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INSIDE 2014

February 2014 Issue No.162

February

DAIRY 11-15 PASTURE 16 MAIZE 17-19 KIWIFRUIT 24-25 TE PUNA SPEED SHEAR 28 WESTERN BAY 32-33 COUNTRY LIVING 35-39 FORESTRY 40-41

Bay of Plenty & Waikato Farm, Orchard & Rural Lifestyle

Wild turns mild

Rescue success for heritage horses Ballance Environment Awards Rural Driver In May or June another muster of wild Kaimanawa horses is planned and Ruth Woodward, pictured with her own young Kaimanawa horse called Kai, hopes other horse enthusiasts will provide homes for those removed from the herd. See stories pages 4-5 Photo by Elaine Fisher


COAST & COUNTRY

Page 2

Managing our ‘new’ biodiversity New Zealand’s landscape, flora and fauna changed irrevocably the day the first humans set foot on its shores, bringing with them new animals, plants and their own needs to modify the environment to provide food and shelter. However, what those first arrivals, and those who followed, altered was far from static. It was undergoing constant change from earthquakes, volcanic eruption, weather and erosion; and the arrival of other creatures, including the then-winged ancestors of the moa and kiwi. There can be no argument that humans, along with the plants and animals they introduced, have made the biggest environmental and biological impacts in recent times. Now it’s impossible for our land to return to a pre-historic state; and we’d find it pretty hard to exist if it did. It therefore makes sense to instead focus on managing this new biodiversity as best we can. One example of this in action is the preservation of a small herd of wild Kaimanawa horses (see page 5).

If the herd can co-exist with the unique plants and insects of their habitat, then it’s a fitting compromise. Harder to achieve, but even more essential for the country’s economy, is finding a sustainable compromise between farming, dairying in particular, and the health of our waterways and oceans. Dairy farmers hated the high profile ‘Dirty dairying’ campaign begun in 2002 by the Fish and Game Council to highlight what it saw as farming damage to freshwater streams, rivers and lakes. Unpopular, and some say unjust, though it was, the campaign prompted strong reaction from the farming sector and an ongoing focus by farmers, dairy companies and councils on minimising environmental effects. Testament to the successes to date is three dairy farms being among finalists in the 2014 Ballance Farm Environment Awards. The fourth is a dry stock farmer. To make the finals, all needed to demonstrate their farming businesses are sustainable, environmentally and financially; and each has employed a range of management techniques to achieve and continue to achieve these outcomes. Read their stories on pages 9 to 12.

Winners of the January Coast & Country book prizes, both published by Halcyon Press are: Clive Steven of Whakatane, who wins ‘New Zealand Hunting Adventures’ by Steuart Laing; while Jim Fox of Te Puke wins ‘Tracks of a Hunter’ by John Royle.

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COAST & COUNTRY

Page 3

Fertiliser workshop at Massey

People, planet and profit focus a model for farming

The 27th annual Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre Workshop will be held from February 18 to 20 at Massey University in Palmerston North. The workshop is about nutrient management for the farm, catchment and community. Themes include: sources and pathways of nutrient transfer; management of grazing animals; integrated water management; effective nutrient recycling; catchment and community solutions; and smart tools and technologies. The programme includes presentations from keynote and invited speakers, oral and poster presentations from science, industry, policy and regulatory personnel and is an

effective mechanism for information transfer among all of those concerned with primary production in New Zealand. The Fertiliser and Lime Research Centre formed in 1983 and is part of the Institute of Natural Resources within the College of Sciences at Massey University. The centre is committed to teaching and research on soils, fertilisers and environmental issues in agriculture, horticulture and forestry and hosts an annual workshop on current themes of importance to the New Zealand primary sector. Workshop registrations close on February 10, 2014. For more information about the workshop, go to: www.massey.ac.nz/~flrc/

The Bay of Plenty Ballance Farm Environment award’s finalist assessing team for 2014 are from left: Terry Harding, Lester Deighton, Margaret Wright and John Mackintosh.

Showcasing environmentally and financially sustainable practices through the Ballance Farm Environment Awards has an important role in helping improve public understanding of farming says Margaret Wright, assessing co-ordinator for the Bay of Plenty awards. “Most of the farmers and growers who enter the awards have to be encouraged to do so because they don’t believe what they are doing is anything special – when in fact it is,” says Margaret, who with husband David, is a past awards winner. The awards set out to find and showcase farmers and growers who are managing their properties and businesses in ways which protect and enhance the environment, care for the people they employ, the animals they farm and at the same time are financially sustainable. “We tend to hear only the bad news stories about farming, when in fact the majority of farmers and growers are doing a great job and really do care about the environment. The awards are a way of showcasing those very good farmers to the general public and to enable other farmers to learn from them.” There is a balance between caring for the environment and being able to make a living. “It is often said that to be green, farmers [and growers] need to be in the black [financially] and that’s true. It is also why we do look at the profitability of the businesses of finalists, because these awards are about farming systems which are sustainable financially as well as environmentally. “It’s only by being profitable that farmers and growers can continue to do what they enjoy, and continue to look after the environment too.” Supreme winners of the 2012 New Zealand Ballance Farm Environment Award, Jane and Blair Smith, of North Otago, say they consider the three ‘Ps’ in every farming decision they make – people, the planet and profit. The couple run Newhaven Farms Ltd, a sheep,

beef, forestry and dairy support operation that spans three family-owned properties. Margaret says their focus on the people involved in their business, the planet, which includes the animals and plants they farm, as well as the wider environment and the long term profitability of their business, is a model for modern farming. While many are reluctant to enter the awards – Margaret admits she and David took some convincing to do so at first – there is much to be gained. The teams of assessors who visit entrants include those with expertise in wildlife and the environment, rural professionals including bankers, fertiliser companies and dairy industry representatives, and a farmer or grower with experience in the type of property being assessed. “The assessment process is not strictly a judging exercise. It is about visiting the properties, seeing what the owners are doing and listening to their stories. The assessors are happy to share their knowledge and in turn learn from the entrants too.” Margaret says she and David found taking part in the awards was a valuable experience in stepping back and taking a fresh look at their property, what had been achieved and what was still to be done. “When you are busy working away on the land you tend to forget how it was when you started, and how much has been improved.” Those who gain the most from the awards are those who become fully involved, says Margaret. “Meeting other entrants and attending the field day at the supreme winner’s property are invaluable in what you can learn. There are so many ways of tackling similar issues and it’s amazing what you can pick up. The awards are about educating, encouraging and inspiring us all.” And they are also about helping protect the rights of farmers to continue to farm the land and produce food now and into the future. To find out more about the awards, go to: www.nzfeatrust.org.nz By Elaine Fisher

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COAST & COUNTRY

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Kai-transformation – from woolly foal to assured pony Although he was born into a freely roaming Kaimanawa herd, Kai no longer shows signs of his wild beginnings, apart from the distinctive genetic traits which make his kind so special. These he displays through his compact, muscular physique and gentle, intelligent, inquisitive nature. Less than two years after his capture, during the 2012 Kaimanawa Horse Muster, Kai is as yet unbroken for riding but happily allows his owner Ruth Woodward to halter, pet and groom him and sit on his back. “He has such a sweet nature and I know he will be a fabulous friend for a child,” says Ruth, who had no intentions of owning a Kaimanawa horse until she was persuaded by

friend Gill Page. Gill, who lives on a lifestyle block near Whakamarama with her husband Graham, owned two Kaimanawa horses. They were ‘adopted’ after the muster in 2011 and Gill was determined to take two more and help find homes for those rounded up in 2012. “There were just two days until the adoption offers closed and there were still many horses left, which would end up at the slaughter house unless homes were found,” says Ruth, who is a near neighbour to Gill.

Life saved

Ruth already had two horses on her four hectare block but knew her decision to ‘adopt’ another would mean life, not death, for a little Kaimanawa colt, so she filled in the forms. Following the muster in May 2012, Kai and two other colts adopted by Gill arrived at the

Page farm. “They were frightened, pot-bellied, woolly, dishevelled and gorgeous. The woolly bay with the wild mane, full face blaze and two blue eyes – what a little cracker – we decided he was for me,” says Ruth, who has never regretted her decision to take the colt. Kai stayed at Gill’s property with her two colts, Munchkin and Jiminy, for eight weeks until he

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Kaimanawa foals Jiminy Munchkin and Kai (far right), shortly after they arrived at Gill and Graham Page’s Whakamarama property. Photo by Ruth Woodward.

Kai is too young to be broken for riding, but he happily allows Ruth Woodward to sit on his back. was completely happy around humans, including of course Ruth, who visited daily, initially sitting in the paddock with the colts until their natural curiosity prompted them to come close enough to sniff her and finally allow her to touch them. “By then he was comfortable enough with Ruth – and to be led – to be loaded into a float,” says Gill. Gill, who is a professional groom, a qualified riding instructor and has bred horses in the UK, did the same with Munchkin and Jiminy, based on her extensive experience of breaking in horses; and from what she had learned from her first two Kaimanawa horses, Mocha and Ginge. Initially, she had real concerns for Munchkin. “He was tiny and looked malnourished. I think he must have been still feeding from his mother but they got separated in the muster.” Usually, mares with foals at foot are kept together and go to the same home. Eighteen months on, the confident, handsome horse which trots up the paddock for a pat and scratch from Gill bears little resemblance to the scrawny baby of May 2012 – and even Gill is impressed at his transformation. “His is a real ugly-duckling-to-handsome-prince kind of story,” she says. However, from their first day on her farm, the three have been taking lessons in ‘horse etiquette’, much of it from 21-year-old retired race

horse Aunty Chime Dorjee. Gill adopted the mare who had been rescued by the SPCA and says she helps settle the young Kaimanawa horses and teaches them how to behave. Both Gill and Ruth are Kaimanawa fans and want to encourage others to ‘adopt’ horses at this year’s muster. “The very old, sick or injured horses and any for which homes can’t be found are culled; and often there are some lovely horses among those which are slaughtered,” says Gill. This is why she and Ruth are encouraging anyone who loves horses and who has the time and skills to train them, to consider adopting a Kaimanawa horse this year. The horses cost about $275 plus transport, with the money going to Kaimanawa Heritage Horses, the organisation which is a non-profit charitable trust dedicated to the welfare of Kaimanawa horses in both the wild and domestic environments. “It takes a special kind of person to adopt a Kaimanawa because they need time and attention to make the adaption from their life in the wild. They can be spirited and like any horse, will defend themselves if ill-treated or threatened but there is nothing wild or malicious in their natures. “Handled with care and gentleness, they reward you in so many ways and make fantastic ponies for young people,” says Gill. By Elaine Fisher


COAST & COUNTRY

Page 5

Wild horses – history on the hoof Kaimanawa horses are living history, testament to their own survival skills and the resilience of their forebears, believes Elder Jenks, chairman of Kaimanawa Heritage Horses.

“When I first learned the story of the Kaimanawa horses, I was amazed. These remarkable animals have survived in one of this country’s harshest environments for 150 to 160 years without any human help. They have had to find their own food and water, and make it through the winter snows.” Their ability to do so goes back to their ancestors, Elder believes. “The horses can be traced back to Arab, Exmore and Welsh ponies brought out from England by sailing ship, itself a feat of survival,” says Elder. The first wild horses were recorded in the Kaimanawa mountain ranges in 1876. Escapees and releases of horses from farms and the cavalry at Waiouru have added to the gene pool as have ‘Desert Road drop-offs’ of other unwanted horses. Today, the characteristics of the Thoroughbred, Arab, Standardbred and Clydesdale can be seen in horses living in separate geographical areas within the Kaimanawa population. Elder says the horses live not in herds, but in family groups and some are distinctive for their larger stature, probably the influence of Clydesdale blood lines.

Struggling

In the 1990s, when the population had reached more than 2000, the horses were struggling and were in poor condition due to lack of food. In 1992, the Department of Conservation reported that up to 31 different unique plant types existing in the area were threatened with extinction due to horse trampling and grazing EX damage. A systematic programme of culling horses GST through aerial shooting was put in place. But animal

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welfare groups opposed these slaughters and brought public opposition to the programme. The first muster was undertaken in the winter of 1993 when 310 horses were culled. The largest muster was in 1997 when 1100 horses were culled off the ranges. To date, about 2000 horses have been removed from the Kaimanawa Ranges, but more than half have been slaughtered. The aim is now to manage 300 horses in the wild. While the numbers are small, Elder says neither the environment the horses live in, nor the animals themselves, can withstand large herds. Today, Kaimanawa Heritage Horses works closely with the Department of Conservation to co-ordinate the biennial musters and find homes for as many horses as possible.

animals. They are deeply involved in Kaimanawa Heritage Horses, a charitable society run by a volunteer group of passionate horse people dedicated to the care and welfare of Kaimanawa horses

“Last muster in 2012, 192 horses were removed from the herd and we saved 118 of them. We always aim not to let any foals or yearlings go for slaughter and to save as many mares and young males as we can,” says Elder. The next muster will be in late May or early June this year and anyone interested in taking a Kaimanawa horse can apply to do so on the Kaimanawa Heritage Horse website now. Each applicant will be visited by an inspector to ensure they have the facilities and skills to provide a Kaimanawa horse with a home, which is safe for both horse and owner. “These are after all wild horses which don’t know about fences and are not used to being around people, so we don’t want them or people TOWS MORE, injured. CARRIESHowever, MORE, SEATS TWO with the correct facilities and handling, Kaimanawa horses become quiet and make wonderful riding horses,” says Elder, who has never ridden a horse himself. It was his wife Marilyn who first introduced him EX to Kaimanawa horses – and 15 years on, the couple GST continue to work hard for the welfare of the unique

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both domestically and in the wild. To find out more, or to apply for a horse from the next muster, go to: www.kaimanawaheritagehorses.org

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COAST & COUNTRY

Wild stallion challenge to test trainers Equidays has formed a partnership with Kaimanawa Heritage Horses to launch New Zealand’s first wild horse challenge, the Major Milestone. This ambitious event seeks to place 25 wild and untouched stallions with the nation’s leading horse trainers, who will compete for $15,000 in cash and prizes. KHH created the challenge to highlight the talent and trainability of wild Kaimanawa horses through a national training initiative. After being selected, trainers are randomly assigned an adult Kaimanawa stallion (over three years old), which will then have to be gelded to be eligible to compete. Trainers will have 150 days to build trust and develop a relationship with their horses to ensure the best possible performance in the halter and/or ridden classes.

Trainers will then go on to compete in the Stallion Makeover Challenge at the 2015 Horse of the Year Show. The excitement will be huge as the top ranked stallions battle it out in the Premier Arena during the Friday Night Extravaganza, with a sizeable purse on offer for the top six finalists. “We have a tremendous base of trainers and supporters and have decided that 2014 is the year to put the equestrian world on its heels,” says Elder Jenks, chairperson of KHH. “The challenges promise to be a win/ win formula for the horses, trainers, and the survival of the wild herds, many of which would otherwise go to slaughter during the biennial musters.” The challenge is named in memory of Major KH, who was believed to be about 17 years old and was rehomed to the Wilson sisters in the 2012 muster. He made his first and only public appearance at the 2012 Equidays and delighted the crowds with his ability to embrace domesticated life.

App keeps riders on top of horse health

Horse owners wanting to keep track of their ride’s health and exercise now only need to reach for their smartphone.

says the company worked closely with riders, including Rebekah, to develop a “virtual stable” on the owner’s phone. The app opens under easilyfollowed headings, Animal health company with My Stable Zoetis has released a free prompting them app for horse owners, to create a profile which makes managing on their horse to horse health a simple exermanage needs like cise. Stable Diary enables vaccinations, shoethem to keep a diary log ing, de-worming on their horse’s vaccinaand exercise regimes. tions, dental records, Rebekah van Tiel is an early Reminder alerts are de-worming and health adopter of Stable Diary. automatically created checks. for upcoming events, appointments and The app has had the thumbs up from required vaccination renewals. the competing and recreational horse “We have also aimed to make the app community. Up-and-coming young equestrian rider fun, as well as practical for owners. This includes enabling owners to tailor their Rebekah van Tiel is an early adopter of social media settings and notifications,” Stable Diary. She appreciates the app’s says Catherine. ability to monitor not only her mount’s “Our hope is riders will take advantage health, but also her own performance of this to share their experiences from and training. rides, shows and events with others “It is easy to lose track of when treatand strengthening the equine network ments are due; and the Stable Diary around the country.” has been good for alerting me about The app also provides easy access to those, as well as for monitoring training popular equine website horsetalk.co.nz, distances and times.” and veterinary tips are also presented. “It’s a great little tool that’s very easy Owners can also use the Track My to use.” Ride section to log saddle hours, identiShow jumper Rebekah was the winner fying routes ridden, distance, time and of the 2013 NZ Junior Rider title at even average speed. Horse of the Year. Stable Diary can be downloaded from Zoetis NZ equine business manthe Apple App Store for free. ager Catherine Fawcett McNaughton


COAST & COUNTRY

Page 7

Wapiti – the toughest trophy

Coast to coast Hereford tour

It’s nearly 109 years since Wapiti deer were released at the head of George Sounds in the South Island. The 10 deer, a gift from US President Theodore Roosevelt (himself a keen hunter) plus another 10 purchased by TE Donne, manager of the New Zealand government Tourist Department, formed the nucleus of that first herd. Today, their descendants range from Charles Sounds in the south to Sutherland Sound in the north, with Lake Te Anau forming their eastern boundary. The author of ‘Wapiti Hunting in New Zealand’, Simon Gibson, is well qualified to write a book on the challenge of trying for the country’s toughest trophy because, in the course of 20 years, he’s spent thousands of hours in the wapiti area. This book outlines how

to hunt wapiti, to keep fit and mentally focused, to eat the right food, read the weather and how to travel Fiordland’s daunting terrain safely. Plus information about every block fills the pages of this book, along with colour images of wapiti and the country they inhabit. Thanks to publishers Halcyon Press, Coast & Country has a copy of ‘Wapiti Hunting in New Zealand’ to give away. To be in to win, email your name and address, with Book Prize as the subject, to: elaine@thesun.co.nz Or put these details on the back of an envelope and post to: Coast & Country Book Prize, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110, to arrive no later than February 17. The winner will be announced in Coast & Country’s March issue.

Newcastle Grand 1133 was sold by Noel and Betsy Smith at the National Beef Expo at Fielding in May 2013 for $12,500 to the Okahu Stud of Kelly ONeill from Raetahi. His progeny will be on show at the Newcastle Stud, during the National Hereford Herd Tour.

Fifteen of the central North Island’s top stud farms will open their gates to farmers next month as part of the 2014 National Hereford Herd Tour. The stud farms range from inland to coastal, Waikato to Bay of Plenty, relatively small to quite large – but all of the owners have a common passion for the Hereford breed. Organised by the South Auckland Hereford Club, the Gallagher Coast to Coast National Hereford Herd Tour is expected to attract at least 100 participants. Among the first properties to be visited is Newcastle, near Ngaruawahia, owned by Noel and Betsy Smith. It was once part of more than 200 ha held by Betsy’s family from the late 1880s; and has been farmed by the family continuously for 97 years, and by Noel and Betsy since 1981. The stud was founded in 1987 with females purchased from the Nyroca stud with subsequent

purchases from the Midlands, Kahu, Freelance and Harbour-Hills studs. Bulls have been sourced from studs such as Freelance, Koanui (3), Platform (Expo – Platform Quebec), Craigmore (2), Maungahina, Leelands and Kairuru. AI sires have included Otapawa Spark, Okawa Youth and Koanui Unanimous 3152; and many home-bred bulls have also played a significant part in the development of the stud. “Numbers have been slowly built to around 55-60 breeding females, focusing on quality rather than quantity,” says Noel. A booklet detailing the history of each stud, its Herefords, land and management practices of their owners has been produced for those who take part in the tour. A visit to the headquarters and manufacturing plant of major sponsor Gallagher is also on the programme, which begins with registrations on March 9 and ends with a dinner on March 12. For more information, go to: www.herefords.co.nz

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Cows keep cool or warm in new barn A huge open-sided barn is the favourite place to be for the 500 cows on Dreamfields Farm, at Otakiri near Edgecumbe. It’s pretty popular with the staff too. Covering nearly half a hectare, the barn was built by Aztech Buildings for Bruce and Judy Woods about 12 months ago as a stand-off area to protect winter pastures. “However, we’ve used it for all but a few months of the year, including in the summer, as a place to keep cows cool,” says Bruce. That use wasn’t something he’d factored in when planning and designing one of the first dairy housing bards in the district – but it proved especially valuable during last summer’s drought. “There’s always an airflow through the barn and it’s usually quite a bit cooler, maybe up to 10 degrees cooler, inside than out in the paddocks.” The Aztech barn is also ideal for calving, providing a covered, well lit area for both staff and animals. With plans to grow the herd size, the 500-cow capacity barn may not be big enough and Bruce is considering how to accommodation a further 100 animals. The welfare and health of “the girls” which provide the family’s income and lifestyle is always paramount for Bruce; and a regular drench and vaccination programme is in place. Litter on the floor of loafing barns was thought to pose a risk of increased mastitis but the farm has low somatic cell count. Bruce says regular mechanical raking of the saw dust in the barn keeps it clean and cows have regular teat spraying, using a WETiT system, even before calving. “I really think this has made a significant difference to animal health. Being in the barn has also made the cows quieter, more content and easier to handle,” says Bruce. The litter from the barn floor has not been changed since it was first commissioned 12 months ago but it remains dry, friable and odour-free. Later this year the material, (an estimated 1000m3 of compost), will be removed and spread on paddocks to be

used for growing maize for animal feed. Dreamfields’ pumice soils dry out in summer, but can be wet in winter because of a high water table. Since the barn was finished, Bruce has a no-pugging policy in place for pasture. Hands-on monitoring of soil health with a spade and no persistence issues with rye grass are other important areas of pasture management. Building the large and very expensive barn is yet another progression made by Bruce in refining and sustaining the farming operation, which began with the purchase of the original farm in 1975. “If you go back over 40 years the price of land has risen steeply, increasing the true cost of growing grass, as the yield of grass grown has not increased at a comparable rate,” says Bruce. Rather than buy more land (although they have bought some), Bruce has turned his focus to producing more from the land Dreamfields has. He was among the first in the area to invest in a pivot boom irrigation system using bore water to irrigate 72 hectares of the 159 ha farm, providing the ability to grow grass year-round. A new telemetry system is in place which automatically sends data to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council on the use of bore water on the farm, and refinements to the irrigation system means water use is even more efficient. Always keen to innovate, Bruce cur-

TOGETHER, WE’RE BUILDING NEW ZEALAND

Aztech Buildings carried out the construction of the barn on Bruce Wood’s farm, which is popular with the cows.

rently supports a seed company trial of new pasture species on the property. He has set a target of harvesting 20 t/ha per year of grass and a 30 per cent growth in milk production per year during the next four years, and believes that’s achievable. Last season, despite the drought, the 420 cows

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Under-cover benefits Building a structure to cover a stand-off area not only protects cows from the weather, but also separates stormwater from effluent, reducing environmental and financial costs, says Matt Hoyle, marketing manager for Aztech Buildings. “The reduction in the amount of waste water, which has to be treated, saves costs and it’s a benefit which can be gained from covering even a relatively small area.” Aztech Buildings was involved in the construction of a large barn on Bruce and Judy Woods’ property near Edgecumbe, which has provided significant benefits in both summer and winter for the herd. Its deep litter bedding remains dry and clean even after 12 months, and will be used as compost for a maize crop next spring. “Farmers don’t have to build a structure of the size or cost of Bruce’s. Aztech works with farmers to design and construct large or small dairy housing systems, providing benefits for their animals and their farm management systems.” Matt says such structures provide a return on investment reasonably quickly because cows protected from summer heat and winter cold, and which calve under shelter, are generally more productive and enjoy better health. “Barns are not just for regions with extreme weather. As Bruce has proved, they bring benefits in relatively mild climates too.” produced 174,000 kg/ms up from 144,000 kg/ms produced by 405 cows the previous season. Bruce draws on his accountancy background to manage the financial sustainability of the farming enterprise, which includes operating within one per cent of the projected budget. By Elaine Fisher


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COAST & COUNTRY

Retiring land equals increased production and profits Retiring some former grazing land at Pukekauri Farms has increased dry matter production on the remaining pasture by two tonne per hectare.

Fencing out and planting erosion-prone or difficult areas continues at Pukekauri Farms.

Retiring marginal areas of the farm has helped increase production elsewhere. Three main streams run through Pukekauri Farms and since 1995 they have been progressively fenced out and planted.

plus a further 50ha owned by Rick. The accumulated properties are farmed by Rick and partner Jan Loney as one unit to provide an economic and sustainable block. The improved performance of Pukekauri pasture is also While it may seem due in no small part of counter-intuitive, Rick smart grazing manageBurke says fencing ment and a carefully out and protecting considered fertiliser marginal parts of the regime. 350 ha property in “One of the real Lund Rd near Katipositive things we kati has improved the have done is engage Brian Thomas from overall performance of the farm and added Rick Burke and Jan Loney. Nutrilink to advise us on our fertiliser policy another $40,000 per and nutrient management programme. 100 ha to the bottom line each year. He has given us real confidence in our “The areas we have retired were fertiliser spending and his experience among the hardest to manage. They has been invaluable in discussing a grew the most weeds, were erosion whole range of farm policies. Our base prone and needed more fertiliser. fertiliser is RPR which we have used By taking them out of grazing we’ve removed those costs and both the farm for 18 years,” says Rick. and the environment has benefitted. Suffolk sheep “We are now getting better proThe farm carried 420 ewes last year duction, increased fertility, better but this is to be reduced to 250 high rotational grazing systems and not performance ewes with the aim of wasting fertiliser.” developing an eczema resistant Suffolk Rick’s advice to farmers is not to underestimate the other benefits gained sheep flock. from planting trees and shrubs and Each season 100 kg bull calves are protecting sensitive areas. “It adds grazed for one winter to target weights value to a farm in terms of the vista of 500kg-550 kg for processing. Light, and the capital value. Bird life also 12 month old bulls are carried through increases. We now have tui, fantail and spring and early summer, then sold on pigeon around the house and flocks of to two-year bull finishers. The farm kaka.” carries around 220 bulls, including 20 Pukekauri certainly has a very jersey bulls, in total. attractive vista, with well maintained, Dairy grazers arrive as weaner heifers healthy pasture and stock, lots of trees then return to their dairy farms in calf. and native shrubs, all set against the The farm also grazes rising one year backdrop of the Kaimai Ranges with heifers from May to May and winters extensive views to the coast. rising two year old dairy heifers and cows. In total the farm carries 414 Plantings rising one and two-year-old heifers and Today 110 ha of the farm is in covmixed aged cows. enanted mature native bush, wetlands The land in Lund Rd is easy and and riparian planting and 28 ha is in gently rolling to steep and three main plantation pines, redwoods and Cyprus streams run through it. Since 1995 and lucitanica. The balance is 212 effecwith the encouragement and advice tive grazing land with shelter trees in from Laurie Donald, formerly of Enviexposed paddocks. ronment Bay of Plenty, these water Rick admits he didn’t always see the ways have been progressively fenced value of retiring marginal grazing land and planting riparian areas, but the late out and planted in natives. Protecting and planting streams has Derry Seddon, changed his views. reduced flooding and erosion. “The “My father-in-law Derry has played farm’s soil is predominantly Waihi Ash. an important role and worked closely Erosion has been a problem in extreme with us on the farm Land and Enviweather events in the past. Riparian ronment Plan. Unfortunately, Derry and wetland protection has had a huge passed away September 2012. He impact on reducing silt runoff and made an enormous contribution over damage to farm infrastructure.” 17 years to our current environmental However, planting takes time, money achievements.” and attention. Weeds in the early stages Pukekauri is made up of 250 ha can be an issue and pest plants and owned by the Seddon Family Trust, animals also have to be kept under a 50 ha joint venture between the By Elaine Fisher control. Seddon Family Trust and Rick Burke,


DAIRY

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Doing the right thing by the environment Nineteen years ago effluent from the newly-constructed dairy shed on Sherwood Farm at Kaharoa could, quite legally, be discharged into a stream. However, owners Heather and Lachlan McKenzie had no intention of doing so. “Not only wasn’t it right for the environment, it would have also meant sending a valuable resource off downstream – and I don’t like anything leaving this property without providing a return,” says Lachlan, who jokingly attributes that financial prudence to his Scottish ancestry. At a time when dairy shed effluent was more widely considered a nuisance to be disposed of as quickly and as easily as possible, Lachlan was among a small group of farmers who understood its nutrient value. Lachlan built effluent holding ponds and today it is spread through a travelling irrigator with a prototype “irrosafe” device to shut off the pump if the irrigator stops moving. That technology was trialled and developed on-farm with Lachlan’s help. Doing the right thing by the environment is an essential part of the McKenzie farming philosophy. “We are the first part of a food production business, which provides high quality food to the world. We must do so in the most efficient way possible, and with regard to our natural resources.”

Heather and Lachlan McKen zie believe doing the right thing by the env ironment makes sound business sense.

Fragile

Complex

Farming, says Lachlan, is part of a highly complex biological system which needs to be managed carefully – and when that’s done right, it can enhance the natural environment at the same time as enabling an increase in food production. Sherwood Farm is an example of that. When Heather and Lachlan brought the 390 ha property its free-draining Kaharoa pumice soils had very low organic content and fertility. “I would dig post holes and find hardly a worm. Now there are several in every spade full.” The brown-top pastures had runoff problems with significant risk of soil erosion. Through a carefully considered fertiliser programme, which includes almost fortnightly applications of small amount of Lachlan’s “witches’ brew” – fertiliser, and now chicken manure – to no more than one-third of the grazed area at a time, organic content of soils has increased from about two per cent to 10-12 per cent. “In the last 10 years, clover growth has gone from virtually none to good largeleafed plants being a reasonable percentage of the now rye grass dominant mixed

pastures. This has improved water-holding capacity and fertility while reducing runoff and nutrient leaching. “ Sediment traps or detention dams in main ephemeral waterways have been installed to reduce soil loss to water ways.

Solar panels on the dairy roof boost the heat of wash-down water.

al areas of Sherwood On the more margin and Cupressus Farm, 50 ha of pine planted. lusitanica have been

Solid Food for Soils

Acutely aware of how fragile the soils are, the McKenzies have changed the land use of the former sheep and beef property to suit its contour, which ranges from rolling to steep incised gullies. Today, 220 ha is farmed, 120 ha is in native bush, and 50 ha of the steeper areas are in forestry. A further 50 ha of mainly grazing land is DoloZest leased. Although there’s less land in pasture, CalciZest average dry matter production has gone 0800 843 809 from approximately 6 t/ha to 12 t/ha. 07 362 7288 or go to Two years after purchase,www.esi.org.nz Lachlan, with Eco-Logic Soil Improvement the help of two others, built the dairy which today milks 650 cows once-a-day. Last season, despite the summer dry, those cows produced 203,000 kg/ms and the figure for the more climatically favourable 2012 season was 230,000 kg/ms. The transition to once-a-day milking should be complete this season. It’s a move Lachlan believes will reduce stress all round, on animals, staff and infrastructure. The dairy herd has not been drenched for worms nor treated for lice for decades.

Vision

Sherwood Farm’s contour ran ges from rolling to steep incised gul lies.

“Last year the farm got a certificate from Fonterra for being in the top 25 per cent for somatic cell count and that is from a once-a-day milking herd,” says Lachlan. “Antibiotics are used, but if an animal has more than two treatments then it is culled. Last season, 89 per cent cows got in calf in six weeks with an overall empty rate of 3.4 per cent.” By Elaine Fisher

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Page 12

Consultation effective protection ‘tool’ for lake Investment has been made to manage dairy effluent so it doesn’t impact on Lake Rerewhakaaitu.

Consultation and co-operation achieve far more for the environment than confrontation, believes Trevor and Harriet Hamilton.

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Grazing in the rain – Rere Farm has very good nitrogenconversion efficiency.

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A prime example of consultation at its best is Project Rerewhakaaitu, say the Hamiltons, who are part of the scheme. It was launched by farmers in the lake’s catchment about 13 years ago to preserve the lake for future generations. Landowners work closely with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council; and today the lake’s waters are among the cleanest in the district. Trevor says the unique form of co-operation rather than imposed regulation has proved it is possible to intensively farm in the lake catchment without contaminating its waters. Project Rerewhakaaitu is an important model for how to care for the environment – but, says Trevor, it’s also an illustration of how to retain investment in farming. “While as a country we have to look after our environment, we also have to be careful that regulation to do so doesn’t drive investment offshore. We are strongly focused on NZ Inc and by choice would always prefer to invest in this country, not overseas.” However, if draconian regulations were in place for farming around the lake, Trevor says it’s unlikely the family business would be interested in farming there. It’s not that the business doesn’t have regard for the environment, it’s because the Hamiltons believe more can be achieved; and the outcomes are better when issues are handled in a collaborative manner and farming is financially sustainable.

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Trevor and Harriet are principals in T H Enterprises, a venture which traces its beginnings back 36 years to their early days as farm workers and then sharemilkers. As they raised five children (including twins), milked cows and saved hard for the next step up the ladder, their aim was to provide for themselves and give their children a better lifestyle and education opportunities than they or their parents experienced. They didn’t initially envisage, back in the 1980s, that their aspirations would eventually lead to a company which today owns eight farms with 1458 effective hectares, milking more than 6000 cows and employing 38 staff. Three of the farms are in the North Island and four in Canterbury. Four of their five children are employed and have a shareholding in the business. It’s Rere Lake Farm Ltd, which has been entered in the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. It is a 146 ha dairy farm milking 585 cows, which produced 252,882 kg/ms in the 20112012 season and 215,654 kg/ms last season, despite the drought.

Like many entrants, Trevor and Harriett had to be convinced to enter. “I didn’t think our farming business fitted the requirements of the awards, as I don’t see us as ‘greenies’. “Our focus is on being sustainable across all aspects of our business; and that does include the environment, but not the exclusion of being profitable. You have to be financially in the black to be environmentally green.” However, the Hamiltons fully recognise that to be able to farm the land in perpetuity and remain sustainable as a business, the environment must be cared for. “We’ve taken a lesson from Maori trusts and their attitude to land ownership. We have no intention of selling and take the long term view of the land.” The scale of the Hamilton enterprise does make it easier to be “green”. “We have access to capital which can be allocated to projects, including to protect the environment, where it is required which is something many farm owners don’t have the luxury of,” says Trevor.

Trout

Like other farmers in the Rerewhakaaitu catchment, the Hamiltons have adopted a range of measures to reduce the impacts of their farming on the lake. These include fencing out the trout spawning Mangakino Stream, which runs through the property. Work has been done to reduce runoff from a bridge and the approach laneways associated with crossing the Awaroa stream. Nutrient budgeting is done annually with AgResearch and Ballance; and GPS is used for tracking of fertiliser spreading and recording. The farm has a very good nitrogen-conversion efficiency and good timing with smart use of N-products especially in high risk periods. Rere farm is managed by Andrew Truscott and he follows protocols set out for all the company’s farms, which includes a “no thirsty or hungry days for stock” standard. Meeting that standard was testing during last summer’s drought and that was when Trevor, who aims to leave day-to-day decisions to his staff, played a more hands-on role. “It was a tough for staff, as they hate to see cows hungry. They needed more support and direction from us in how to manage feed during that time, and an assurance that we would not dry off [cows] early nor put off staff, when other farms were doing so,” says Harriett. Andrew and the Hamiltons are fully aware that they are farming in a particularly sensitive catchment and take a strong ‘ownership’ attitude towards the local lake and protection of its water quality. By Elaine Fisher


DAIRY

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Cows dying from theileria spread by ticks Many didn’t think the theileria problem was a big issue, but reports are now circulating among farmers who have lost 10 to 20 cows – and up to 100 in big herds, where clearly there is no resistance to the disease.

Managing nutrients With sustainability becoming an increasing focus for the rural community, tools such as Overseer provide free support to help farmers better manage their farm nutrients. “Overseer helps to put the control of nutrient management back in the hands of the farmer,” says Gordon McFetridge, Bay of Plenty dairy farmer and 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards supreme winner for the region with parents, Dennis and Judith McFetridge. Using Overseer, farmers and advisors capture personal farm data to create nutrient budgets, calculate maintenance requirements and nutrient loss. Regional councils and dairy companies require farms have a nutrient budget in place, which is easily achieved using Overseer. Overseer – available free at www.overseer.org. nz – is jointly owned by the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and AgResearch.

HAVING YOUR HERD AND FARM DAIRY ANTIBIOTIC FREE, USING AN EFFECTIVE BIOLOGICAL OPTION!

Cattle with anaemia, which are listless and won’t eat, may have been infected with theileria.

farmers in recent months with theileria-infected stock, as it’s designed to boost immunity. It’s been very effective with infected calves, which have not had time to develop their immunity. The best thing you could do before stock come on to your farm from an outside source, and where you don’t know the theileria status of the ticks, is to treat stock for ticks a week before they leave, and give them a dose of OMS while in a quarantine paddock on your farm to boost their immunity. (Source Wormade).

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Apart from deaths, farmers have had massive vet bills from attempts to save sick animals with drugs, even having to resort to costly blood transfusions. The problem arrived from Northland along with their ticks, and infected the Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s resident ticks. The biology is complex where the cattle tick (resident here for a long time), is now carrying a protozoan (which arrived much later), and after a complex journey ends up in a cow’s red blood cells where it does major damage. Northland cattle must have immunity against the disease that Waikato and Bay of Plenty cows don’t have yet. So if you have cattle with anaemia, are listless and won’t eat, then get a vet check for theileria. The cattle tick also hops on sheep, deer, goats, horses, hares, rabbits, pet dogs and cats; so even if you kill all of the ticks on a cow, other vectors in the tick life cycle can still be the source of spread to other cattle, and worse still – to your neighbours. The theileria protozoan, which is basically a singlecell lump of jelly, cunningly cycles inside the tick’s various stages (except eggs), so even if you kill the ticks on a beast and the host dies, the theileria keeps going. Farmers report vets are struggling to cure infected stock. Basically, after using the approved pour-on to kill the ticks, apart from some new expensive drugs with long withholding periods and a last resort a blood transfusion, the only thing you can do is to reduce stress on the animals and hope their natural immunity will kick in and deal to the theileria. Wormade’s Oral Mineral Supplement has helped

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DAIRY

Page 14

Work with nature not against it Nature is a seemingly simple, but in reality quite complex thing and few people understand it. Some claim they do, but only practise small parts of it. A holistic approach and nothing less is what is required. We have to be mindful of everything we do and constantly need to be willing to learn new and better ways to work with nature not against it. Decades of farming have depleted our soils of vital nutrients, trace elements, and minerals and caused soil compaction. There’s a loss of worm populations, because of over grazing and pugging and a lack of available calcium in order for earth worms to do their job. Calcium is nature’s first building block and worms depend on it. Low PH soils with poor worm population and little biodiversity, lack soil biology. A healthy worm population can turn over

25 tons of soil per hectare per year. This makes millions of pathways for air to pass through the soil, nodulation of clovers then pass nitrogen to rye and other plants growing in the pasture. Clover contributes $2billion dollars to the New Zealand economy per year. Clover thrives in New Zealand soils but like all things in nature the balance must be right. Clover needs boron in order to take up and then release calcium, and magnesium to the pasture and in turn to the animals that graze on it. Rule of thumb if the pasture looks healthy the soil, the earthworms and the animals that graze it will also. Water is the world’s most precious resource. Up to 70 per cent of the world’s

population now drink water that has been contaminated with heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, DDT, chemicals, and sins of the past, which will haunt us for many years to come. Water footprint is a word we are all becoming familiar with now through carbon loss in our soils we have lost the ability to hold moisture. Healthy soils can hold up to 150 tons of rainwater per hectare. Leaching of nutrients, superphosphate, nitrogen and all of the above have found their way into waterways worldwide. Humic and fulvic acids play a very important roll in stopping the soil from cracking, also keeping the soil soft with the ability to hold huge amounts of water plus stopping leaching.

Don Chapman and the jet ski he will ride in the 600 km Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ challenge in March.

Jet skiing for melanoma research Well-known designer and builder of dairy parlours, Don Chapman of Morrinsville is among those taking part in the six-day, 600 km 2014 Yamaha Melanoma Foundation Ski-nZ challenge in March.

“Crazy as it may seem at my age, the challenge inspires me. My first-hand experience as a melanoma survivor from 30 years ago makes me as passionate about this worthwhile cause; as I am about every day I get that I otherwise might not have,” says Don. Billed as an adrenalin-packed adventure on personal watercraft, travelling some of the most amazing coastline and scenery that the top of the South Island has to offer, the March 9-15 event is an important fundraiser for the foundation. Don’s been testing his endurance on a jet ski this summer, including in the Tauranga Harbour, out to Motiti Island and up and down the coast. “We will do about 100 km a day and depending on conditions that can take up to two-and-a-half hours. It certainly tests your fitness.” Don is seeking sponsors to make donations to the Melanoma Foundation. To find out more, email Don at: donvon@xtra.co.nz or go to: www.melanoma.org.nz

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Edinburgh man Wullie McTavish on his deathbed and who knows the end is near, is with the nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons. “So,” he says to them: “Bernie, I want you to take the Braid Hills houses. “Sybil, take the flats over in Morningside and Bruntsfield. “Tam, I want you to take the offices in Charlotte Square. “Sarah, my dear wife, please take all of the residential buildings in the New Town.” The nurse is just blown away by all this, and as Wullie slips away, she says: “Mrs McTavish, your husband must have been such a hardworking man to have accumulated all this property”. Sarah replies, “Property?...the bugger has a paper round!”


DAIRY

Governance – it’s about the bigger picture Peter Jensen hasn’t milked a cow in 40 years – but he’s had a long and distinguished career in agriculture and been a key player in many of the initiatives, which have helped shape the face of today’s industry.

appointed to the board of Landcorp, a position he held for six years. “Landcorp farms were being prepared for treaty settlements but in the end Maori didn’t want them, the then Labour Government didn’t want to sell them, so the focus had to change to prepare for their long-term future as profitable enterprises.” Peter was also appointed as an independent director to the then Kiwifruit Marketing Board in 1976 and worked alongside chairman John Palmer, who late last year was honoured for helping save the industry from financial disaster in 1992 when prices crashed in an oversupplied European market.

Instead of ‘hands on’, Peter’s role has been in governance in the dairy industry, research and development, the fertiliser and kiwifruit industries and even in rural insurance. “It’s not the future I ever imagined for myself when I left school to go farming; and I’ve been very lucky in the opportunities I’ve had. I haven’t turned many of Zespri them down.” Peter was part of the board which In recognition of his significant contri- restructured the industry to create the butions to agriculture and horticulture, single point of entry marketer Zespri, Peter was honoured and it’s now with a special internationally-recaward at the Grassognised and highly lands Conference regarded brand. in Tauranga last “At the time, the November. public couldn’t Now retired from understand the idea corporate life, of branding New Peter says he’s back Zealand kiwifruit where he began as using the name the ‘gofer’ for the Zespri.” Jensen family farmHe was also an ing and kiwifruit independent direcbusiness. tor of the kiwifruit Peter’s grandfaPeter and Anne Jensen are now both postharvest cother, LP Jensen, operative Katipack, dairy farmers and kiwifruit growers. bought land at which later merged Omanawa in 1907 with Baypack to and that’s where Peter grew up; attendbecome Satara. However, in 2006 when ing Tauriko School and the then co-ed the Jensen family bought a kiwifruit Tauranga College (now Tauranga Boys’ orchard, Peter had to step down. College). Peter’s other involvement with reHe left school at 17 after completing branding came when he joined the his seventh form year. “My mother was board of Bay of Plenty Fertiliser Co-Op very ill and died not long after I left from 1990 to 2003. It was a time of school. My father was also unwell, so rapid change, amalgamations and I ended up running the farm.” By the consolidation in the fertiliser industry; time he was in his late 20s, Peter had and by 2001 the co-operative brought gained the kind of experience it often its various entities together under one takes several decades to acquire. umbrella, re-branding itself as Ballance He’d also met and married Anne ColAgri-Nutrients Ltd. “It was an exciting lins, originally of Otaki, who came to time for the industry and farming,” Tauranga Hospital to train as a nurse. says Peter, who as chairman accidently got to make the final decision on the company’s new colour. “The options Young farmers were brown or blue – I chose the blue The couple was very involved with – because to me it was a more positive Young Farmers, a movement initiated colour.” and supported by the Department of Peter also served eight years on the Agriculture as a means of encouraging board of the Dairy Research Corporaon-going learning among the next gention, which was a joint venture between eration of farmers. “Young Farmers also the Government and the dairy industry, encouraged members to get involved with its research centred at Ruakura in in running the organisation, in leaderHamilton. ship and debating and it was also very “The land Ruakura is on, was desigsocial,” says Anne. At 31, Peter won a prestigious Nuffield nated for a Tainui settlement and our Scholarship, giving him the opportunity board saw the need to secure land to replace it.” The result was the purchase to spend six months looking at farming of the research farm near Ruakura, systems in the UK. “We had good staff, today known as Scotts Farm. so I was able to leave the farm in their Dexcel, a dairy industry good hands.” organisation, was another Peter played When he returned, Peter was asked a governance role in. In 2007, Dexcel to stand for the board of the Bay of and Dairy InSight merged to form Plenty Dairy Co-op and the executive DairyNZ. of Federated Farmers. He went on to “I was asked to stand for the board of be elected to the New Zealand Dairy Board, serving 16 years, travelling exten- rural insurer Farmers Mutual Group; and as I knew virtually nothing about sively overseas furthering its marketing insurance, thought it was a great interests. He was on the board when opportunity to find out about another restructuring of the dairy industry and industry.” He went on to serve seven forming the co-operative, Fonterra, years as chairman. began. At the same time, Peter was “In my view, governance is not about director of several overseas companies. running the business, and I never tried But in 1992 he lost his place on the to do that. Governance is about the board. It wasn’t long before Peter’s governance bigger picture, having an overview and looking to the future.” By Elaine Fisher skills were again in demand and he was

Page 15

PRE-CAST CONCRETE & STEEL CONSTRUCTION SPECIALISTS


Page 16

PASTURE

Using flystrike treatment to best effect Various management factors, such as strategic shearing or dagging and prevention of conditions like scouring, footrot and Dermatophilus will reduce the attractiveness of sheep to the main strike flies – however chemical treatments are a key part of flystrike prevention. We are well into the season now and as usual we are starting to see treatment breakdowns where treated sheep are being struck. While some of these breakdowns may be due to flies becoming resistant to the chemicals, the main reason is usually insufficient chemical being applied, relative to the fleece length or type and the fly pressure. It is

To order, call 0800 100 123.

important to remember labels on products claim for preventative periods are quoted as “up-to” (for example, 12 weeks), and an actual cover period depends on fly pressure and other factors. The main chemicals used for flystrike prevention are insect growth regulators, as they provide persistence for up to three to four months or more. IGRs fall into two categories: 1. Triazine/pyrimidine derivatives; Cyromazine and Dicyclanil; fly control only. 2. Benzoyl Phenyl Urea (BPU) compounds; Diflubenzuron and Triflumuron; fly and lice control. Recent surveys show little if any resistance to cyromazine and dicyclanil, which are still working as expected. It is the BPU chemicals that are affected by resistance; and anecdotally the worst breakdowns involve triflumuron, while diflubenzuron is generally working satisfactorily in most cases at the moment. The main treatment methods are jetting, pouron or spray-on and saturation dipping (plunge or shower). Key points on application: • Jetting; in addition to getting the dilution rate correct, it is critical to apply several litres per sheep with good coverage to skin level over the areas most prone to strike. Volumes as low as 1 litre per sheep could give sub-optimal protection. • Pour-on or spray-on; fleece length and application technique are critical to success, as the potential weakness of these types of products is their low volume relative to the size of the area requiring cover. Prevention of strike is largely limited to the area covered with the product, and effectiveness is improved with higher volume products, especially on larger sheep. If in doubt get expert advice on the appropriate chemicals to use, along with the correct application method and timing.

Sustainable management the aim This is the first of a regular editorial column, so I thought I’d give some background about our company and our products.

chemical use. Traditional farming methods have developed around the addition of inorganic chemical additives to enhance productivity, and it is now recognised some of these traditional methods have a major effect on the Revital Fertilisers produce ongoing sustainability of quality, organic-based fertilisers and are committed to ramblings intensive agriculture and horticulture. sustainable environmental Our fertilisers are promanagement and farmer and duced with biology and grower productivity. sustainability as key drivers, which Our products are sold in bulk form not only maintain productivity but to the agricultural and horticultural enhance it at no extra cost to the markets, mainly in the North Island. farmer or grower than “traditional Our direct sales force is based in the methods”. Bay of Plenty, Waikato and Taranaki We believe we can offer the best of regions. The bases of Revital products are ver- both worlds, biological/organic fertilisers, blended with traditional inputs as micast, quality composts, and chicken needed to obtain the very best result manure. for the farmers and growers. These products can be blended On a more personal note, I’ve been with other fertilisers to create a balworking for Revital for just more than ance between nutrient and organic a year, and cover the Bay of Plenty requirements necessary for vigorous from Coromandel to Opotiki and out plant growth. All Revital fertilisers are to Rotorua, Murupara; and also the microbially-active and humus-rich. South Waikato. Prior to this, I was in Revital Fertilisers has a range of prodthe horticultural sector for five years. ucts which are blended to restore your I’ve lived in the Bay of Plenty for nine soil balance. years, located mid-way between KatiThis balance may have been affected kati and Tauranga. by seasonal demand, crop type or

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MAIZE

Page 17

Maize regaining position as supplement of choice ing in a measurement from planting to maturity. Where crops are inconsistent in height, this is a result of de-nitrification which occurs when excess moisture has remained on or near the surface and has not allowed the nitrogen cycle to be completed. Outstanding growing conditions, along with high humidity, can give way to other pressures, such as disease. Some hybrids are showing signs of rust. The pustules occur primarily on the upper surface. The rusty “powder” can be rubbed off with the fingers and these pustules become darker as the season progresses.

Scouting

Instances of northern leaf blight along with eyespot have been detected, and should conditions conducive to disease pressure continue then scouting of the crops for any irregularity should Barry Smallridge of Pacific Seeds with a healthy maize crop ripe for making silage. continue. Spraying of a fungicide Most regions are ahead of their yearly Maize, being a sub-tropical plant, can increase yield by as much as seven tonne rainfall average. However, early last month requires a certain number of heat to the hectare for silage and three t/ha for some areas, for example Morrinsville and units for the crop to reach maturity, grain. Aerial coverage and high water rates are Dargaville, were behind their averages, while with fully loaded kernels of starch-rich Hamilton and Whangarei were slightly ahead essential ingredients in ensuring best results when undertaking corrective spraying with cobs in time for harvest. of their yearly average. fungicides. With sufficient rain combined with the New maize hybrids are producing disease Corn hybrids can differ in their requiregrowing degree days being above the avertraits that provide adaptability to leaf diseases, ments for heat and sunlight for maximum age, it’s therefore not surprising to see many yield. Early maturing plants, which require increase plant strength, and provide higher maize crops this season looking as healthy and yield and energy levels. less heat than longer maturity options, had advanced as they have done for a number of finished tasseling and silking about mid-JanA decrease in the number of hectares of seasons. uary. This period is when the plant requires maize grown from the 2012 season to the Growing Degree Days, or GDD, is calcuthe highest level of moisture uptake, in fact, 2013 season was in the region of 5000 ha lated on an accumulation of heat normally during this three-week period the plant needs silage and 6000 ha grain. The trend this 35 per cent of its total moisture requirement. measured during a 24-hour period, culminatseason may well have gone back in favour of

maize, particularly for silage. Growers who’ve previously used palm kernel (PKE) as a tool to fill their feed deficits have seen changes in this product’s quality and pricing that have created a keen desire to use maize as a winning formula, because it combines the characteristics of a clean, wellfermented forage with high starch, sugar and fibre content.

Demand

Contractors have seen increased interest in maize silage this season, with some claiming only small amounts still available for sale. To maximise the energy value of maize silage, the crop should be harvested once it reaches optimum maturity. This is when sugars in the cob have been converted to starch. Factors influencing this will include sowing date, variety, location and weather conditions experienced during the growing season. Harvesting before the crop is ready is an expensive means of storing water. The energy of the ensiled maize will not be maintained, as 95 per cent of any sugars are converted into organic acids in the fermentation process, so energy is lost. Ideally, it has to be 32 to 35 per cent dry matter (DM), or when the half of the grain is soft (like a brie cheese) and the upper half is hard (like cheddar cheese). Over-mature maize will produce a fibrous and less digestible crop which will be harder to consolidate. Compaction is difficult enough, with 900 hp machinery delivering crops to the stack at a rapid rate. Finally, you could give some extra protection by applying salt at three kilograms per square metre; double the rate on the edges and mixing into the top few centimetres. Ideally, the stack should be closed for three weeks, as it takes this period to move through the six phases of fermentation that take the product from fresh cut to optimum silage. To open sooner may waste starch and be more prone to aerobic spoilage. By Barry Smallridge of Pacific Seeds


MAIZE

Page 18

Measuring what is plant available Maize silage is quality supplement I found an article in the December ‘Inside Dairy’ publication titled ‘Fertiliser: stick to the basic principles’ to be misleading. It read: ‘Principle 1. Determine soil fertility through testing. It is important the soil test has been calibrated for NZ pastoral conditions.’ What nonsense. This is a reference to a soil test. That part bears no relation to the plants growing there. A soil test is a soil test. There may be pasture, or there may be trees involved. There will not be a difference in the actual soil test results, but there may be a difference in the recommendations. There are many different soils around the world, but a worthy soil lab will not take country of origin into account. So why does Dairy NZ? The results of a good test will measure what is available in any and all soils. ‘Principle 2. Apply the required nutrients.’ The graph in the article showed low, optimum, and high levels of six nutrients. That is six out of 16. How can you apply what is needed when only six minerals are measured? Another failure is that the test background is not actually specific to the soil tested. It is low, optimum or high using non-specific statistical data to define that. This can lead to huge mistakes in interpretation of what is required for your particular soil. ‘Principle 3. Select fertiliser with the required nutrients, at the lowest cost. The most important point is to calculate the cost of fertiliser on a per unit applied basis.’ This is one of the greatest rorts of all time. How cheap is it to buy fertiliser that doesn’t work or is only partly effective? Superphosphate is a case in point. A large proportion of it ties up upon application to the soil. Alkaline phosphates do not have such problems. Magnesium oxide is cheap. It won’t build magnesium in the soil. You can apply MgO each year forever and nothing much will change. Serpentine rock is much harder to

break down than carbonate rock, but serpentine is cheaper than dolomite; a carbonate which works well, and is better value. Potassium chloride is cheaper than potassium sulphate, but it makes the soil almost as hard as concrete. That’s why the drilling industry uses it. For the same expenditure, sulphate will give a better result. You can almost guarantee a proportion of urea will end up in the ground water; but it’s the cheapest form of chemical nitrogen. It does not stay in the soil anywhere near as long as ammonium sulphate. Nor is it as well balanced as SOA for protein formation. Cheap is not necessarily the best, nor is it necessarily the wisest choice. At Kiwi Fertilisers we use a Missouri lab (PAL) to test soils. They do so for 70 countries worldwide. The lab gives precise readings for each soil sample. That is; they find out exactly what nutrients that soil should have. It’s not based on an average range which may vary by as much as five-fold. It’s based on the particular soil sample. Those results are interpreted by consultants in the first instance. In general those recommendations are not implemented in one year, because of the poor state of soil fertility in New Zealand. They do however, set out where the farmer needs to head to, during the next few years to improve his fertility and therefore his pasture or crop growth, stock health, production and, most importantly, his profit. In the second instance, local consultants modify the recommendations for a number of reasons. In both instances, it is done using supporting manuals and precise rules of soil fertility all consultants throughout the world ought to learn. A bonus with our system is that yellow bristle grass will diminish without a drop of Fenoxaprop being used. Black beetles, facial eczema, clover root weevils or any other malady you care to name, will all fall by the wayside when the soil is balanced properly. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. Editor’s note: Dairy NZ was invited to respond to this article but no reply had been received when Coast & Country went to print.

BASE SATURATION PERCENT Calcium (60 to 70%) Magnesium (10 to 20%) Potassium (2 to 5%) Sodium (.5 to 3%) Other Bases (Variable)

}80%

EXCHANGEABLE HYDROGEN (10 to 15%)

The maize harvest begins later this month and due to favourable growing conditions, the quality looks to be excellent. Some crops are a little ahead of normal in terms of maturity and those throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty are in good shape, thanks to the weather conditions Robin Billett, regional manager for Pioneer. and heat units we have enjoyed ing new pasture species in time for the this summer. winter grazing rotation. The same conditions have also There is an increasing trend to install favoured grass growth and while farmers in-shed feeding systems. Kibbled maize currently have plenty of pasture for their is a high energy, cost effective feed stock, maize silage is still important which is an ideal option to be feeding in helping prepare dairy cows for next through these systems. Pioneer brand season. Feeding maize silage enables products have produced a “Maize Grain dairy farmers to extend lactation and for Dairy Cows” manual which outlines maintain or build body condition scores. this new feed in more detail. This Mature cows need a condition score manual can be requested or read at the of 5.0 and young stock its 5.5. Feeding website address below. maize silage is one of the most efficient With maize now maturing, farmers ways of achieving those body score should book in their contractor ready targets. for harvest and start to prepare silage Maize silage is a valuable, home-grown storage areas. This includes cleaning high quality feed which can yield up to out the pit or preparing the bun site 30 tonnes per hectare and help reduce and making sure access is suitable for on-farm costs. For dairy farmers, growvehicles. If there is a pest problem, baits ing maize also presents an efficient and to control vermin should be laid. environmentally friendly use of dairy To maximise their maize silage investeffluent which is an ideal fertiliser for ment, farmers should consider applying maize. inoculant at harvest time to lock in and New short maturity hybrid plants preserve silage quality while at the same make it possible to now grow maize in time minimising ensiling losses. areas such as the Central Plateau which Your local Pioneer representative, merin the past were not suitable for this chant or contractor can help with advice crop. These new plants mature quickly on when crops are ready for harvest this in cooler climatic conditions which season. There is also a useful maize silage have less heat units than the traditional harvest guide at www.pioneer.co.nz growing regions and therefore allowing By Robin Billett, Regional Manager for paddocks to be re-sown in high producPioneer brand products.


MAIZE

Page 19

Maize silage useful part of eczema management programme Farmers are well aware warm, humid conditions at this time of year increase the risk of facial eczema in livestock. Feeding maize silage, or any other high energy supplement, is a useful part of an overall management programme to help control eczema by avoiding overgrazing. Grazing paddocks too low can make cows more prone to picking up the eczema spores. This summer’s excellent grass growth has meant many farmers have topped paddocks. While that’s a great way to increase pasture quality for follow up grazing, it also means more litter for eczema spores to grow in. Putting zinc in the water supply for cows, administering zinc bullets to young stock and spraying pasture before grazing to control the spores are other methods of managing the condition, which can seriously affect the health and performance of stock. It’s been a great growing season for our maize crops and we’re hoping for sunny spells in the next couple of weeks to provide the heat units required to fill out the cobs before harvest starts in mid to late February. Thankfully, this summer has been kinder than last and farmers have plenty of grass. However, the grass quality is not as good now as it was in spring; and supplementing with maize silage helps get stock in good condition going into winter while maximising returns in good payout years. Farmers who feed our maize silage say they see a lift in milk production and cow condition. It’s easier to put condition on cows now, rather than later in the season. High quality feed can help maintain or improve cow condition while still milking. Supplementing with maize silage also helps extend the grazing round and build the feed wedge ahead of the cows. Just how much to feed out should be

decided before animals move to a new paddock. While you don’t want the cows to graze too low, you do need to maximise pasture use. Grass silage is another excellent supplement, provided it has been made at the right time and is of a high quality. We make our grass silage in September and October, when the rye is around Red Band height, all leafy, not stalky and full of seed head. The quality of our lucerne crop from October 2013 was fantastic. Metabolisable energy was 12.7 and the crude protein was 26.6, making it a very good alternative to palm kernel. The bales weighed on average 925 kg at 47.8 per cent dry matter, giving the bales about 442 kg of dry matter each. We could only cart 30 bales on a truck and trailer, which gave us about a 28 tonne payload. Farmers making their own grass silage should not do so from paddocks which have been shut up for six to eight weeks. When pasture is stalky and full of seed head, the cows will pick it over but not clean it up or milk well on it. The best grass silage is made from paddocks cows would love to eat and milk well on, which is a good measure of pasture quality. When buying in feed, farmers should always ask to see feed analysis test results of supplements they buy. Checking independent feed analysis allows farmers to check the ME values to ensure a quality product is being received. Not all wrapped silage is the same inside the bale – all too often, the only similarity is the plastic wrapping. A feed analysis is the only real way to know if the feed bought is of high quality. Hill Laboratories has recently tested the ME of our grass silage; and while the industry average is about 9.6, our average is 11.6. Our maize silage consistently ranks higher than average too. This is because we manage our crops intensively, including applying the right fertiliser, selecting the right hybrids with high grain yield potential and harvesting at the opti-

mum time. You can be assured when buying supplementary feed from us, you are buying quality. At Bill Webb Feed Solutions, quality is our primary focus. We have good stocks of silage and hay available and some maize silage left. During the next few weeks, highways and side roads will see an increase in

tractors, trucks and harvesters – so extra care is needed when driving. Tractors and harvesters are restricted to 40 km/h on the open road, which can be a frustration for following motorists. But operators will pull over and let traffic pass when they can do so safely, so please exercise a little patience if you get stuck behind big machinery.


Page 20

EFFLUENT & IRRIGATION

Interest growing in biological farming Interest in biological farming is growing in New Zealand, according to organisers of the second National Conference on Biological Farming Systems, to be held February 20-21 in Rotorua. Professor Guna Magesan, conference coordinator and science advisor to Te Arawa Federation of Maori Authorities, Rotorua, says early registrations for the conference are an indication of the growing awareness of biological farming. Organisers are expecting more than 200 farmers, Maori land owners, soil and environmental scientists, land management specialists, and representatives from government agencies, regional councils, fertiliser companies, agricultural and horticultural businesses will attend the conference. “We have a good line of speakers from New Zealand universities, crown research institutes, farmers and consultants, who will present their findings and observations. Moreover, a number of companies have come forward to sponsor the conference. “We are really humbled by the response that we have received so far,” says Guna. “It shows that in New Zealand, interest in biological farming is growing and we need to cater for such people who want to share and learn.” The conference’s theme is ‘Biological farming under different land uses’, reflecting the vital role of biological farming in sustaining the economy, environment, and communities.

apply gypsum now

The benefits of gypsum in soil treatment are well known, but its value goes well beyond this: • Helps mitigate the flow of nitrates and phosphorus in New Zealand waterways • Can be used to address the issue of sodium from applied effluent • Reduces surface run-off and drainage loss, reduces preferential flow of water run-off in soil • Can be applied by a number of different means to target risk zones • Assists with addressing high soil potassium levels Rates vary per farm and soil type. Applications can last for up to three years and can be used as a base layer in stand-off (loafing) pads.

For further information please contact your local fertiliser supplier, phone 0800 100 442, or visit our website at www.gypsum.co.nz

The conference programme includes two days of technical sessions of oral and poster presentations and a conference dinner. It will also provide a forum for discussion on a wide range of topics for current and future biological farming systems research. Tentatively, six sessions are planned. Professor They are: biological farming under Guna different land uses (dairy, sheep, horMagesan, ticulture, forestry); biological farming coordinator – challenges and opportunities; panel for the session: progressing biological farming; National biological farming and environment Conference (water quality, carbon, climate change); on Biological farmer experiences and value-added Farming products; biological farming – a way Systems. forward. While many papers presented will focus on research and development, there is at least one paper which will question the validity of biological farming movement. “We have included that paper because we want to hear different views. We are sure it will create discussion and help shape the biological farming movement,” says Guna. “The panel session ‘Progressing Biological Farming’ will bring representatives from Maori and Pakeha farmers, industry associations, science communities, and possibly from government/funding agencies together to discuss, debate and deliberate to take the biological farming concept forward. “I believe this panel session will be a turning point and will create a history, in the movement of biological farming in Aotearoa New Zealand.” For more information email biologicalfarming. systems@gmail.com or go to www.tearawafoma.co.nz/events.html

University papers part of qualification The Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme defines the standards for people to meet to provide certified nutrient management advice.

As part of the programme, advisers are required to have successfully completed the Massey University intermediate and advanced courses in Sustainable Nutrient Management in New Zealand Agriculture. Each course includes, as part of the programme, use of Overseer as a tool to determine the effect of farm practices on the nutrient requirements for sustainable production. Until March 31, 2014, and at the discretion of the Standard Setting Group, nutrient management advisers who have more than five years of experience and have achieved a professional standard in New Zealand may be permitted to complete the certification process without holding the Massey University Sustainable Nutrient Management Intermediate and Advanced papers. However, these advisers must meet the following criteria: • Have published academic papers. • Have spoken at an international conference on a topic related to nutrient management advice. • Have been published in industry publications. • Be recognised as an expert in New Zealand competent to deliver both Massey University Sustainable Nutrient Management Intermediate and Advanced courses. After March 31, 2014 all advisers will be required to have passed both Massey University courses. The Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme website contains a range of information, including details about the programme and those people who are either certified nutrient management advisers or working towards their certification, as well as details on how to apply to become a certified nutrient management adviser. For more information on the Nutrient Management Adviser Certification Programme, to find a certified adviser, or to apply to become a nutrient management adviser, go to: www.nmacertification.org.nz For more information on the Massey University courses in Sustainable Nutrient Management in New Zealand Agriculture, go to: www.massey.ac.nz/~flrc/ (Source - Fertiliser Association of New Zealand)


EFFLUENT & IRRIGATION

Page 21

Cool cows to reduce heat stress

How many days this summer will your herd be at risk of heat stress? Cows are at risk when temperatures exceed 24 degrees Celsius at relative humidity of about 75 per cent or higher. In some parts of the country, including the Waikato, Northland and Bay of Plenty, there are typically upwards of 18-19 days during the summer months where risk of heat stress is very high. Heat stress affects not only cows’ comfort and wellbeing but can also reduce feed intake, milk production and conception rates. There are some low-cost actions that can be implemented mid-season to help cows cope with heat stress, sustain appetites and improve summer milk production. Here are some ways farmers can reduce the impact of heat on cows: • Delay afternoon milking until after 4pm on highrisk days. • Plan grazing rotations so that close paddocks and paddocks with shade can be reserved for hot days (see paddock scoring system below). • Bury reticulation pipes (water can get as hot as 50 degrees Celsius in a black pipe in direct sunlight). Keeping water temperature down will help improve the cooling effects of drinking water for cows on hot days. • Install sprinklers over the yard – sprinklers that deliver a medium to large droplet size are best to minimise humidity. Put sprinklers on a 15 minute on/off cycle to maximise wetting, while minimising water wastage. • Wetting down the yard’s concrete for 30-60 minutes before bringing cows in will also cool down the dairy and yard area for milking. • If feeding out, do it following the afternoon milk-

ing or early in the morning, when temperatures are cooler and cows’ appetites are not suppressed. Offer highest quality pasture breaks at night for the same reason. • Watch your highest producers for indications of heat stress because they tend to be more affected by heat, due to greater metabolic heat production. • Look out for crowding around the drinking trough and/or shaded areas, not lying down as much as normal, reduced feed intakes, slowed rumination and increased breathing rates (greater than 60 breaths per minute). • Take action when you start to see these signs in your herd and also when weather forecasts predict high temperatures. Is your farm a heat trap? Score your paddocks for heat risk. Individual paddocks can be scored for their usefulness in reducing the effects of heat. The system described on the Australian Cool Cows website (www.coolcows.com.au), can be used to estimate this risk. This is detailed below. 1. Give each paddock a score from 1 to 10 based on the amount of shade provided in the middle of the day (1 = no shade; 10 = each cow has 4m2 shade available). 2. Give each paddock a score from 1 to 5 based on distance from the dairy (1 = more than 2km; 3 = 1-2km; 5 = less than 1km). 3. Combine the scores for each paddock and rank paddocks according to their risk. Paddocks with the highest scores are the ‘coolest paddocks’. Use this information when planning summer grazing rotations; for example, reserve paddocks with high scores for hotter days or daytime grazing, and use paddocks with low scores for the ‘once a-day’ herds or night grazing. By Adele Arnold, DairyNZ animal welfare developer

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Page 22

AUTUMN FERTILISER

Record entries for 2014 dairy awards Forty-five farmers have entered the 2014 Bay of Plenty Dairy Awards, helping make this a record year nationally for entries.

Amy Fowler, BOP regional convener for the awards, believes renewed enthusiasm for the dairy industry is among the reasons for the record 572 entries in this year’s New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards. For Bay of Plenty entrants, made up of six sharemilkers, nine farm managers and 30 dairy trainees, judging begins in the middle of February. Nationally, nearly 300 entries have been received in the 2014 New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year com-

petition; and national convenor Chris Keeping says the response from dairy trainees has been “phenomenal”. “It is such a positive indicator for the dairy industry to have so many young people putting themselves forward to have their skills tested and to raise their profile and position in the industry. Many have entered before and obviously enjoyed the benefits of taking part.” Chris says 292 entries have been received in the trainee contest, up from 251 last year and just more than 100 in 2008, when the contest began. “Interest in the trainee contest is growing each year and we like to think the awards experience does help to motivate, lift confidence and enhance industry enthusiasm for those who enter.” Chris says all trainee entrants have to be aged under 30 and have been in the industry for less than five years. “It is extremely competitive for those that enter. One of the best bits about it is the friends they make with other trainee entrants that are also focused on progressing in the industry.”

There are 115 entries received for the 2014 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year contest and 165 entries received in the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year. The Bay of Plenty Dairy Industry Awards dinner is on March 19, the Central Plateau dinner is on March 18 and the Waikato awards are on March 21. The Dairy Industry Awards are supported by national sponsors Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, RD1, Triplejump, along with industry partner Primary ITO (formerly AgITO). The entrants are split among 11 regional competitions, with Canterbury/North Otago receiving the most entries overall with 73 entrants. Of those entrants, 40 alone are entered in the region’s dairy trainee competition. The Southland/Otago and Waikato regions weren’t far behind, with 66 and 64 entries respectively and the Hawkes Bay/Wairarapa region received 60 entries. Judging will begin in the South Island at the end of January and the first regional winners will be announced in early March. For more information, visit: www.dairyindustryawards.co.nz

By Elaine Fisher

Our greatest assets – our soils and our land I studied soil science under the late emeritus professor Thomas Walker, who made sure we retained a strong interest in soils; and that they remained top of mind. Having travelled quite extensively, I’m always interested to look at what is happening to soils and how they are preserved (or not) for agriculture. In his book ‘Collapse’, Jared Diamond explains how past civilisations ‘collapsed’ largely because they could not feed themselves. I was therefore interested to notice that in California, Vietnam and Malaysia, crops are grown right up to the town boundaries and roadsides. An article in the ‘Wall Street Journal’ on December 31, 2013, caught my eye with the heading ‘Insight on China’s soil’, which indicates China lacks soil. In short, they have about 20 per cent of the global population and only 10 per cent of the arable soils. So, how are they going to feed themselves? They also have a lot of hilly terrain, with only 55 per cent of the arable land equipped for irrigation. Chinese urbanisation and industrialisation continue to take their toll on farmland, with 2.5 per cent of China’s soils too contaminated with heavy metals to farm – ouch! The Chinese ministry has identified

their lack of arable land on a per capita basis is “grim” and worrisome at less than half the world average. The Chinese Communist Party leader says they must “follow the strictest land protection and land improvement procedures”. They’ve identified they have a problem and are leasing or buying any tracts of land they can find in the world to ensure “food security” for their nation. Did somebody say there were only three feeds between peace and a revolution? So, looking at our own nation now, we have some of the best agriculture land in the world and the benefit of regular rainfall. It is this land that will provide much of our export income; and it needs to be retained and protected for future generations. We also need to be aware of the agenda of countries that are short of agriculture land. Based on the above, I think New Zealand needs to think of the big picture and have a national plan for the protection of our greatest assets – our soils and our land. I know I have made a lot of noise around this, but I feel very strongly about it. Professor Walker constantly reminded us in our lectures at Lincoln University that we needed to protect our soils for future generations. Good soil is our future. Are we wilfully blind to the continued sale of our national assets – land and soil – to foreign interests? 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.


HORTICULTURE

Page 23

Kiwifruit industry mood ‘bullish’ Orchard values are up, the crops look stunning – and as the kiwifruit industry recovers from the severe impacts of the disease Psa-V, it’s with renewed confidence that it prepares for the 2014 harvest, say post-harvest operators. EastPack chief executive Tony Hawken The kiwifruit industry has turned the corner in the last six months with a quiet confidence also influencing improving orchards values, says Tony. “There’s a good dose of optimism in the industry and there are very good reasons why that should be the case. New Zealand produces a good product and there’s demand for our kiwifruit internationally. The industry is in a good space at present; and we are feeling quite bullish about the future. “The size and quality of the crop waiting to be harvested is very pleasing.” While it’s too early to make accurate estimates, Tony says the 2014 crop volume will probably exceed last season’s. “The harvest may be five to seven days earlier than last year, depending on the weather. Recent rain will have helped size fruit but dry matter levels will deter-

mine the harvest start. “Last year’s fruit was on average smaller, but its high dry matter and taste meant it sold well in the markets, setting the stage for this season’s fruit which hopefully reaches a similar high taste level.” Growers are learning rapidly how to produce kiwifruit successfully in the Psa environment and making the most of the tools available. “They are very aware of the impacts of weather events which favour Psa and how to protect their vines. We can’t be complacent because Psa will be with us forever and a day.”

Apata Group managing director Stuart Weston Gold kiwifruit crops are “stunning” with good fruit numbers and quality boosting industry confidence ahead of the coming harvest, says Stuart. “The new golds Charm (G9) and SunGold (G3) look exceptional and that bodes well for the harvest. The kiwifruit industry has gone from a very dark place two seasons ago, to one where confidence has returned. While a small number of orchards are still struggling from the impacts of Psa, many more are really profitable with some growers achieving up to $200,000 a hectare.” Stuart says the turnaround is exceptional; and due to a number of factors, including the large scale removal in Te Puke of the gold Hort16A, Continued on page 24...

95 Elmwood Road, Aongatete

How competent farmers handle dry weather “Why is it that dry spells are no longer a bother?” is a rhetorical question, and more a case of thinking out loud than expecting or requiring an answer. Pastoral farmers have no guarantee of rain on a when-required basis. They enter the industry knowing they must work with the weather and develop strategies and skills to enable them to cope with fluctuations in pasture growth, which occur every year. The Waikato and Bay of Plenty are areas of intensive pastoral farming due to weather conditions and soil types favouring the activity. Annual rainfall of about 1250mm, spread evenly year-round, compared to other regions, provides farmers with a relatively low risk occupation. Healthy well-structured soils provide a buffer when growth conditions are unfavourable with humus, which builds rapidly under pastoral farming to provide moisture for plants to draw on during summer. Because the effect of last summer’s drought was confined largely to February and March, pasture recovery has been rapid. With winter temperatures higher than normal and little heavy rain during the period, cows were behind wires, and pasture growth from early April until mid-January has been well above normal. On well managed properties, there is now more conserved feed than usually required for winter. For most areas there is also more pasture cover than normal at this time of the year, so production is higher and animal condition is better than usual. With the first autumn rain likely to arrive by midMarch, the period when pasture growth is less than required to maintain covers is likely to be no longer than 60 days; or two grazings where a genuine 30-day interval between grazings was established by the end of December. For most, it’s not until the second grazing in February that there’s likely to be a genuine requirement for supplement to be fed. And with plant roots capable of extracting moisture from below half a metre, growth in excess of 30kg DM/ha per day can be expected. Dry-looking summer-grown pasture is likely to contain between 25 and 30 per cent DM/ha –almost double that of spring-grown grass, so regular and careful observation is important.

Comment of production being remarkably goodbased on what appeared to be “not a lot” is common during this period. However, it’s not okay to put animals in paddocks where there is insufficient feed. Apart from the welfare issue, it’s far more efficient to maintain condition of animals than allowing them to lose weight, then feeding extra in autumn to regain what was lost. Where there is insufficient feed for animals, silage made from rapidly growing spring grass is the ideal complement. This contains protein that allows best use of the high energy and fibre-rich feed still in the paddock. Hay or baleage made in December and early January is the ideal supplement in autumn to complement short, green rapidly-growing pasture. As one farmer remarked: “Feed green when the paddock is brown; and brown when the pasture is green”. Pasture on properties where DoloZest/CalciZest, based total nutrient programmes, are in place is largely untouched by beetle or grub – so strong, even growth can be expected soon after rain arrives. And with negligible damage by flea or weevil, the exceptional clover growth during spring and early summer will have fixed sufficient nitrogen for maximum growth during winter and spring. For more information, contact Peter on 0800 843 809.

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KIWIFRUIT

Page 24

Orchard values returning to pre-Psa-V levels ...continued from page 23

in Te Puke of the gold Hort16A, which is very susceptible to the disease Psa-V and replacing it with more tolerant new varieties, growers are competently adopting best practice management techniques to minimise the impacts of the disease. Plus, last season’s ‘vintage’ harvest, with a crop of high tasting fruit, found strong favour in the markets. Psa infections in green Hayward male vines probably impacted on pollination for some Hayward vines with crop volumes patchy in some orchards, but fruit size and quality is good. A similar problem is evident in many organic green orchards. However, the size is up in most of the new sweet green variety crops, thanks to growers paying particular attention to pollination. “Hayward volumes will be slightly down this season while gold volumes will be slightly up. It won’t be a record crop year, but volumes will increase in coming seasons.” SunGold is an absolutely delight to pick, pack and store; and Stuart says early problems with shrivelling and lenticel pitting in the Charm variety are being overcome with increased understanding of growing and handling the fruit. “Zespri’s presentations at recent grower road shows were exciting and indicated growers can expect good returns from the markets again this season.” Apata Group Limited, (Apata and Aerocool) expect to begin harvesting fruit in the last week of March, a little earlier than last year. We are looking for-

ward to getting our teeth into the 2014 season with optimism and confidence,” says Stuart.

Hume Pack-N-Cool grower services manager Maria Rogan Kiwifruit crop volumes will be similar to last year and the fruit quality and size appears to be tracking well. “Green and gold crops are both growing nicely, and rain in mid-January was just what we needed to maintain the momentum for a good growing year. “Pollination was great, especially for the green crops reflecting the good fruit quality we are seeing. Pests such as scale are quite prevalent this year, perhaps because of the mild winter, so growers are needing to monitor these to ensure they have adequate control.” Maria says harvest should begin earlier rather than later, as it did last year. “Growers are managing the Psa situation and just getting on with growing. Certainly, there is evidence of the disease in the orchards but to date it is quite manageable and is becoming just a new era in the growing of kiwifruit. “Growers are quietly confident that Psa will be manageable and this confidence is reflected in the increase in interest in orchard sales,” says Maria. Direct Management Services director Paul Jones The new gold varieties look outstanding and are of excellent quality and size, a result which is cementing the confi-

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dence DMS has long held in G3 and G9, says Paul. “There is variability in the green crop with some orchards suffering from less than ideal pollination, which is to a degree Psa-related, because of the impact of the disease on male vines. However, crops which have been well pollinated are looking good.” Paul is predicting an increase for the DMS packing/ coolstore business of up to 15 per cent in overall crop volume on last year, with a quadruple increase in G3 volumes, thanks to young vines coming into production and an increase in hectares planted in the new gold. “Growers are managing well in the Psa environment, helped by a great spring and the use of best practice management techniques including the removal of diseased material; not that we are seeing much of that, partly because there is no Hort16A around now. “However, some growers are still suffering from the impacts of Psa and there are some green Hayward orchards we are concerned about. G3 has enjoyed a charmed run this spring and summer. “There is a lot of confidence in the industry now, as it becomes obvious it will not only survive but also prosper. That’s reflected in orchard values returning to

By Elaine Fisher

Elicitor assists plants’ responses to disease Trials conducted during the last three years in Italy and New Zealand show the elicitor Agrizest can reduce the destructive impacts of Psa-V on kiwifruit vines and deliver higher orchard gate returns in the disease environment, says Nathan Balasingham, of Indigo Ltd. Nathan, who developed Agrizest, says it is not a cure for Psa but assists plant in their response to pests and diseases and environmental stress. Nathan presented his research results at the Psa 2013 International Conference at Mount Maunganui last November. The product helps plant to produce phenylpropanoids or essential oils, which are involved in protecting plants from light, ultra violet rays and heat damage, from mechanical, wind or hail damage; and from damage caused by low temperatures and by pests and disease. “Phenylpropanoids also enable the plant to convert soil nutrients to a plant-available form. The phenolic hormone salicylic acid interacts with jasmonate and ethylene, and regulates the

increased yield was not at the expense of fruit size. A higher proportion of the High increase in yield was Wounding in the larger fruit size light/UV grade,” says Nathan. Signaling In a case study, a Katikati Hort Low 16A orchard which Pathogen Temps showed Psa disease attack symptoms in spring 2012 was successLow nitrogen fully managed using Agrizest and Biozest Low iron with a record 22,000 trays per hectare in Low phosphate the low-diseased (Image - Richard A. Dixon and Nancy L. Paiva 1995 block, and 14,000 American Society of Plant Physiologists Vol7 pp 1085-1097). trays per hectare in the moderately-diseased block. plants’ repair, growth and defence The average fruit size was count system.” 33, higher than in the industry A split block trial conducted using Agrizest in a highly suscepaverage. tible Hort16A gold orchard in “The high OGR ($210,000/ the epicentre of the Psa epidemic ha) has placed the orchardists in a in New Zealand in 2010/2011, strong financial position to replace showed the elicitor treatment the Hort 16A vines with a more increased yield by 21 per cent resilient variety,” says Nathan. compared to the control. Agrizest was also used on a The market yield was much seven hectare Hayward varihigher at 28 per cent, because the ety orchard in Aprilia, Italy, elicitor treatment also improved decreasing the impact of Psa on fruit quality. The net increase in productivity. The orchard yield returns to the orchardists was more increased from 90 tonnes in 2010 than $17,000 per hectare. “The to 280 tonnes in 2012.

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pre-Psa levels and many growers are receiving a good cash flow with our highest earning G3 clients achieving OGRs of more than $200,000 per hectare.” Pauls says the industry owes a debt of gratitude to the banking sector which stuck by growers, helping them stay in the industry. “They could have behaved differently, but they chose to support us. I think some local managers probably went out on a limb for their clients – and as an industry we should be grateful they did.” Zespri’s predictions out to 2017-2018 are exciting for the industry, Paul says. “Currently, demand for Zespri kiwifruit exceeds supply and the outlook is excellent.” Paul predicts G3 crop volumes will build rapidly to 50 to 60 million trays; and that will put pressure on packing capacity. “It’s not an issue for 2014 but for the future – and it’s a good problem to have. The sector is already working towards handling it.” DMS has a loyal, reliable local labour force and always aims to support Kiwi workers first, but will once again employ a small number of RSE workers who’ve been with the company for many years.

We specialise within the kiwi fruit industry, We have the equipment to spray orchards with our two Atom sprayers and one recently purchased Tracatom Formula tractor which is also available for mulching and mowing.

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

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KIWIFRUIT

Page 25

Well prepared for industry growth Strategic thinking and the ability to fund and resource new capital-intensive postharvest development will be crucial to support the rebounding growth forecast for the kiwifruit industry in the next few years, says Apata Group managing director Stuart Weston. That thinking was behind the merger last year of Aerocool Limited and Apata Limited, to become one of the kiwifruit industry’s largest suppliers of green, green organic and gold fruit to Zespri. The company is also the avocado industry’s largest post-harvest company and is closely aligned with Avoco – New Zealand’s largest avocado marketing company. “Our aim, as the industry recovers from the disease Psa-V, is building a more prosperous future for Apata Group and its growers,” says Stuart. “Both of our companies have longstanding histories, which go back to the very formative years of the kiwifruit industry. They are used to rolling up their sleeves and deal-

ing with adversity – but also keeping an eye on the opportunities that inevitably emerge.” There’s an air of justified optimism in the industry right now, but Stuart says there is still a long way to go down the recovery pathway – and there will be bumps along the way. However, thanks to its longevity in the industry and expertise in post-harvest innovation, new varieties and all categories of kiwifruit fruit, Apata Group Limited is well placed to meet those challenges, says Stuart. “AGL’s pedigree of new variety development has already kicked in and we are leading the pack and working with our supplying growers to perfect growing systems and supply chain protocols. “The Hayward variety is still the backbone of the industry, and growers are currently enjoying record orchard gate returns. AGL can reduce fruit loss and boost per-tray returns for our growers to levels which are consistently among the top in the industry.” “The collaboration, determination and innovation that it brought to bare in times of adversity is what enables our industry to survive and prosper,” says Stuart.

High salinity causes premature leaf fall “Trunk exudates decreased from 80 per cent to 60 per cent and in 2013 – only six vines had exudates and only on the laterals. The plants were under less stress and therefore the orchard saved on the irrigation bill by more than 500 Euros per hectare. The average fruit size also increased.” Agrizest and Biozest used on newly grafted vines are helping achieve full canopy cover and production quickly. Nathan says a G3 block, grafted

in July, achieved full canopy cover by the following February. Psa is a stress-induced disease. There is an excessive use of fertiliser in the kiwifruit industry in New Zealand, which has led to physiological diseases and salinity problems. Applications of excessive potassium fertiliser locks up the magnesium in soil particles and prevents adequate uptake, into the foliage. During the second stage of the growth cycle, the scarce

magnesium in mature leaves is trans-located into the young leaves. As a consequence, the older leaves suffer breakdown. High salinity in kiwifruit orchards is also resulting in premature leaf fall. “Blocks treated with Agrizest are relatively free from leaf breakdown and premature leaf fall and have healthy productive leaves.” The elicitor has also been shown to help overcome damage caused by spring frosts, helping restore a healthy canopy by blossom time.

TOGETHER, WE'RE BETTER, AND YOU'LL BE BETTER OFF If you expect nothing less than a brilliant performance across the board from your post harvest operator look no further than Apata Group Limited. The recent merger of Aerocool and Apata to form Apata Group Limited has created a business whose recent performances across the board prove this is a well oiled team at the absolute top of their game. Things were great before, but now we've joined forces they're even better. If you've got crop to place and you're looking at your options, I'd encourage you to give me a call on 027 541 9335. On behalf of the new Apata Group Limited board I'd like to wish all growers in the Bay of Plenty the very best for a prosperous 2014 kiwifruit harvest.

Stuart Weston Managing Director Apata Group Limited

APATA KATIKATI (TURNTABLE SITE) 9 TURNTABLE HILL ROAD, RD4, KATIKATI PHONE 07 552 0911

APATA TE PUKE (BIRLEYS SITE) 15 MENDS LANE, RD6, TE PUKE PHONE 07 533 6212

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Page 26

CONTRACTORS

Cropmaster launched Bill’s contracting career The David Brown Cropmaster tractor wasn’t in working order, but that didn't stop 13-year-old Bill Webb from doing a deal with its owner. He agreed to build a trailer as payment for the old tractor, which had to be towed to the workshop on his parent’s Oropi farm – and so began the first steps towards owning and operating a major Bay of Plenty contracting company. Bill’s mum Patricia and dad Eric Wilkinson-Webb didn’t think it was strange their teenage son should take on two rather demanding projects – building a trailer and restoring a tractor. After all, Patricia had been an aircraft mechanic during the war and Eric had a long history of inventing. “He built one of the first ever pop-top caravans to tow through the Nullarbor Plains in Australia; and if he wanted something, he invariably built, rather than bought it,” recalls Bill. Bill got the David Brown going, restored an old International B45 PTO-driven bailer and began making hay on his parent’s 50 acre block.

Contracting

“Most contractors weren’t interested in making hay on small blocks, so it wasn’t long before neighbours began asking me to make their hay too.” Bill reckons the David Brown Cropmaster was ahead of its time, as it had an independent power take off which meant the tractor didn’t have to be moving to drive equipment such as a bailer. “You could get the bailer up to speed before you drove forward and began making hay, which was a huge advantage.” Bill attended Tauranga Boys’ College, where he excelled at engineering. “All I really wanted to do was drive tractors

Gumboot isn’t Bill’s first tractor, but it’s virtually identical to the David Brown Cropmaster he bought as a 13-year-old (see below). Today, he drives a 300 hp John Deere.

and I couldn’t wait to leave school. Until I did, all my summer holidays were planned around haymaking on contract. I did it all myself, first cutting the hay then using a converted horse-drawn rake to rake and windrow it, and then baling it. I would only cut as much grass as I could handle at one time.” He was paid less than $1 a bale – but $1 went quite a long way back then. Bill had earlier added to his savings by mowing lawns, collecting eggs and shoveling manure at a poultry farm. He left school at 16 and helped out on a dairy farm, filling in for a worker who had fractured his leg, but contracting and driving tractors was what he wanted to do. Bill bought and repaired more tractors and machinery as his work load grew. By 19851986, he employed another driver and took on more work including hedge cutting, silage making and tree felling to ensure there was enough work to cover costs.

Go for broke

“Much of the equipment and machinery was old, and repairs and maintenance were costing time and money. There was a risk of me getting a reputation for being unreliable;

so in 1992 I bit the bullet and decided to go for broke, trading in five tractors and buying four new ones and a new round bailer. Even at interest rates of 20 to 21 per cent the efficiencies I gained were worth it.” His contracting business grew as many farmers saw the efficiencies to be gained from using contractors, rather than having capital tied up in expensive machinery which didn’t get a lot of use. Bill was among the first contractors to promote and carry out pasture renovation and cropping with maize, providing the equipment and expertise to do the work. Bill moved the depot to accommodate other machinery and equipment to Maleme St in Tauranga in 1986.

Land use

However, land use was changing around Oropi and Tauranga. Larger farms had been subdivided into lifestyle blocks and these were in turn subdivided for housing. “The bigger dairy farms were now all out Te Puke way, so we started looking for a depot there.” In 1987 a contracting business and yard at Paengaroa was bought and Bill Webb Contracting operated from two sites for a while. In the mid-1990s he bought what was a market garden and glasshouse property on the corner of Wilson Rd North at Paengaroa.

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CONTRACTORS

Page 27

Membership benefits farmers and contractors Employing members of Rural Contractors of New Zealand gives farmers confidence that they are dealing with credible operators, says the association’s president Steve Levet. “Members of the association are professionals and not fly-by-nighters. For farmers, employing responsible operators is important – not only because they know the job will get done properly, but that it will also be done safely. Ultimately, when it comes to health and safety, if an accident happens on farm, the farm owner can also be held responsible,” says Steve. For contractors, belonging to the association brings a number of benefits, including networking with others in the industry, training and registration and savings in fuel and insurance costs. Steve, who was elected president six months ago and operators his own family contracting business from Wellsford, initially joined because of the networking opportunities the association offered. “Rural contracting is by nature competitive; and you don’t exactly want to discuss your

Steve Levet is president of Rural Contractors of New Zealand. charges or issues with your opposition, but it’s important to know you are on the right track with what you charge and other aspects of your business. Being able to meet and talk to other contractors from around the country makes that a lot easier. “We all face the same issues; and over the years, through the association, I have made some great friends.” Rural Contractors New Zealand supports and promotes training and education in the industry. The main focus is on training, which is administered by InfraTrain New Zealand, the industry training organisation. “The association gives rural contractors

a voice when it comes to legislation which affects our members. We also work closely with Federated Farmers and in recent years have been successful in getting changes made to legislation, including rule changes to the use of agricultural vehicles on roads, and working hours for contractors.” The association holds an annual conference, which Steve says is an excellent opportunity to hear from top speakers about issues affecting the industry and to network with others from throughout the country. Steve, whose family were among the 'Albertlanders' to first settle Wellsford in 1862, is a registered rural contractor. “That means I have paid my taxes, have a first aid certificate and health and safety policies in place including first aid kits in all vehicles; and I operate under a terms of trade agreement for each contract I carry out.” Most rural contractors have a farming background and many businesses, like farms, are family-owned. “Rural contractors know their industry and farming well and understand what farmers needs are. In fact, many of us are also farmers,” says Steve. To find out more, or locate a member of Rural Contractors New Zealand, go to: www.ruralcontractors.org.nz

Happy to be back in the tractor driving seat once more “We used the halfround barn, which had been the produce shop, as an office at first; but in 2005 built a new office block and covered depot.” Having his valuable tractors and machinery under cover made a huge difference to their performance and maintenance, Bill says. In 2010 Bill Webb Contracting

changed its name to Bill Webb Feed Solutions and the business began concentrating on growing and supplying the best quality maize silage, grass silage, rye clover hay, pea-vine hay, lucerne, barley straw, threshed rye grass and wheat straw in either round or square bales. “Now I’ve come almost full circle. I hardly ever drove trac-

tors when we were contracting and spent most of my time at a desk. Now I’m back driving a tractor again, only this time it’s a 300 hp John Deere, not a 30 hp David Brown.” However, stabled next to the huge hi-tech John Deere, with its enclosed, air-conditioned cab, is a David Brown Cropmaster tractor called Gumboots.

“I bought Gumboots from a vintage tractor enthusiast and it’s virtually identical to my first tractor, which I sold more than 40 years ago to a farmer at Pahoia. # If you still have your first tractor, or photos of it, we’d love to hear from you. Send your photos, along with a story of the machine and what it meant to you, to: elaine@thesun. co.nz with the subject line: First Tractor. Or post to: First Tractor, Coast & Country, PO Box 240, Tauranga 3110.

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a: Main North Road, Otorohanga p: 0800 876 844 or 07 873 8775 e: tcpaws@xtra.co.nz w:www.thomsonconcrete.co.nz

Contouring Dairy conversion Forestry Environmental control work


COAST & COUNTRY

Page 28

Sheep shorn in 18 seconds If you think shearing a sheep in 20 seconds is fast – David Fagan can do it in 18. The Te Kuiti shearing icon took out the top place at the 14th annual Farmlands Te Puna Speed Shear on January 18 by successfully shearing a crutched and bellied lamb in the night-time event’s best time of 18.7 seconds. It became the 52-year-old’s second victory of the weekend, following a win in the Tauranga A and P Show’s Open Final earlier the same day. The A&P victory is his 624th openclass win in 32 years in the shearing game. He blazed through 15 lambs

in 11minutes and 31.2seconds. It was almost one minute quicker than defending champion and contemporary Digger Balme, who was second to finish, while Welsh champion Gareth Daniel came in third. Co-organiser John Dalziel says David beat out a record number of competitors from New Zealand, and a few from the Welsh Shearing Team. As far as speed shearing goes, John says David’s time is “really good”. He says organisers are all rapt with how the event went and estimates hundreds of spectators came along. “They were coming and going all the time, but I reckon we peeked at about 300.” The action began from 5pm, with shear-

ers competing on an improvised stage – the deck of a curtain-side truck, outside the Top Shot Bar at Te Puna, where a marquee was set up for the audience. About 70 to 80 sheep were on hand to be shorn in speed races against the clock and other competitors. David, who received $2000 for his win, flew to the United States the next day, to take part in a short stint of promotion work for Elder’s Primary Wool’s Just Shorn brand in Phoenix, Arizona. By Corrie Taylor

Check out www.facebook.com/tepunahuntfishclub

Open results:

1st David Fagan 2nd Digger Balme 3rd Gareth Daniel

18.84 19.78 22.32

4th Adam Brausch 5th Matene Mason 6th Richard Jones 7th Russell Brown 8th Paerata Abraham 9th Harvey Marshall

Senior results:

1st Mel Tuhakaraine 2nd Keanu Sutton 3rd Casey Bailey 4th Haua Tuhakaraine 5th David Gordon 6th Tui Pene 7th Craig Morton 8th Gary Sobye

22.82 23.78 24.26 28.36 20.54 22.42 25.74 26.66 26.86 27.80 31.98 27.24 27.38 33.66

Vets

1st Andrew MacDonald 35.42 2nd Edwin Perry 39.96 3rd Jim McDonald 42.44

Photos by S Design & Film, facebook.com/sdesignfilm

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This new full-time, 23 week programme is designed to help you get started in the dairy industry. Go Dairying is a positive step towards your career in dairy farming; you will gain a comprehensive skill set in milk harvesting which combined with the right attitude, will see you ‘make your mark’ as a highly sought after employee – plus there are many opportunities within the dairy industry. *Course fee applies.

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RURAL DRIVER

Page 29

Raglan farmer on track for top Raglan dairy farmer Jason Dickey proved he is a serious contender for the upcoming Motorcycle New Zealand Cross Country Championships after claiming the Raglan Rocx cross-country endurance race.

Raglan’s Jason Dickey (Kawasaki KX250F), has shown he’s on the pace and ready for the nationals after beating his rival Adrian Smith at the Raglan Rocx. Photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

Text pests warning

Beef +Lamb NZ and AgResearch have a new free service called PestWebNZ which sends message alerts about weeds and pests that affect pastures and feed crops in farming and horticultural area, along with suggestions for management. Growers and farmers are also able to ask questions by text – and have them answered by experts. The alerts are region-specific, and are designed to help deal with weeds and pests sooner, more easily and at less cost. Sign up at: www.beeflambnz.com/pest-alerts/

Training for farm staff The Primary ITO offers block courses for sheep and cattle farm staff, which are mainly held at Lake Taupo Christian Camp, Waitetoko, Turangi, and are available to anyone working in the agriculture industry. Courses for the first six months of 2014 are: Level 3 Feeding and Pastures: March 11-13. $380. Delivered as one three-day block. Production Management: begins March 19-21. $790. Delivered as three blocks during 12 months. Level 4 Sheep and Beef Cattle: Two courses

His hometown victory at the annual Raglan event on January 18 sets him up well for the four-round national series, which starts in Taranaki on February 16 following a resounding dominance over arch-rival Adrian Smith. Despite problems getting off the start line, which saw Jason down to about 20th at the beginning, a focused approach from the 19-yearold saw him eventually turn around Adrian’s lead from a hole-shot start. “I knew I had to go hard to not let Adrian get away. I slowly picked off rider after rider; and by about seven kilometres into the opening lap, I was up on Adrian.”

Jason’s success, which saw him ultimately beat reigning national motocross champion Adrian by a convincing eight minutes, is all the more impressive after competing solo rather than as a tworider team as he had last season. Mokau-based Adrian, who won the Raglan event last year, also rode solo. The trouble-free race has boosted Jason’s confidence for the third round of the Bel Ray Cross country series in Huntly on February 9, then the start of the national cross country championships in Taranaki the following weekend. Jason says he’s rearing to give Adrian a serious challenge for his number

one ranking this season. The four-round national championships includes rounds in Huntly and Westland, before finishing in Marlborough in May. Along with Jason and Adrian, other Waikato and Bay of Plenty riders dominated the top results at Raglan, with third place taken by the two-man team of Rotorua’s Scott Birch and Hamilton’s Andrew Charleston, while another twoman combination of Tuakau pair Boyd Carlson and Michael Williamson came fourth. The junior race was won by Te Kuiti’s Sean Kelly, followed by Cambridge’s Taylor Grey and Taupiri’s Andrew Barr.

(Waitetoko and Taihape). $750. Delivered as three blocks during 12 months. Level 3 Animal Health and Husbandry: May 19-21. $380. Delivered as one three-day block. Level 5 Diploma Module – Taxation: June 4-6. $700. Delivered as one three-day block. For more information, visit: www.primaryito.ac.nz or call 0800 20 80 20.

Wanderers warning

A Lincoln woman died instantly after the car she was a passenger in struck a horse roaming loose on a 100 km stretch of road in December. Senior Constable Andy Grant, of the Darfield police, says the car’s front, windscreen and roof were badly damaged in the “tragic accident” which took the life of Diana Clair Morton, 56. Her husband, and driver of the vehicle, James Morton had only minor bruising and 2 2 was treated at the scene. 5 95 DN{LY D{L9 Y Owners of wandering stock could be prosecuted if Z N O {Z O9 9 { stock cause a crash and negligence could be proven. M OMM OM +ORC +ORC R R F Their responsibilities lay under three pieces of legisla- F $ $ tion - the Crimes Act 1961, the Animal Law Reform Act 1989 and the Impounding Act 1955.

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Terms & Terms conditions: M-Deals offers valid for sales between 1between January1 2014 – 31 2014 March– 2014. 1 Recommended Selling Price for Mazda2 & conditions: M-Deals offers valid concluded for sales concluded January 31 March 2014. 1 Recommended Selling Price for Mazda2 Classic with a manual includes GST but excludes road costs (ORC). 2 Recommended Retail Price for aPrice Mazda GLX,CX-5 includes Classic with atransmission, manual transmission, includes GST but on excludes on road costs (ORC). 2 Recommended Retail for CX-5 a Mazda GLX, includes GST but excludes road costs (ORC). 3 Recommended Retail Price for Price a Mazda6 Wagon includes but excludes road costs GST but on excludes on road costs (ORC). 3 Recommended Retail for aGLX Mazda6 GLXPetrol, Wagon Petrol, GST includes GST but on excludes on road costs (ORC). 4 Recommended Selling Price for a Mazda FWD,CX-9 includes but excludes road costs (ORC). 5 mazdacare ScheduledScheduled Servicing Servicing (ORC). 4 Recommended Selling Price for CX-9 a Mazda FWD, GST includes GST but on excludes on road costs (ORC). 5 mazdacare applies forapplies passenger vehicles only and only is valid years (whichever(whichever occurs first) fromfirst) the from date of Includes aIncludes a for passenger vehicles andforis 3valid foror3 100,000km years or 100,000km occurs thefirst dateregistration. of first registration. 3 year Mazda Factory Warranty Mazdaand OnMazda Call Roadside cover. Excludes other offers andoffers not available fleet purchases. 3 year Mazda Factory and Warranty On Call Assistance Roadside Assistance cover.all Excludes all other and notfor available for fleet purchases.

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Page 30

RURAL DRIVER

The ‘little big car’ with pep Subaru XV Looking for a mid-size car, at home in town or country? With a bit of funk? Something that has more space than the standard four-door, a bit more zizz than the usual family shopping cart? More importantly, do you want stunning handling that has been likened to the legendary WRX? This is one hot little number from Subaru that could be the answer to all your questions. The WRX’s little sibling, the new XV handles as well as it looks. Okay, so it hasn’t got the grunt of big brother but man, it’s nimble! It’s based on the platform and much of the mechanics of the Impreza, but with a stretched wheelbase, higher ride height and an underbelly on steroids.

The result is a striking and stylish SUV with a look and attitude of its own, and performance to match. The XV is loaded with features, gizmos and all the stuff that technology offers. But all that becomes secondary when you get out on the road and experience the drive. We were impressed with all of the dooflickies when first seated in the XV, but virtually forgot all about those excellent features once actually driving.

Dream to pilot

This amazing little hatchback, that Subaru dubs “the big small car” is a dream to pilot. It has the pep of the iconic 2 litre boxer quad cam chain drive (no cambelt) engine, plus through a six speed Automatic SLT gear box with the option of paddle shift, for economy and performance.

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116 Hewletts Road Mount Maunganui, Tauranga City Tel: 07 578 6017 www.farmerautovillage.co.nz Follow us on Facebook


RURAL DRIVER

SPECS

Handling performance for town or country The all-wheel-drive is the key to its stunning handling, by putting the power through to all wheels, means that all of the Subaru XV models simply grip and go. It feels perfectly balanced when the power is on and unlike a lot of two wheel drives, there’s absolutely no tendency to pull from side to side. Some of the smaller front wheel drives are positively dangerous, with a heap of power to just the front wheels. Not so the XV. It is so reassuringly stable it’s hard to believe this is a two litre hatch. Subaru really pioneered the ‘crossover’ concept and have plenty of pedigree in this market, having symmetrical all-wheel-drive is standard in all of their vehicles since 1997. It’s the sort of joy of performance that immediately makes you want to forget about writing a review and just head for the hills. The Coromandel, the Kaimais. Even some east coast gravel. A beach or two. This little beastie just tugs at the heart strings, saying “drive me, now.” And the snow. If ever there was a zippy little mountain machine, it is the all-wheeldrive XV. There are snowboarders in our family who would sell their father to get their mitts on the wheel of one of these.

The other stuff

Okay, eventually I have to stop raving about the handling, to tell you about the other stuff. Because it has heaps of other stuff. Firstly, the size is really interesting. It’s a

little higher than a standard hatch, so you get a bit more space inside, plus a bit better road view than the standard height car. Its ground clearance is 220mm, compared with the Impreza’s 145mm. Yet it’s low enough overall to easily reach to load the full length roof rails with boards or kayaks; without the driver having to be from Avatar to reach the roof. The back seat leg room is truly impressive. You could put a leggy alien comfortably back there. With seats folded down, the cargo area is good for the overall size of the wagon. Then there’s the features. The three models share the same drive train and running gear. The other prices reflect the level of gizmos and cosmetics, with about $4000 worth of difference between models. The review car was the top-of-the-line ‘sport’ version, for $48,990 plus on-road costs. It has all the fruit, including some things us middle aged codgers hadn’t heard of. Yeah, yeah, we know about Bluetooth. However, we’d never before heard of a car that will read your texts out loud while you drive. Another feature, a bit startling at first, is its clever fuel-saving attributes which help it achieve around 7 litres/100km – turning off the engine while stopped on the foot brake at traffic lights. Once it detects a change of pressure on the brake, it instantly and indiscernibly starts up again, ready to rock off the line. The XV-S has the works. Leather, sunroof, tinted glass, GPS, dual climate air, heated

seats… and the list goes on and on. There’s the L model, which has some of those, priced at $44,990. Then the base model for $40,990 and a manual six speed at $38,990 (all excluding on road costs). Our test car’s controls and displays were a delight. The moderate-size dash screen doubles as a GPS map and a backing camera, and there’s another screen display above it, set further back, with every conceivable piece of information you could possibly need. And some. This is certainly a car for the technology fiends out there who love to connect, interact, communicate and drive like a trendsetter. Certainly, it is well pitched to the upwardly mobile young market; yet held plenty of appeal to us ‘more seasoned’ drivers. Happily, it’s also a car to celebrate that almost forgotten pleasure – the joy of exceptional handling! The suspension is firm and perky, noticeably tuned to cope with the slightly higher centre of gravity. You know, the buzz we used to get from tight cornering, balanced and smooth power delivery and those other tactile sensory experiences – before the invention of Playstation. Right, there’s a lot more to this little big car that I just don’t have time to explain right now. Talk to Darrel at Farmer Autovillage to find out more for yourself. I’m running out the door for another drive, before I have to give it back.

Engine: 2.0i Horizonta lly-opposed Boxer 4-cylinder petrol engine . Power and Torque: Maxim um power output (DIN) kW/rpm 110kW@ 6200rpm. Maximum torque (DIN) Nm/rpm 196Nm@4200rpm. Transmission: 6 speed SLT manual transmission, with paddle shift. Fuel Economy: 7.0L/ 10 0km Safety: 5 Star ANCAP safety rating, 7x Airbag s, ABS, EBD and Brake Ass ist, Rear View Reverse Camera. Price: 2.0i 6 spd manual $38990. 2.0i 6 spd SLT $40990. 2.0i-L 6 spd SLT with paddle shift $44990. 2.0i-S 6 spd SLT with paddle shift (top spec model) $48990.

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WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY

Page 32

Kiwifruit industry looks to the future and invests in growth There are three key matters for kiwifruit growers to consider this year: controlling Psa-V to make a living; finding reliable and skilled labour and planning for the future of the industry. The first matter means kiwifruit growers will have to manage the bacterial disease Psa to the best of their ability to make a living and survive. A

conservative estimate indicates managing Psa on kiwifruit orchards each year costs, collectively, about $50 million. This is a big additional expense when most other orchard costs have also increased. As an industry, we now understand Psa better, have access to more effective tools to manage it and with mild weather and increased orchard work, producing a successful crop is achievable. However, as we learn to better

        

manage Psa and keep it under control, another problem has presented itself: finding reliable and skilled labour. Due to Psa, many orchards during the last couple of years didn’t produce a crop, or produced a reduced crop. Therefore, the need for workers reduced. To find alternative income, these workers have found other jobs, often outside of the Bay of Plenty region, and even outside of New Zealand. As the industry recovers from Psa, the need for reliable and skilled workers is increasing; and in future years may become a constraint on the kiwifruit industry’s ability to continue to grow, unless as an industry we do something about it this year.

Good news

The good news for rural New Zealand is along with the kiwifruit industry recovery, the New Zealand economy is also recovering. This is reflected in some of the economic data released during the Christmas break. GDP growth in the September quarter increased 1.4 per cent—mostly due to high dairy prices, and, to a degree, the re-build in Christchurch. In NZ dollar terms, commodity prices are up 22.6 per cent on a year ago. In the Bay of Plenty, 7000 jobs were advertised, which is a 13 per cent increase on the previous year. In addition to this, we’re experiencing excellent farming and orcharding conditions, which will help keep Psa under control and provide a big boost to rural incomes. The one down side is the improving economy is taking away potential workers from the kiwifruit industry. So what are we as an industry doing about attracting new workers? Several initiatives are currently underway. These include: • Improved career progression information aimed at school leavers. • Pilot projects with Work and Income NZ

Happy holiday reader

Wow. What a wonderful surprise to have won Coast & Country book prize ‘It’s not about the Pigs’ (Coast & Country December 2013). Thank you so much. My Christmas was made so much sweeter knowing after New Year, when all the family and visitors had departed, I would get to sit down and enjoy a good read. Once again, many thanks and your paper is such good reading. All the best for 2014. June Stevens, Whakatane.

High-flying PR?

I am always interested in what people write about falcons/karearea (page 4-5 January Coast & Country). How are the figures quoted substantiated? for example, how do

to give people the skills required to work in the kiwifruit industry. • Upgrading training initiatives. • Developing career opportunities. • Creating new succession pathways. • Mentoring future industry leaders are other key projects. Finally, securing the kiwifruit industry’s success for at least the next decade is the main project that the whole industry is currently involved in. The kiwifruit industry’s success has always been market-driven. By offering the consumer fruit that will encourage repeat purchases, and developing long-term on-going relationships with retailers and distributors in our key off-shore markets, the industry has generated premium returns.

Response

However, there are many changes happening in our off-shore markets; and as an industry we need to respond to these changes. We also need to review how we are structured back here in New Zealand, so we can continue to deliver the best possible result in our markets. The kiwifruit industry has therefore started a comprehensive industry review to establish what needs to change (if anything), to continue the industry’s successful overseas sales in our premium markets. One year ago, a forward-looking and proactive project designed to ensure the kiwifruit industry’s future prosperity, and the prosperity of the rural communities where kiwifruit is grown, could not have even been contemplated due to Psa. The recovery from Psa, although not complete in any way shape or form, has been sufficiently positive for the industry to now look to the future and invest in growth. As a result, every kiwifruit-growing region will benefit from the results of this project and the return to kiwifruit prosperity.

they count wild birds? I have spoken to DOC and others and find their estimates quite hard to believe. We have a lot of falcons around here, always have, more so in autumn when they chase pigeons. We believe the numbers have built up during the years (70 years on this property). Last year, I captured one in my hands as it followed a pigeon into our car shed – our pigeons know to hide in our buildings – and the falcon was trying to get out against a closed window. He was puffing so I quickly put my hands over his wings and let him go through the open door. What a privilege. Certainly, we must look after and

protect them – it’s wonderful to have them in wild situations – but the PR that goes on is pretty obvious. Lee Newman, Gisborne.

Flying response

We at Wingspan are absolutely delighted with the article in the January Coast & Country. It has been very well received by staff members and visitors alike. We have already received some additional visitors as a direct result of the article and no doubt there are more to come. It was great to see that so many facts were also given. Andrew Thomas, Wingspan, Rotorua.


WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY

Page 33

Women throwing gumboots at Te Puke Show The Te Puke A&P Show is a great family fun day with lots to see and do including a miniature horse and dog show, and the ladies’ gumboot throwing competition is back, says show secretary Kim Cawte. “There’s a $1000 prize for people who enter a special competition. Bar facilities are on-site and attractions include chainsaws, tractors, ride on mowers, trucks and vintage machinery, shearing, competitive horse classes, harness and miniature horses, beef, Dexter and dairy cattle, sheep classes, highland dancing, a pet corner, alpacas, donkey rides, Miss and Master competitions and much more.” The 108th show will be held on Saturday, February 8, from 9am and will feature trade sites covering many different categories, plus numerous food sites and a catering facility offering hot chips, hotdogs, burgers, candy floss, seafood, donuts, sandwiches, pies, sausage sizzles. Along with bar facilities, there will be a wide variety of assorted refreshments and coffee wagons.

Another popular attraction is the home industries section including arts, crafts, baking, vegetables, sewing, knitting, needlework, crochet, patchwork, teddy bears, recycled art and amateur photography, as well as the Hargreaves Charitable Trust Children’s Competition with so many categories to choose from. “There will be front seat viewing of shearing, competitive horse classes, harness and miniature horses, beef, Dexter and dairy cattle, sheep classes, highland dancing, a pet corner with birds, rabbits, kittens, puppies available to purchase, alpacas, donkey rides, and much more,” says Kim. The Little Entertainment Company will be at the show providing rides for the little

ones as well as a range of entertainment for the family. Also, the Te Puke Fire Brigade will once again be putting on a massive demonstration for public awareness for all to see. Eftpos will be available this year at the Solid Food for Soils

DoloZest CalciZest 0800 843 809 07 362 7288

or go to

A miniature dog and horse show will be www.esi.org.nz Eco-Logic Improvement among the highlights at the Te Soil Puke A&P Show on February 8.

New policy sown to enrich community gardens Western Bay of Plenty District Council has a new community gardens policy aiming to formalise agreements with voluntary groups wanting to grow produce on councilowned or administered land. The council’s new Community Gardens Policy provides options for people lacking private open space to have vegetable gardens or fruit and nut trees by assisting communities to become more sustainable via growing produce in public spaces. Individuals or people wanting to initiate community gardens or grow fruit and nut trees on public land in the Western Bay now need to use the policy to work with council to achieve their goals, with each proposal addressed on its merits. WBOPDC reserves and facilities manager Peter Watson says the policy, which sees council act as an enabler and supporter of initiatives, rather than provider or funder, was triggered by work on a community development plan at Maketu and council liaising with Kati KaiWay – an edible fruit walkway created in Katikati’s Gilfillan Reserve. “What it [the policy] does is create the opportunity for people to grow produce on public land – and the spin-off is the socialisation people receive from getting together for these projects.” Other opportunities include teaching and learning about gardening, waste management approaches, planting of fruit and nut trees and developing local pride in public open spaces. “They get engaged in their community from this process – gardening gives stress relief, getting active and socialising – and in some cases, projects arise as a need from the recession hitting.” Peter says community development plans being formed during the years pointed to a policy void when it came to community garden creation on public land. “It seems to be a trend happening, for people to create community gardens, and council has responded by putting a policy in place, which the Bay of Plenty District Health Board is supportive of. “It’s an opportunity for people to get involved for themselves, by growing produces; and others to be part of it, from the produce surpluses.” Peter says while the policy aims to formalise community garden arrangements on public land, it can also help groups utilising private land. “When someone is privately using land it can cover how produce is split among people and what happens if a group disappears.” Three separate groups in Te Puke, Maketu and

Paengaroa are now looking to create community gardens via the WBOPDC policy. “Myself and Ben Wilson [Western Bay’s community development officer] have gone over the plan with them [at Te Puke]; they’re looking at their options. We’ve suggested parcels of vacant public land, which could be utilised, and they’re getting themselves a bit more organised,” says Peter, who says it’s usually one to three people initially interested in a community garden project “who sow the seed”. Peter says the policy helps protect the land occupiers’ investment and time in their project and protects council from encroachment on public land and outcomes of activities stalling.

However, Peter points out council already has fruit trees on offer on public land in the Western Bay, with an old orchard in Te Puna, the council purchased, offering avocadoes and citrus, while lemon trees offer fruit near Katikati's Moore Park. “I think these projects also strengthen communities by seeing people getting together at that level – and I think people like to be a part of that.” A trend to “grow your own” worldwide is evident, with similarities to the traditional UK plot (allotment gardening) system, says Peter. “I am an avid gardener myself and I grow vegetables through the year and enjoy teaching my kids that corn doesn’t come from the supermarket. “Its great stress relief, you get a lot of satisfaction out of it – and the produce tastes better.” To learn more about the Community Gardens Policy, visit: www.westernbay.govt.nz By Merle Foster

entry gates, with Aegis Security. Entry costs: Adults $10, children (under 13 years) $2, and under 5s enter free. For schedules and entry forms, or to view more information, go to: www.ras.org.nz or call Kim on 021 133 0709.


Page 34

RETIREMENT

Retirement village part of wider rural community An upgrade of Simmons Hall at Aparangi Village is now complete, providing a smart new facility for the village and the wider Te Kauwhata community. Jackie Long, of the Te Kauwhata Retirement Trust Board, says floor coverings, doorways, toilets and the kitchen have all been upgraded. “This would not have been possible without the support of many people, including the Aparangi House of Treasures, the Aparangi Residents Village Association, Wel Energy and local agencies.”

In May 2014, the village will hold a bike event with village residents, board members, staff and the local community being sponsored to ride a circuit at the village. “This will be a fun event with the aim to raise funds to enable us to further expand the services we offer to residents and the community,” says Jackie. Aparangi Village in the rural township of Te Kauwhata, North Waikato, is 80 kilometres south of Auckland and 48 kilometres north of Hamilton. “It is a unique lifestyle village that offers many options in your retirement; and there are still sections available

in the village, where people have the opportunity to build their own home and enjoy the relaxed lifestyle here,” says Jackie. Located on a picturesque 14.5 hectare location, Aparangi provides residents with an outstanding opportunity for a healthy, active lifestyle and provides a wide range of accommodation and residential care options with something to suit everyone, says Jackie. As a registered charitable trust, under the auspices of the Te Kauwhata Retirement Trust Board, it has been an asset to the community since its inception in 1972. The Te Kauwhata Bowling Club is sited adjacent to the village; and both a fitness centre and swimming pool are only short distances away, as well as the renowned Waikere Golf Club. As a resident becomes more dependent, it is possible for them to move into the residential care unit, which is the heart of Aparangi, says Jackie. “It is a group of 45 rooms with a choice of style and comfort.” Residents, on the whole, stay ‘in their own home’, as they may progress through the care stages of rest home, and hospital levels of care.

Sections are available at Aparangi Village.

Maize machine stumps readers It’s not often Coast & Country readers are stumped by images of mystery items from the Katikati Heritage Museum – but no one was able to correctly identify the machine which appeared in last month’s issue. It was a handoperated machine for removing grain from maize cobs – two at a time. This month’s device, though on a much smaller scale, is also hand-operated and is more likely to be found in a kitchen. If you know what it is, and perhaps have a story to share about it, you could be in to win admission for two to the Katikati Heritage Museum. Send your entry to: elaine@thesun.co.nz or post to: Mystery Item, Coast & Country, PO Box 240,

Tauranga 3110, to arrive no later than February 17. The winner will be announced in Coast & Country’s March issue. The museum, just south of Katikati, is open seven days a week 9.30am-4pm. To find out more, visit: www. katikatiheritagemuseum. co.nz or phone 07 549 0651.


COUNTRY LIVING Mark Purchase, event organiser Les Creswell, and Brett Williams. Photo by

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Owners of tractors, trucks, 4WD utes – anything with wheels and a motor – are encouraged to be a part of Mount Maunganui Rotary Club’s first-ever auto show.

Proud vehicle owners have the chance to “show of their wheels” at Mount Maunganui College grounds on February 23 for the inaugural Show off Your Wheels auto show. Show organiser Les Cresswell says entries are not restricted to cars, instead being open to motorcycles, tractors, commercial vehicles and special purpose

vehicles. In fact “anything with wheels and a motor” can be catered for, says Les. He reckons the show offers an opportunity for individuals who are not car club members, but have a “special and loved” car, to show it off in public. “Auto clubs of all descriptions are invited whether the cars are vintage, specific makes,

or modified.” With about 350 cars expected to attend the charity event, Les is confident the day will raise a lot of money for Rotary charities across the Bay of Plenty. The Show Off your Wheels auto show is at Mount Maunganui College on Sunday, February 23, from 10am to 4.30pm.

Community law service expands Baywide Community Law Service, which has been offering free legal advice in the Bay since July 2005, now has fully staffed offices in Tauranga and Whakatane, with outreach clinics in Katikati, Te Puke, Opotiki, Waihi, Kawerau, Omaio, Matata and Waimana. Administered by the Baywide Community Law Charitable Trust (with local bay trustees), it is one of 26 community law centres located

throughout New Zealand. Baywide’s primary focus is to address the unmet legal needs of the community and to provide free access to legal information, advice, assistance and education for residents throughout the Bay of Plenty who, due to their personal or financial circumstances (including disability), cannot otherwise access such services. Baywide also offers a free drop-in clinic in Tauranga on Wednesday evenings (5pm to 6.30pm) and a Friday clinic by appointment (12pm to 2pm). The service is free but as Baywide is a

registered charity it welcomes donations and receipts are provided. Donations enable Baywide to keep its doors open and provide a service to the needy; to be available to talk to interest groups; refresh its professional knowledge; participate in local community law needs and be involved in continuing legal education. By Zoe Hunter

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Managing nutrients

With sustainability becoming an increasing focus for the rural community, tools such as Overseer provide free support to help farmers better manage their farm nutrients. “Overseer helps to put the control of nutrient management back in the hands of the farmer,” says Gordon McFetridge, Bay of Plenty dairy farmer and 2013 Ballance Farm Environment Awards supreme winner for the region with parents, Dennis and Judith McFetridge. Using Overseer, farmers and advisors capture personal farm data to create nutrient budgets, calculate maintenance requirements and nutrient loss. Regional councils and dairy companies require farms have a nutrient budget in place, which is easily achieved using Overseer. Overseer – available free at www.overseer.org.nz – is jointly owned by the Ministry for Primary Industries, the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand and AgResearch.

Employment Law Services

Listening in the workplace – it’s important Far too frequently, problems occur in the workplace as a result of a lack of listening. This lack of listening may involve an employee not listening to an employer, an employer not listening to an employee, or an employee not listening to one of their colleagues. It is frustrating to experience the complex problems that result from a lack of listening. So much time, money and stress could be saved if people took the time to increase their self-awareness on this issue, and then to make any required changes. Good listening takes practice, but is deceptively simple. Some techniques to assist your listening skills include: demonstrating you

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is speaking and do not finish their sentences for them. Effective listening makes our work lives more productive and pleasant. Start 2014 by checking your self-awareness on this issue. Remember practice makes perfect. If you have any employment or HR queries you would like assistance with, please email Wendy directly at: wendy@ accordservices.co.nz

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are paying attention, by saying little and keeping eye contact; keeping focused on what is being said rather than concentrating on what you intend to say next; do not second guess what the person is saying in your mind, intently listen to each of their spoken words. Once the person has finished speaking, ask if there is more they wish to say. Once the person speaking has had the opportunity to completely finish what they wish to say, summarise what they have told you back to them, without emotion or judgement. Avoid interrupting while someone

Guy is promoting the concept of kitchen “facelifts” as an alternative for residents who find the cost and disruption of a new kitchen daunting. “Facelifts provide an affordable option for households while allowing changes to be made. You end up with what is essentially a brand new kitchen, but at an affordable cost. “We are quicker, cleaner; take less time and use quality cabinets and fittings. “So you get the basic same result as with a new kitchen, except there is less interruption to domestic life, less mess, and less waste. “We basically keep the bones of the kitchen, working with that to achieve a new kitchen which can fit any budget. Visit the comprehensive website to see the vast range of door and draw designs and colours available. They can also provide quality bench tops, splash backs, appliances and hardware. Dream Doors can provide innovative kitchen

design and storage solutions for renovations or replacements if desired. “Kitchen design options can be confusing, but our staff have the experience and skills to help you make the right decisions to obtain your truly bespoke kitchen.”

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COUNTRY LIVING

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Backing the rural-loving backpacker A Te Puke country backpackers is experiencing huge growth ahead of a busy kiwifruit season thanks to the emergence of new type of traveller filling its typically high-vacancy months. Kiwi Corral Country Backpackers, on Te Puke’s Young Rd next to the Kiwi360 tourism attraction, has seen its stays increase by more than 400 per cent during the last two months compared to November and December in 2012. Bernie Cotter, who has taken over ownership of the 350-bed facility, says he’s “absolutely surprised” at the huge jump in figures but can pinpoint where they’ve come from. Along with manager Wes Archer, Bernie has been working to re-brand the accommodation facility as a country hostel and backpackers to capture a breed of backpacker wanting a rural experience in New Zealand. “Kiwi Corral was originally built for the kiwifruit industry for the RSE [recognised seasonal employer] workers; and obviously we got hurt from the detection of Psa-V in this region, like all kiwifruit people did; so I got the idea of diversifying into backpacker and hostel accommodation,” says Bernie. “And that’s what we’re doing, as well as having RSE kiwifruit workers during the season.” Bernie says Kiwi Corral is now getting loads of European and South American backpackers – along with others from around the globe – who come to stay

in cabins, dorms, tents and no-facility vans no matter what month it is. “They come to work and play; a lot of the local

Left: Kiwi Corral owner Bernie Cotter and manager Wes Archer, helping German tourists Ludwig and Sissi.

Below: Kiwi Corral has six new cabins ahead of busy kiwifruit season, to keep RSE workers and European backpackers flowing through. Photos by Tracy Hardy.

contractors and orchardists ring us and we find them workers from our visitors. “These people are from all over Europe and South America; Germans this year were definitely the dominate ones. Its starts with one and then we have to ask ‘where do all your mates come from?’” Bernie, who owned the iconic Elizabeth Gardens at Pilot Bay for 30 years, says the backpacker industry is big business. “It’s one of the fastest growing businesses worldwide. “I think what they like in Te Puke is the quietness – they’re also right in the middle of the region, so they can go to the Mount, Rotorua, do the white-water By Merle Foster rafting and all sorts.”

Generously sized sections for dream homes New sections are now available for purchase at the prestigious Palm Springs subdivision in Papamoa. “After the great response we are having from the first release of sections in December 2013, Hawridge Developments has just released the next stage of Palm Springs subdivision. This next stage offers 33 sections for quality homes,” says sales and marketing representative Annemaree Crawford, who is excited about market demand. “Judging by the amount of interest we’ve had from the first release, we are expecting these sections will be sought after.” Palm Springs is being developed by Hawridge Developments, the developer behind Royal Palm Beach Estate and the existing first half of Palm Springs. Hawridge Developments began Palm Springs 10 years ago with a vision for an environmentally-friendly, beautifully-detailed community. About 300 homes are already established in the original develop-

ment, and Stage 9 is the second new release of Palm Springs. “Palm Springs sections have proven very popular due to the generously-sized sections available, which will allow people to build their dream home and easily include features, like a swimming pool and impressive landscaping. “Also available are sections which open onto stunning waterways and reserves; this creates a beautiful outlook which adds value to the prestigious homes built in Palm Springs sub-division. This is a very special place to build your dream home,” says Annemaree. Large sections are becoming harder to come by, so these sections are very much in high demand. “A lot of time goes into making the subdivision its own, which

involves being environmentally friendly, encouraging birdlife and paying a lot of attention to the detail of landscaping and streetscape.” The quality of homes is strictly monitored to protect the investment of those who purchase into Palm Springs subdivision. Other features include cycle and walkways, barbecue sites, a conservation zone, and aspects designed to create a coastal feel. “We call it a prestigious subdivision and it will be a great environment for professionals and families alike,” says Annemaree. For information on Palm Springs sections, visit the sales office situated at the end of Palm Springs Boulevard, off Papamoa Beach Rd. Open 10am-5pm daily.

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COUNTRY LIVING

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Race to find Bay’s fastest principal Will it be the daring of the “young guns” or the canniness of those with a little more age which wins the 2014 SunLive Principals’ Challenge at Baypark on March 1? That – says Roger Bailey, who is speedway manager of Baypark Speedway – is the question for the challenge, which will pit older principals against younger ones in a race to

see which school has the Bay’s fastest principal. “The competition is keen and we are encouraging students to get behind their principals like they did last time. We have nine new entries this year, and seven women – so there will be a much stronger female presence on the track.” Nik House of Welcome Bay Primary will be on the grid to defend

his title, but he’s on the lookout for a different vehicle as the one he drove to victory is up for sale. “Damien Harris from Mount Primary, who came a close second to Nik, will be in the car he drove last year –so that may give him an edge,” says Roger. “It’s very generous of the race car drivers to make their ministock cars available to the principals because they take the race very seriously – there’s no holding back on the track.” The atmosphere at the inaugural races at the ASB Baypark on December 1, 2012, was electric and Roger says it’s sure to be just as amped up this year. “We are still taking entries; obviously we want to push it as far as we can, but we have to be careful

with how many cars we have on the night.” Each principal will require sponsorship from a local business, which involves covering base costs, such as licence registration, safety gear and their car’s sign writing. Sponsorship opportunities will open once all entries are confirmed, says Roger. “We’re also looking for other sponsors, for uniforms, T-shirts, etc. So if community businesses want to get involved from that perspective, that’s great.” Keep following The Weekend Sun and SunLive for coverage leading up to the second SunLive Principals’ Challenge in March 2014.

New TCDC plan creates winners and losers The Thames Coromandel District Council notified its new District Plan during December and it is now open to public submissions. As expected, rural subdivision steadily gets harder under the Resource Management Act. Controlled subdivision morphs into discretionary, and what was a discretionary category becomes non-complying. This has the effect of creating more uncertainty and significantly higher costs, which is a major criticism many have of the Resource Management Act. Also, the terminology is not well understood. The word ‘discretionary’ implies that council can decide whether to approve the application or not. This is true to a certain extent, but there are limits. The phrase ‘non-complying’ conjurers up connotations of being prohibited and has caused a lot of potential clients to walk away.

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True, such an application does require more work and acceptance by potentially affected parties, but it does not mean it is outlawed – just not catered for in the specific rules. Of note, in the proposed rules, is that the creation of conservation lots is now a restricted discretionary activity and moves to non-complying when the subdivision is not located in ‘priority locations’ as defined in the plan or doesn’t meet the required criteria. Council has now determined certain ecosystems to be of greater value than the rest and produced a plan of these. This has created winners and losers. The winners are generally located around Kennedy Bay and the adjoining ranges, Tuateawa and Little Bay, with small pockets around Sailors Grave and Hot Water Beach. In these areas you may only need to reserve two hectares to justify a new lot. Other areas designated on the map require from four to

14 hectares of good ecological land to be covenanted. Outside of these marked areas conservation lots will require a non-complying application. It is extremely important to make submissions to the proposed district plan, whether you agree with it or not. Complacency by many could either see proposed new rules gain traction, or alternatively those that participate could influence council or the Environment Court to change the rules. If you have any plans to subdivide, my advice is to obtain a resource consent that secures your rights while the new plan is in its early stages and has less weighting. The final rules can sometimes bear no resemblance to those existing or proposed by council. An example of that is the recent change to Waikato rules, which has just been finalised in the Environment Court – more about that next month. If you have any plans for subdivision in the future, or wish to lodge a submission, seek some advice first. Brent Trail, managing director of Surveying Services, specialises in resource consent applications for subdivisions across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. For further information, call 0800 268 632 or email: btrail@surveyingservices.co.nz

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COUNTRY LIVING

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Improving the forecast for breast health? Technological advances in infra-red imaging have revolutionised the way we see our world. During the last 40 years, infrared imaging has progressed breast health screening from black and white mammography (x-rays), to highly sensitive heat detection called thermography. Many women prefer the method because it doesn’t involve any contact with or radiation to the breasts. It’s also the earliest indicator of an unhealthy breast that could precede breast cancer. Although it is not yet accepted by most radiologists trained in mammography, modern computerised thermography is gaining ground, especially as limitations and risks associated with mammographic screening are increasingly being raised internationally.

The yellow area in this thermography image shows heat on the left, due to inflammation that was constantly present. This woman also had a lot of pain and discomfort on a daily basis.

Dr Mike Godfrey introduced infra-red thermography to New Zealand in 2002. His clinic is based in Tauranga with trained technicians travelling to different cities now having provided the service to more than 4000 women. Thermographic examinations involve sitting topless in front of the infra-red camera in an

After recommended treatments (iodine and lymphatic drainage), this second image (six months later), shows a balanced temperature range between both breasts. The patient also felt the improvements and no longer has breast pain.

air conditioned room for about 20 minutes. A female technician takes a series of images, before and after a 10-minute period of cooling. Because the breast tissue cools significantly, a ratio of temperature change is established. Areas of heat that don’t cool are thermally abnormal. The images are analysed by a trained doctor, who will provide a report with recommendations. Many people haven’t heard about thermography; or unfortunately, have been misinformed. Thermography doesn’t detect cancer, neither does mammography. Both reveal abnormalities that indicate the need for further investigation. Thermography is unique in it also provides a picture of the blood vessel pattern, which is specific to each woman – and like a mole map, can be monitored to detect

any changes. Unhealthy breasts show heat from inflammation or new blood vessel growth preceding a tumour. An abnormal thermogram allows a woman to make changes in her lifestyle and support her body to create healthy breast function. Because the breasts in two-thirds of women under 50 have enough density to obscure the existence of any breast cancer (as both cancer and background appear white on x-ray), thermography provides an effective solution for women of all ages. Thermography has FDA approval as an adjunctive investigation for breast cancer. Mammovision developed by InfraMedic in Germany is EU-certified as a class 1 medical thermography device (CE 0483), and is also registered in New Zealand. By Truly Godfrey Thermographic Technician

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Helping with muscle cramp I had someone call me about severe bodywide cramps. These were not the common night cramps in your leg. They affected her in the torso and many other parts. She was under the care of her GP for the problem. Our goal was to ensure her muscles were getting all of the important minerals, especially magnesium; and also to ensure her blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to her muscles were working as well as possible. Be aware that medications, especially cholesterol medicines, can cause muscle problems; and these need very different treatment, including intensive CoQ10 therapy. After three months she noticed the cramps had significantly reduced. She also noticed her general energy and wellbeing had improved, as had her hair and nails. These were matters we had not discussed and the benefits were completely unexpected. We often think of our bodies as separate components or systems that are somehow independent of each other. Anyone who has studied physiology learns that this inter-connectedness is central to how our bodies operate. Of course sometimes damage or disease is localised, but systemic weakness can cause local problems. As a simple example, if your immune system is gen-

erally producing too much background inflammation this may show up as seemingly unrelated problems. You may have a problem with various joints and have swollen gums. If we can lower overall inflammation, we may be able to help both problems. In the case of the person with cramps we included specific antioxidant complexes with minerals, especially magnesium along with solid Omega 3 doses. These nutrients affect every cell not just muscle fibres. We also used targeted nutrient therapy to assist with proper blood flow and to improve blood vessel function. This is especially important with people prone to cramps. The really good news is that despite her 70-plus age she is now experiencing a period of significant health improvement. Our body is very capable of healing, once we give it what it needs.

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

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FORESTRY

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Keeping out ‘hitchhikers with evil intent’ The Forest Owners Association has welcomed cabinet approval of the deed to govern how the Government and primary industries respond to biosecurity threats. “Biological industries need secure borders, effective monitoring for possible incursions and a rapid response if an exotic pest arrives here. It is essential that we all know who does what and who picks up the tab,” says Forest Owners Association biosecurity chair Dave Cormack. “The forest industry, through the FOA, has partnered with government in forest biosecurity surveillance for more than 50 years and has funded its own scheme for the last 25 of those years. We look forward to formalising this relationship in a Government Industry Agreement. “We've seen the enormous impact of Psa on the kiwifruit industry and clover root weevil on pasture; and we don't want a

similar incursion in our industry.” Dave is encouraged that other sectors are starting to see the benefits of surveying for new pests and disease before they can become established. “In the case of forestry, there is a need for better surveillance of forests, woodlots and amenity plantings that don’t take part in the FOA scheme.” It will not be compulsory for primary industries to have GIAs, but those that do will share in decision-making. They will also pick up the tab for up to 50 per cent of the costs of readiness (including surveillance and research), and the initial response to a pest incursion. The idea of a GIA comes from Australia, where government and industry share response decision-making and costs. On this side of the Tasman, the concept has been extended – with FOA encouragement – to include readiness, on the basis that early detection and preparedness have a huge bearing on whether an exotic pest can be cost-effectively controlled.

“The government has undertaken to fund at least 50 per cent of control costs, but in the case of forestry we expect government and other sectors will normally be picking up a bigger share than this. “Most exotic insect pests are likely to attack a wide range of tree species, both native and exotic. And even if a pest or disease is specific to radiata, the social and environmental benefits of radiata plantings are significant. They are widely-used for recreation, shelterbelts, sand dune stabilisation, water catchment protection, erosion control, carbon sequestration and so on.” The main reason why the taxpayer will pay for 50 per cent or more of biosecurity costs is because most pest incursions are not the result of an action or failure by the industry put at risk. “For example, an exotic insect threat to forests would be likely to be brought in by a tourist or by an importer, who would have no idea they’d played host to a hitchhiker with evil intent,” says Dave.

Gisborne forestry field day A strong interest and love of trees, and the aesthetics and sense of place they bring, are what motivates Meg Gaddum and Bob Wishart to continue planting.

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The 2013 North Island Farm Foresters of the Year will share that enthusiasm and their knowledge with others when they host the Gisborne East Coast Farm Forestry field day on Wednesday, February 19. During the last 30 years, more than 100 hectares of forest has been planted on their 880 hectare medium to steep hill country property. Seventy hectares are of pine blocks and the remainder are small blocks of Cupressus lusitanica, C. macrocarpa, Acacia Melanoxylon, Douglas Fir, Eucalyptus muelleriana, E. globoidea, choosing tree species to suit each site. The plantings have been mostly for conservation and farm management purposes, protecting soils, preventing obvious and potential deep erosion movements and making the farm easier to muster and manage. The aim has been to future-proof the land capabilities, moving the farm towards an integrated system of farming and forestry, matching activity to the best land use, while also improving the visual landscape. The field day is at Te Koawa Station, 1131 Whakarau Rd (off SH2 north of Te Karaka, Gisborne). Bring lunch. Phone 06 862 3418, email: wisga@xtra.co.nz


FORESTRY

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Forestry’s diverse career prospects appeal Jordan Kirk was looking for a degree with a lot of variety and options for the future, and she’s found it in studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in forest engineering at the University of Canterbury. “The degree is a good mix, with plenty of civil engineering and a focus on

the logistics, management and design required to run a forestry operation. I really like the diversity of areas I will be able to work in when I graduate, such as geotechnical engineering, harvest planning or management,” says Jordan. Originally from Tauranga, Jordan’s career goal is to eventually become a successful leader in the forestry industry, “most likely to do with the exporting process, as New Zealand exports the majority of its wood”. She believes her degree will set her up well for this. “I get to learn about all aspects of the industry, as well as gaining lots of practical experience.” Jordan also appreciates the flexibility of the set-up at UC for forest engineering students.

She puts in a full working week on campus, attending lectures and working on assignments and tutorials, preferring to study with her classmates in the civil or forestry computer suites. “The facilities are very good and you can work in an environment that suits you – you can work in either a social environment in the engineering computer rooms, or in a quiet setting in the library. The lecturers and tutors are also readily available to help with anything you don’t fully understand.” She chose to study at UC partly because of the campus lifestyle on offer. “There are lots of clubs and good halls of residence, so there is always a lot to do socially. I enjoy playing in the social sports teams

that are around; for example, netball and touch teams, as well as all the events that are put on around campus.” Jordon encourages other students with an interest in engineering or forestry studying at UC will be a rewarding experience. “You are bound to meet lots of new and interesting people and learn about a lot of different things. “Forest Engineering is highly varied, and with good classmates and lecturers I have really enjoyed my degree. “But the main thing is to enjoy what you do, and always ask for help if you don’t understand. Jordon’s last piece of advice; “as clichéd as it sounds, be prepared to work hard and play hard”.

Jordan Kirk.

Hawke’s Bay hosts forestry conference Tackling the challenges and delivering value is the theme for the 2014 New Zealand Institute of Forestry conference in the Hawke’s Bay from July 6-9. Better known as New Zealand’s fruit bowl, and one of the country’s premium wine growing regions, the Hawkes Bay also has 135,000 hectares of forestry plantation split between a few large companies and many smaller growers. Hawke’s Bay has innovative processors, some steep environmental challenges and a coming harvest volume spike. A field trip, which is part of the conference, will provide an opportunity to see some of the unique aspects of the region, including one of the world’s elite golf courses, a studio of wooden artworks exported around the world, massive laminated beams being processed and one of the few remaining integrated forestry companies. An additional field trip option will showcase Cape

Sanctuary to see the wildlife recovery programme where kiwi, takahe, tuatara, pateke and many forest species, reptiles and seabirds are being restored to abundance in a productive landscape of pines, sheep and golf on Cape Kidnappers. The conference is the Institute of Forestry’s main event for the year and will be attended by forest owners, professionals, managers, consultants and educators.

Conference speakers will address a range of topics, including: operating within the law; how forest growers are meeting land use challenges in Hawke’s Bay; shaping a better industry; making the most of production volumes and logistics; selling it all in the face of international competition and increasing the value of forests. To find out more, go to: www.forestry.org.nz


COAST & COUNTRY

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trades & services Mon, February 10 Otorohanga Employers Group

Looking for that right person or keen to ensure you have your team set up well for next season? No 8 HR is sharing their expertise about planning your farm team and getting the right person when recruiting. Bring along your ideas and experience, as well as your lunch. Held at St John Station, Kakamutu Rd, Otorohanga,

from 10.30am-1pm. RSVP is required to John Vosper 0274 750 918 or: john. vosper@dairynz.co.nz

Wed, February 12

Manawaru Farm Systems Group

This discussion group is open to anyone involved in dairying or dairyrelated agri-business. For information, call group convenor Anna Kalma 027 518 3133 or email: anna_ kalma@hotmail.com

Thur, February 13

Opotiki Business Owners Discussion Group

The aim of this discussion group is to increase the financial performance and economic stability of farm businesses within the Opotiki region. It is a closed group. If you would like to join, call convenor Andrew Clark 027 498 5862. Meet at Nat and Dave Wilson’s property, 16 McGinley Rd, Opotiki, SN22584, from 10.30am2pm.

Fri, February 14

North Waikato Biz Start

This group is fully subscribed for the season. Sessions in the Biz Start groups focus on building business and people management skills to equip you for senior level management positions, or owning or running your own farm business. Held at Tahuna Fire station from 11am. Call Joan BarendsenHeald 027 293 4401 or email: joan.barendsenheald@ dairynz.co.nz

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Te Miro/Whitehall Farm Systems Group

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Come and join a healthy discussion on the issues facing the host farmer. Current industry wide topics are also discussed. All welcome. Held at Richard and Janet Waswo’s property, 1052 Maungakawa Rd, Te Piro, SN 72826, from 11am. Call Phil Irvine 027 483 9820 or email: phil.irvine@ dairynz.co.nz

Tokoroa Employers Group

Looking for that right person or keen to ensure you have your team set up well for next season? No 8 HR is sharing their expertise about planning your farm team and getting the right person when recruiting. Bring along your ideas and experience as well as your lunch. Held at Tokoroa Club, Tokoroa 10.30am-1pm. RSVP is required to John Vosper 0274 750 918 or john. vosper@dairynz.co.nz

Tue, February 18

Milksmart – the Next Generation: North Waikato New sessions include smart water uses, managing mastitis and plant optimisation. Some of the most popular sessions from previous events will be back – such as stockmanship, cow senses, and milking strategies. Come along to talk with a team of expert speakers at either the set sessions or a one-on-one clinic held on the day. Location advised on registration. Visit www.dairynz.co.nz/ page/pageid/2145866281/ Milksmart

Thur, February 20

Milksmart – the Next Generation: South Waikato New sessions include smart water uses, managing mastitis and plant optimisation. Some of the most popular sessions from previous events will be back – such as

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stockmanship, cow senses, and milking strategies. Come along to talk with a team of expert speakers at either the set sessions or a one-on-one clinic held on the day. Location advised on registration. Visit www.dairynz.co.nz/ page/pageid/2145866281/ Milksmart

Mon, February 24

Tokoroa Employers Group

Leave the cows behind and jump into the world of people management. Want to know where you stand legally? John Brosnan, from Cooper Aitken, will share his thoughts and ideas on the legal aspects of having staff. Bring along your ideas and experiences, as well as your lunch. Held at Tokoroa Club, Tokoroa from 10.30am-1pm. RSVP is required to John Vosper 0274 750 918 or john. vosper@dairynz.co.nz

Tue, February 25

Otorohanga Employers Group

Leave the cows behind and jump into the world of people management. Want to know where you stand legally? John Brosnan, from Cooper Aitken, will share his thoughts and ideas on the legal aspects of having staff. Bring along your ideas and experiences, as well as your lunch. Held at Otorohanga Workingmen’s Club’s upstairs meeting room, Otorohanga, from 10.30am-1pm. RSVP is required to John Vosper 0274 750 918 or john. vosper@dairynz.co.nz

Weds, February 26 Central Plateau Green to Gold

This group uses DairyBase and the Whole Farm Assessment process to thoroughly analyse the host business in relation to the host’s goals and then give concise, quality recommendations back to the host. This group has membership conditions. Call Sharon Morrell 027 492 2907 or group convenor Corina Walker 027 345 7715.

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PRIZE PACK

Four-year-old Oliver Winters, on his first shooting expedition with Dad. Sent in by Melissa Winters.

UP FOR GRABS!

Pictures and details can be emailed (high resolution jpgs) to sarah@thesun.co.nz “Country Camera” or posted to Coast & Country, PO Box 240, Tauranga. Please include a name, address and phone number with every entry.

Rachael Hayward, age two, with heading dog pip of Wairamarama. Sent in by Allan Hayward.

Stacey van der Vegte, nine, enjoying her first ever ‘bush ride’ with her gran Norine MacCarthy in Taupo. Sent in by Nik van der Vegte.

Naomi enjoying a summer’s evening.

Sent in by Jo Smith.


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