers

need to take the time to check all gear before shearing gets underway. “It’s really important to make sure everyone takes extra care when operating equipment like the wool press and grinders. “Talk with your shearers about the best techniques for handling and shearing sheep, what the risks around the shed are, and what that means for the people and equipment the farm provides. “Everyone in the woolshed needs to keep health and safety front of mind. The checks and conversations might take an hour or two of your time, but if you, your workers or a member of your shearing gang are laid low with a back injury, that’s going to have a much bigger impact on your bottom line.” WorkSafe’s Safer Farms programme published new guidance to support farmers in managing risks around shearing. The guidance is at: http://


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Drench resistance – a new strategy is needed Many farmers involved in the livestock industry are becoming increasingly concerned with what is known as “drench resistance”. This is where parasites, and particularly internal parasites – like worms – develop resistance to the chemical drenches that are designed to eliminate them, says Gordon Levet of Kikitangeo Romney Stud. “This resistance phenomenon is also well-recognised in the medical world, where a whole range of diseases are no longer being controlled by even the most powerful of drugs.” In the 1950s at the beginning of the “chemical era”, effective chemical drenches were being developed to control worms. Since then, it has been standard practice to use chemical drenches on a regular basis. However these drenches never achieve a total kill, so the most resistant 1 or 0.1 per cent survive to mate with other surviving worms. “In a relatively short period, about 10 years, the drench becomes ineffective as a new population of resistant worms has evolved.” During the years a succession of new drenches have been introduced, and on every occasion the worm parasites have become immune to the chemical poisons. In desperation, drug companies have combined chemicals to give double or triple combinations. However, again worms evolve to survive and render the drench virtually useless.

Troubling results

“Unfortunately, many left after a few years because costs and labour involved did not result in increased ram sales.

Worm resistance

“There was also a degree of negativity, and misinformation from some quarters. However, some breeders continued – accepting the prognosis advanced by parasitologists. “Now, 30 years on, some breeders now have flocks that have a reasonable degree of worm resistance in their flocks. “It needs to be understood that breeding for worm resistance is in fact breeding for an enhanced and pro-active immune system, which recognises a worm challenge and acts to control it.” “It is unfortunate the leaders of the sheep industry have not recognised the genetic potential of controlling worm challenges using an enhanced immune system. “Instead, all the emphasis is on strategies to minimise the impact of drench resistance, and

Gordon says the strategy to control worms during the last six decades has had two troubling results. “First, even the most susceptible animals – be they male or female – will thrive with regular drenching and be retained for breeding purposes. This ensures the national flock is becoming increasingly more susceptible to worm challenges. “Secondly, we have a breeding programme for breeding super worms, where 99 per cent of the weakest are eliminated. In combining these two Sheep breeder Peter Moore factors, one would have to question the recognises 30 years of breeding for wisdom of continuing this practice. Gordon says there is one simple solution worm resistance by Gordon Levet of Wellsford, who achieved a top price in the livestock industry – the genetic ram last year of $6000. solution – that is not applicable in the medical world. ‘By using the ‘genetic variation’ principle, animal breeders are able to achieve virtually any outcome. Just look at the dog population. Lap dogs, Great Danes, working and Greyhound racing dogs have all been bred from the one species of wild dog.” Parasitologists have known for 30 years it is possible to breed animals that have a natural ability to withstand worm challenges. In New Zealand, a national programme known as Worm FEC was established in 1990 to enable ram breeders to breed for worm resistance using scientifically approved protocols. Gordon says it is estimated it would take 25 to 30 years to breed a flock that would have a high degree of resistance. About 30 ram breeders from many sheep breeds joined the Worm FEC programme.

how to use drenches and other management tools to control worm problems. “So as an industry, we seem to be quite happy to continue to travel along a dead end road of breeding ever more worm susceptible animals to be subject to super worms. “Fortunately, there are some serious ram breeders dedicated to breeding more resistance into their flocks, and

farmers using their genetics to reduce drenching and losses through deaths and loss of productivity. “The sheep industry should be leading the charge to overcome the parasite problem by encouraging the proven genetic option. Instead it is individual ram breeders who are pursuing this course, encouraged by their enthusiastic clients,” says Gordon.

Page 48


YOUR FARM, YOUR FUTURE, OUR FOCUS. When we planned to change our effluent system, we chose Presco Environmental as we have trusted their quality concrete products in the past and liked the idea of the concrete Prosump over other liner options. Because our project was not straight forward we gained professional advice from Oliver who was able to design the Prosump effluent storage facility to meet our needs, right down to the last detail. We were impressed by how everything went to plan, on time and within budget. We now have a long term sustainable investment and are already benefiting from spreading the effluent, with increased pasture growth, especially in the summer, reducing our fertiliser costs.

If you would like to discuss getting Presco involved in your effluent storage project please contact Oliver on 0800 773 726 or email and arrange a free on-site consultation.

- John and Phyllis Malcolm, Taranaki




Page 49

Fertmark applauded for stand It is with mixed emotion that I read about the failure of our two big fertiliser co-operatives to procure decent Reactive Phosphate Rock fertiliser that meets standards set by the New Zealand Fertiliser Council. It is pleasing to see this problem of inferior phosphate being dumped on the NZ market to farmers, who put a lot of trust in these majority stakeholders, is being aired publicly at last. Printed in a leading fertiliser company newsletter September 2015, I quote: ”Clover King Sechura contains high quality sechura rock from Peru….” ”Our new phosphate rock fertiliser can be expected to outperform similar products on an equal kg of P applied basis.” Although later in the piece, the writer admits the product doesn’t come up to standard, I felt the article was misleading and not only degrading to quality RPR but also degrading to the name Sechura.

native source of phosphate allowable for organic farmers. As it contains calcium it does not have an acidifying effect on the soil. The standard set by the NZ Fertiliser Council for RPR requires no less than 10 per cent Phosphate and no less than 30 per cent solubility in citric acid.

Gold standard

Sechura RPR has always set the gold standard for RPR, which is mined in Peru. An example of a shipment of Sechura Reactive Phosphate Rock procured by a North Island-based fertilser company in June 2016 tested 12.495 per cent Phosphate, 6.4 pH, 71 per cent calcium carbonate, citric solubil-

ity of 47 per cent and includes a range of trace elements. Where phosphate is required as an input into a fertiliser programme there is argueably no other product on the market in NZ that can touch Sechura RPR for quality and proven results during a long period of tme. I applaud Fertmark for standing its ground and not compromising the standards and integrity of our fertiliser products in NZ. In these situations it can be an easy move to be persuaded to lower the bar. Smaller fertiliser companies which specialise in custom blends can get the best quality RPR. I urge farmers to shop around for quality if they are to expect the best response for money spent. If you are looking for Sechura RPR, the real stuff, ask Uncle Google. He has all the answers.

Real McCoy

It is horrifying to expect farmers to now buy some second-grade fertiliser just because these guys haven’t got The Real McCoy. I’m pleased to see the NZ Fertiliser Council is there to keep the integrity and standards set for RPR, because this product is becoming the go-to phosphate source for our ever-increasing forward-thinking farmers heading towards a more environmentallyfriendly future. RPR is natural and gradually releases in the soil at a near neutral pH, which soil biology can handle, and is an alter-

Concrete evidence of carbon absorption Almost half the carbon dioxide released during the process of making cement in the last 70 years has been reabsorbed by the material through a process called carbonation, say international scientists. Making cement generates about five per cent of all the CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels and industrial processes, so it was regarded as a major contributor to global warming. But the

scientists used computer models to figure out how much CO2 had been reabsorbed by four different cement materials between 1930 and 2013. They found 43 per cent of CO2 that had been produced making cement had been reabsorbed, so the building material is not as damaging as previously thought. (Source: Chinese Academy of Sciences, China).




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Concerns disease could be devastating A disease devastating trees in the Western United States and Europe is a major threat to New Zealand plantations and ornamental trees, should it ever arrive here.

European countries in the last decade. Forest Owners Association biosecurity manager Bill Dyck says the disease is just one of many pests and diseases threatening the industry. “Just this year we’ve had two species of beetles, which feed on eucalypts, arrive in our forests. One, near Waikanae, we thought had been eradicated, and the other, in Hawke’s Bay, we haven’t ever seen here before,” says Bill.

The forest industry is concerned even the suspicion that Phytophthora ramorum was present in New Zealand could have a major effect on log exports and employment in forest regions. The disease is causing the now widespread sudden oak death, in California and Oregon. It has also spread to most

Rotorua-based Scion plant pathologist Lindsay Bulman says one of the concerns is the ramorum pathogen is infecting an increasing range of tree species. “We don’t know if ramorum would infect our main plantation tree, Pinus radiata, but it has now been seen on Douglas-fir and Japanese larch overseas, and previously plant pathologists thought it wouldn’t infect any conifer species,” says Lindsay. Ornamental trees particularly susceptible are rhododendron, camellia and viburnum. “I have to emphasise as well, that implications of any arrival of this pathogen in New Zealand may not be confined to potential effect on the trees themselves. Log exports from the West Coast of the United States to East Asia have had a major hit from importing countries not wanting to introduce the pathogen there.”

Conifer species

Lindsay says the threat of importing P ramorum and many other plant pests and pathogens was the reason for the Biosecurity Week event at the Port of Tauranga in November.

Tight vigilance

“Trees and vines are the Bay of Plenty’s biggest businesses and the forest and kiwifruit industries share a concern that it would be so easy for insects or pathogens to slip through the border if tight vigilance is not maintained. “There are various eradication or control options, so long as new incursions are detected early. Surveillance by specialists and biosecurity awareness from the public are crucial for early detection.” “One-third of New Zealand’s $5billion a year forest product export trade goes through the Port of Tauranga. If those exports were disrupted, there would be a lot of people who work at, and service, that Port, who might find themselves out of work for a long time.”

Lift game

The Ministry for Primary Industries needs to lift its game over concerns surrounding the potentially devastating forestry and ornamental tree disease, says New Zealand First Primary Industry spokesperson Richard Prosser. “If it [Phytophthora ramorum\ was to reach our shores, it could be disastrous for New Zealand’s plantation forestry sector. Who knows what this disease would do to our industry, let alone our native species and other exotics should it make it to NZ. “MPI needs to ensure they have robust protocols in place to make sure this disease doesn’t make it across our borders. “We’ve had too many slip-ups by MPI biosecurity in recent years because of underfunding and misplaced priorities. MPI needs to get this one right, if they don’t the consequences could be monumental,” says Richard.


Page 51

Farmers taking increased interest in soils A sound understanding of soil characteristics is an essential component of effective farming, especially at a time when there is an increased focus on limiting the impacts of land use on water quality.

nitrous oxide becoming more active. Treading damage during grazing, especially in wet conditions, can affect the effluent or irrigation water infiltration rate, limits root growth and nutrient uptake, and reduces pasture production. So it is best to take extra care with winter grazing in areas where effluent is spread. Avoid irrigating padKnowing soil conditions and how they vary docks with treading damage until the soil recovers. during the year can help to deliver very practical If in doubt, dig a hole before irrigating and check benefits, including maximising production through whether the soil is loose and open or dense and comefficient utilisation of nutrients in animal effluent pacted – don’t irrigate if the latter condition remains. and preventing contamination of ground water and A key factor to be cautious of regarding runoff of waterways. nutrients to waterways is suspended solids in farm I find farmers are taking an increasing interest in dairy effluent can accumulate on and just below the understanding their soils more to help them manage soil surface. This can create an organic layer that their business and the environment better. temporarily acts as a surface coating reducing infiltraSoil properties such as texture and structure deter- tion rates to very low levels, generally for a couple of mine the amount of water and nutrients that can days. Using low application rate equipment will help enter and be retained within a particular soil, and to reduce the runoff risk at such times. Once again, the rate at which excess water goes through that soil. digging a hole to assess soil conditions will help with judging whether it’s a suitable time to irrigate.

Leaching losses

Infiltration rates, water retention, drainage characteristics and consequent leaching losses of nutrients are strongly dependent on these properties, and they vary over time as a result of weather and farming activities. For example, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Environment recently released a new report on the subject of agricultural greenhouse gases, methane and nitrous oxide, which form about half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions. The research reports reveal the wetter soils become the greater will be their rate of nitrous oxide production. The amount of nitrous oxide emitted – and the amount of nitrate leached into waterways – is greatest in autumn and winter when grass is growing slowly. It is the time of the year when waterlogged soil is most likely to become compacted by hooves, leading to the microbes in the soil that produce

adequate available storage, using low application rate equipment, and keeping a close eye on soil conditions, means you can schedule irrigation to get the maximum benefit, protect your

precious soils from damage and care for the environment.

Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable agriculture co-ordinator at Waikato Regional Council – contact him on 0800 800 401 or at: Bala Tikkisetty

‘Bypass flow’

Another issue is relatively dry soil contains large pores open at the surface. When irrigating in such conditions, effluent or water can be rapidly transported below the root zone through a phenomenon known as ‘bypass flow’. It can particularly occur in soils that undergo shrinkage and fissuring during drying, especially when these soils have been previously compacted by treading. High leaching losses of nutrients can result from this. That’s one reason why Waikato Regional Council has rules limiting effluent application depths. Ensuring you have

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Precision spreading from a pilot’s perspective In its third year, Ravensdown’s Primary Growth Partnership programme ‘Pioneering to Precision’ is starting to gather momentum – and Ravensdown pilot Grant Lennox has a unique perspective from above as part of the research team, spreading fertiliser on the research farms.

“Timing is so important when it comes to aerial spreading. You’re travelling very quickly so you need lead in time to open and shut the hopper doors,” says Grant. “Before this programme we [pilots] have been anticipating when to do this, which means you’re not always able to give your full attention to flying the plane safely. “The programme has removed the

guess-work for me with the GPS computer automating the hopper door, so now I can just focus on flying. It also is satisfying to see the consistency and how tidy every boundary can be because the doors are working with the scientists’ ballistic modelling and shutting the doors more accurately than I ever could.” Because fertiliser travels so fast, and takes a while to slow down, the science behind the particle movement is being tested by placing bins across varying topography to catch what Ravensdown pilots like Grant are throwing down.

Improved accuracy

“It’s a little bit like throwing a ball I suppose. I think it’s great, the research is improving the accuracy substantially and is making my life a lot easier. The farmer is also getting a lot better result at the end of the day because we’re not wasting any fertiliser, it’s going exactly where it’s supposed to.” Grant says it’s been great being a part of the research. “There’s a great team working together from Massey, AgResearch and Ravensdown. I’ve learnt a lot about the GPS technology and fertiliser properties and how it is all connected through the Smart Maps system. It has given me more of a general overview and made my job a lot more enjoyable.” Grant believes there is definite improvement in the quality and accuracy of spreading due to the research.

“Without a doubt, in the field projects we are getting better results than before. There is a growing interest in the technology, I guess it’s just a time thing until the science can be proven.

Sample spread

“On one of the trails there was a bit of time in between flights, so I went to talk to the team who were unloading the catching trays and I could see the cover was quite even – it backs up what we’re trying to achieve and it’s great to see. “Bearing in mind I’m not a scientist and I’m only looking at it from the naked eye, the scientists may be seeing something different when they measure the sample spread and rate.” The computer programme in the plane interacts with Ravensdown Smart Maps using the soil test results to deliver what variable rate of spreading will be required, instructing the GPS in the plane to spread just that and then showing exactly where it landed with the Placement Verification Technology that is being developed. This is something regional councils could be interested in as they become more and more interested in where the fertiliser is landing rather than where it is released. “I’ve been aerial spreading for 11 years and this is the way things are going. If Ravensdown can make the whole PGP thing work then it really will be a game-changer,” says Grant. “From my perspective with the variable rate equipment it is going very well, knowing what I know now if I was a farmer I would insist on it.”

Ravensdown pilot Grant Lennox is impressed with the Pioneering to Precision research into fertiliser spreading from the air.

Funding to tackle the spread of wilding pines A funding boost of $1.87 million will help tackle wilding conifers in central Canterbury, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy. The additional funding from Budget 2016 will used to control the spread of wildings in the Craigieburn area which will receive $1,641,600 of funding. To protect Porters and the adjoin-

ing Arthur’s Pass National Park, $227,064 will be allocated. “Both of these areas are under threat from the spread of wilding conifers, which infest farmland and natural wilderness areas. “They now cover more than 1.8 million hectares of land throughout New Zealand. “This number is growing every

year. “It is much better to tackle this pest now before the cost of eradication rises even further. “In this year’s Budget the Government committed an additional $16 million to wilding control during the next four years because of the threat they pose to our ecosystems, land and farms,” says Nathan.

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Young helping hands at haymaking time The Tihoi Western Bays Young Farmers are again offering their expert services to help the local farmers’ pick-up hay bales, help cover silage stacks or other summer jobs that need that extra labour input. Chairwoman Katie Brennan says each year the young farmers group offers their services to local farmers during the busy haymaking-silage making time. The group has at least 10 members who, for a reasonable fee, will be the labour units during haymaking. “For us the money helps to subsidise our events and trips, which we do each year, keeping the costs down for the cash-strapped young farmers.” This group has been together for

about five years and has done the fundraiser labour project each year. They also help out at other community events through the year. “As well as raising funds, it’s also a great time for our Young Farmers group to meet and have some social time with other farmers in our district.” Local contractors will often pass on the contacts of the farmers who are cutting hay. Katie says not everyone has extra workers, or their farm workers might be busy on the farm. The Young Farmer Group is the perfect extra labour force – they are young, fit and experienced. “We don’t want to rip anyone off so we offer reasonable rates and we will do a good job and hopefully earn some dollars and have social time with farmers and the ag contractors.”

So if you are needing some extra help with your harvesting this summer, contact Tihoi Western Bays Young Farmers for knowledgeable, experienced young men and women who know just how important it is to get the hay or silage in quickly and efficiently. Give Katie Brennan a call on 027 361 9204 for more information or to book your days’ work in. Fritha Tagg Katie Brenna and Donna McKinley from Tihoi Western Bay Young Farmers, with ‘Blackie’ the cow, are among those keen to lend a hand at haymaking. Photo: Lois Natta.

Biocontrol agents losing efficiency grass on New Zealand farms. For the last two decades this pest has been controlled by a tiny South American wasp, which was first introduced as a biocontrol agent in the early-1990s by Professor Goldson and his colleagues. For about eight years the wasp parasite was highly successful in knocking back the weevil, but since then its effectiveness has been in decline, and researchers have noticed a major resurgence in weevil numbers.

A wasp injects an egg into the Argentine stem weevil – up until now an effective biocontrol method.

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AgResearch scientists are looking into how common pests in New Zealand are fighting back against traditional measures to control them – and whether it all comes back to evolution. AgResearch principal scientist, Professor Stephen Goldson, is working with his colleagues in an area that has serious implications for farming in New Zealand – and an impact of hundreds of millions of dollars for the economy. “What we are learning is we can’t take the successful classic biocontrols we have used for granted, as unexpected things can happen,” says Stephen. “It’s similar to the situation with antibiotic resistance. “The more we know about it, the more we know what to look out for and the more clues we have as to what to do about it.” The leading example is the Argentine stem weevil, the worst pest when it comes to ryegrass – the most common

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Edible Weeds & Green Smoothie Workshop 10am-1pm, Rotorua, cost $55. Details: Plant sale, 10am-4pm, outside the information centre, Hamilton Gardens. Guided Tour of Koanga Institute, 1pm-4pm, 96 Kotare Rd, Wairoa, cost $20 (includes afternoon tea). Details: tinyurl. com/ho2buup

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Iwitahi Annual Camp, working bee Country’s only native orchid reserve near Taupo. Details: Phone Bill on 06 836 6735. Waikato Lily Show, noon-4pm on Saturday, December 3, and9am-4pm Sunday December 4, Hamilton Gardens, cost $2. Bulbs for sale. Ph: 027 827 2865.

December 4

Rotorua Botanical Society Field Trip Meet 9am to head to Lake Hiwiroa, Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park. Details: Tauranga Fuchsia Show 8.30am-3.30pm, Legion of Frontiersman Hall, Elizabeth St West Tauranga (just off the expressway), entry $3. Plants for sale. Details: Phone Pat on 07 579 1655. Edible Weeds & Green Smoothie Workshop 10am-1pm, Hamilton, $55. Details: Guided Tour of Koanga Institute

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Meet Jo Seagar 6pm, Kitchen Things, Te Rapa, Hamilton, cost $20. Details: Waste-free Parenting Workshop, 6.30pm-9pm, Katikati Resource Centre, cost $25. Receive a $100 Waste Free Parenting Pack. Details:

December 10

Free Home Composting Workshop Noon-1pm, Gisborne (take home a free compost bin, one per household). Register with Tairawhiti Environment Centre. Ph: 06 867 4708. Whakatane Wildfood Challenge 10am-5pm, The Heads (1 Muriwai Drive), Whakatane. The challenge? Hunt, gather, forage, barter or catch local wild food, create a dish, then write about it. Details: znrb5gn.

December 11

Livestock on a Small Property

9am5pm, Pakaraka Farm, near Thames, cost $160 (includes lunch). Tutors Jeanette Fitzsimons and Harry Parke. Details: Edible Weeds & Green Smoothie Workshop 10am-1pm, Whakatane, cost $55. Details: www.

January 7

Tairua School Food & Wine Festival. Details:

January 8

Guided Tour of Koanga Institute 1pm-4pm, 96 Kotare Rd, Wairoa, cost $20 (includes afternoon tea). Details: f

January 14

Avocado Food & Wine Festival 11am-6pm, Uretara Domain, Katikati, gate tickets $20.

TO LIST YOUR RURAL EVENT please email: with ‘Rural Event’ in the subject line.

Record apple crop for 2017 cars wanted WE ALWAYS PAY MORE!

$1000 CASH per week

0800 382 828 for sale

New Zealand is set to grow its largest ever export apple crop of 21.5 million cartons, worth a record $800 million, this coming season. Pipfruit New Zealand chief executive Alan Pollard says the success of New Zealand’s apple industry is breaking all records. “We are the first of New Zealand’s larger primary sectors to meet the Government’s challenge of doubling exports by 2025, and are well ahead of our own target of becoming a billion-dollar industry by 2022. “New Zealand grows the best and safest apples in the world and we have been ranked Number 1 for international competitiveness against all our global market competitors two years running.

‘On year’

“We’ve built a fully integrated industry that is forging ahead with sustainable growth, innovation, leadership and strategic vision.” The 2017 season was an ‘on year’ crop, which along with the first of another million new fruit trees coming into production, would produce the largest tonnage of fruit ever harvested in New Zealand. “In just four years NZ’s apple industry went from producing 16 million cartons in 2012 to 19.5 million cartons in 2016 and an expected 21.5 million cartons in 2017.

“Spring had produced a great fruit set for excellent thinning, enabling growers to optimise yield by allowing fruit to have space to grow in size, quality and high colour,” says Alan. The apple industry’s success is resulting in significant economic and social benefits in the growing regions of Nelson, Hawke’s Bay, Central Otago, Gisborne, Waikato, Wairarapa and South Canterbury.

New jobs

“Our apple industry is having a huge impact in our growing regions. “The provinces are prospering with hundreds of millions of dollars injected back into the local economies. “Our apples have the highest food safety profile of any fruit or vegetable, earning us exclusive market access. “We have developed our own NZ varieties and we have a world class Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme that supports our Kiwi workforce and guarantees we pick our fruit at optimum quality. “We are creating hundreds of new permanent and part-time jobs for Kiwis, and injecting millions into the local economies stimulating stronger growth and more business opportunities. “For example, the Hawke’s Bay’s growth rate has now overtaken Auckland and Wellington. “The RSE scheme has given growers more certainty of labour to pick the crop at optimum quality, which is a critical to our industry’s success.”


Page 55

Confused, clucky hen is puppy’s best friend FU

“Don.t you ever call me chicken again!” was the suggestion from Koa Gower of Te Kuiti. The winner of the book ‘Feed Your Brain’ by Delia McCabe, published by Exisle, is Shona van der Vegte of Whakatane with her caption: “And they call it…....clucky lovvvve”.






The maternal instinct is pretty strong, with some mothers adopting babies that in no way resemble their own, as illustrated by October’s Country Funnies photograph of a hen sitting on a puppy.

The image prompted a number Tiny Owl of clever captions ‘Tiny Owl on the from Coast & Ramshackle Farm’ Country News is this month’s readers including: Country Funnies “Puppy love” from book prize. Written Ayleen Sellars of and illustrated by Tauranga and Lotte Wotherspoon “Pooched eggs for and published by breakfast anyone?” Clay Press, the from Pam Wright book is a delightful of Matamata. way to help banish “Who's the a child’s fears of the underdog here?” dark and unfamilcame from iar sounds in the Graeme OIiver night. of Tauranga In verse, which while Beryl Oppert of “And they call it.......clucky lovvvve,” children will quickly Pokeno suggested: “It’s is the winning caption from Shona memorise, it is sure just puppy love”; “I van der Vegte of Whakatane. to become a favourite think mum is colourfor repeat readings. blind”; “There were four in the bed and the The story revolves around the overactive little chick said: ‘Roll over, roll over’”; “I’m imagination of Tiny Owl, who conjures comin’ in on a wing and a prayer and: “Hey, monsters out of everyday farm noises until his that’s a bit chicky isn’t it?”. parents reassure him there is nothing to fear. Susan Neville of Pukekohe was also inspired Lotte’s story is enhanced by her detailed to enter several captions: “Love knows no drawings which ensure every page will be boundaries”; “Those damn cuckoos!” and poured over by youngster. “Yes he’s different, but he’s all mine!”. Thanks to Clay Press, Coast & Coun-

try News has a copy of ‘Tiny Owl on the Ramshackle Farm’ to give away. To be in to win email captions for the photo belwo and send along with your name and address, with Country Funnies as the subject, to: Or put these details on the back of an envelope and post to: Country Funnies, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3140 to arrive no later than December 12. Caption this photograph to be in to win a book prize.

Page 56


Mario, 3, helps dad hose out the dairy shed yards.

Soph new be ie Hansen, 8 , wit st fr Spirit) iend Marlo h her (M only 8 days o erlyn ld!

BS! PRIZandEdetUailsPcan beFemOaileRd (higGh resRolutionAjpgy,s)POto Box 240,

Pictures to Coast & Countr untry Camera” or posted every entry. “Co e a name, address and phone number with Tauranga. Please includ

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Coast and country dec 16  

Coast and Country December 2016

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