Waikato AgriBusiness News June 2021

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The publication profiling the best in agribusiness in Waikato. NZ businesses are helping Waikato farmers thrive through research, development and innovation – from identifying farmers’ needs to designing, developing and commercialising unique solutions to help them.

JUNE 2021 WWW.WBN.CO.NZ FACEBOOK.COM/WAIKATOBUSINESSNEWS

Stage set for

After a year’s absence, Fieldays is roaring

back as big as ever in 2021, further

enhanced by its online offering with

Fieldays TV streaming around the world.

bumper

Fieldays

Chief executive Peter

Nation, speaking four

weeks before the June

16 opening, said exhibitors are

suggesting this year could be

“a purler” as social media buzz

indicates high visitor interest.

With exhibitors continuing

to place high value on the

four-day physical event, spaces

were almost fully booked out

and Nation didn’t discount

having a record year.

Nation said the feedback

they are getting through social

media and other channels is

that it will be well attended.

“A lot of people are

really missing it and looking

forward to coming.

“A lot of our exhibitors are

saying we could be in for a

purler this year.”

All that despite not having a

full 12 months to prepare, after

having to cancel last year’s

event because of Covid and

then get back up to speed in the

aftermath.

“This just isn't an average

Fieldays, we've had challenges

coming at us all ways,”

Nation said.

Continued on page 3

Four weeks out from the event, Fieldays chief executive

Peter Nation can look down on a site where the build is well underway.


2 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021


WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

3

Stage set for bumper Fieldays

From page 1

Putting in a framework

for Covid tracing on site was

high on the list, with Fieldays

the largest gathering

by numbers annually in New

Zealand.

Covid has also put pressure

on accommodation, with

up to half of Hamilton’s beds

taken up as MIQ facilities or

for emergency housing.

That will see Fieldays

creating a campervan village

at Claudelands for a

week for exhibitors who

were squeezed out of

their usual accommodation.

The Society went to THL

to bring the campervans down

from Auckland in an inventive

solution to the potential

problem.

“It's just been a very

unusual year. Even though

we're well on track to stage

Fieldays, we've had a lot of

other things in our way.”

As Nation says, in a

normal year the physical

event would be

enough to organise in itself,

but they are intent on continuing

to stage Fieldays online

and Fieldays TV, increasing

the scale enormously.

“We always knew our digital

piece was a big part of our

future. So we put a lot of time

into our ticketing system and

our app, and we had Fieldays

TV on the shelf as a strategy.

And of course, Covid accelerated

that.”

Fieldays TV will have

a highly visible presence

on the site, operating from

a glass cube structure in

the Village Green. Big screens

will mean visitors to the site

can watch it, while it will

also stream live over the four

days of the event.

“It will have a full production

schedule, starting each

Continued on page 4

Competitions have been brought together in one area

IT’S A TEAM EFFORT. THERE’S

A LOT OF THINKING GONE INTO

THIS, AND WE’VE GOT A GOOD

PRAGMATIC BOARD. WE KNOW

HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS TO

THE COMMUNITY.

Health and wellbeing remains an important part of the event

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4 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

WE ALWAYS KNEW OUR DIGITAL

PIECE WAS A BIG PART OF OUR

FUTURE. SO WE PUT A LOT OF TIME

INTO OUR TICKETING SYSTEM

AND OUR APP, AND WE HAD

FIELDAYS TV ON THE SHELF AS A

STRATEGY. AND OF COURSE, COVID

ACCELERATED THAT.

Stage set for bumper Fieldays

From page 3

day. And we’ll livestream

that out across New Zealand

and around the world.”

Fieldays online starts

ahead of the physical event,

featuring material filmed last

year, and will also continue

after the event, with exhibitors

able to use the medium

for advertising space.

Nation said last year they

had more than 90,000 unique

viewers across 75 countries,

despite limited opportunities

to market the station.

The stats showed

their main viewing was

between 6pm and 9pm.

“So we were cutting across

primetime news.”

While the loss of up to

3000 international visitors

will be felt, Fieldays is likely

to be the largest agricultural

show in the world this year,

with other events closed

because of Covid.

Innovations are set to remain a drawcard

Nation said the online

presence would be important.

“I think it does a number

of things. It keeps our brand

alive and our event alive

around the world, it keeps

the New Zealand brand alive

and our customers’ brands

alive in the innovation space

and products.”

They plan to host overseas

speakers virtually, and Nation

said the offering would

include short documentaries

on the likes of different

farming techniques, innovations

and alternative energy

sources. “We’re trying to be

ahead of the curve.”

Meanwhile, the

all-important physical

event has been

as big a drawcard as ever

for exhibitors, with only the

larger internationals absent.

Nation said they remain

focused on the core mission

of advancing agriculture,

which means careers and education,

health and wellbeing,

and the innovations hub will

all be back.

“It’s all about the whole

vision of bringing people

together and education and

innovation.”

Visitors will find some

changes to the site, notably

including the competitions

being brought together by

shifting the excavators.

The app, which has

become a feature of the event,

is enhanced, while navigation

will also be helped by vinylcut

lines along the centre of

the main roads, hopefully

helping social distancing.

Corners will include big letters

denoting the street names,

as well as arrows pointing to

key areas including major

precincts and toilets.

“So you should be able to

navigate your way just with

your eyes,” Nation said.

Each intersection will

also have a Covid QR code

for those who missed their

chance at the entrance.

Further change sees them

switch to a dawn opening on

the Wednesday, rather than

the traditional noon, while

Nation said they’ve parked

a number of ideas for next

year, given the shortened run

they’ve had for this year’s

event after Covid.

“It’s a team effort. There’s

a lot of thinking gone into

this, and we’ve got a good

pragmatic board. We know

how important this is to the

community. It will be good.”

Family takes out top

farm environment award

The van Ras Family of Morrinsville have

been named 2021 Regional Supreme

Winners in the Waikato Ballance Farm

Environment Awards.

The awards, run by the

New Zealand Farm

Environment Trust,

champion sustainable farming

and growing.

The supreme regional

winner, Waiorongomai Valley

Farms, is a family affair

with two generations of the

van Ras family, Johan and

Kylie and Richard and Truus,

all living on the land that

the family bought in 2010

after previously leasing the

farm for six years.

The 76ha farm has 215

cows and has stock health as a

main priority. The family say

they are constantly looking to

improve their environmental

impact and balance sustainability

with profitability.

They entered the Ballance

Farm Environment Awards in

the hope of learning from the

awards experience and to help

share positive stories from the

farming industry.

Supreme winners Kylie, Johan,

Truus and Richard van Ras.

The judges said that the

van Rases are good adopters

of technology who understand

the value of using accurate data

to inform good management

practice and sustainable business

decisions.

“It is evident that the van

Ras family work well as a team

and have an excellent succession

plan across three generations.

We believe that this farm

business offers many industry

leadership opportunities for

the van Ras family,” the judges

said.

As well as receiving this

year’s Regional Supreme

Award, they also received the:

• Ballance Agri-Nutrients

Soil Management Award

• DairyNZ Sustainability and

Stewardship Award

• WaterForce Integrated

Management Award

• Synlait Future Leaders

Award

This year the Waikato

Ballance Farm Environment

Awards included a new

award category for Catchment

Groups. The 2021 winners

of this award are Pūniu River

Care.

When it comes to catchment

management, Pūniu River

Care, (PRC), are big initiators

in the Waikato. Established in

2015 to enable local hapū to

be involved in the restoration

of the Pūniu River Catchment,

PRC work with their rural

community, iwi, regional and

central government to implement

restoration work at scale.

A main part of their work is

training people from the community

to propagate native

plants at Mangatoatoa marae

which are then planted around

rivers, lakes, wetlands and

erodible land.

The organisation has grown

rapidly since its inception and

will deliver 500,000 native

plants, planted into the Pūniu

and Waipa River catchments in

May 2021 and has the capacity

to deliver in excess of 1 million

plants each year in the coming

seasons.

The nursery and planting

operation currently employs

more than 30 people and the

organisation is committed to

building the skills and capability

of their team, with a number

of young staff members

being supported into leadership

roles.

Encouraging the next generation

is also a priority with

an education programme running

at the local whare kura

to ensure the ongoing success

of PRC, the improvement of

the environment and the hope

it gives marae throughout

Aotearoa.

The BFEA judges were

impressed with the engagement

of the team at PRC. “It

was very evident that the staff

believed in the vision of the

organisation and looked to be

really enjoying their work,”

said the judges.

OTHER WAIKATO 2021

BALLANCE FARM

ENVIRONMENT AWARD

WINNERS

Michael and Susi Woodward -

Bayleys People in Primary Sector Award and

Norwood Agri-Business Management Award

Russell and Mavis Proffit -

Massey University Innovation Award

and Waikato Regional Council Water

Protection Award

Murray & Janet Easton -

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Livestock Award

Peter Levin and Phil Barton -

Hill Laboratories Agri-Science Award

and Waikato River Authority Catchment

Improvement Award


See the best of

agribusiness at

Fieldays 2021

The future of the agribusiness sector is

looking bright, with a wider range of products

and services on offer than ever before.

With over 1,000 exhibitors

on site at

Fieldays this year,

there’s no better place to scope

out the latest in the primary

industries.

As the largest agricultural

event in the Southern Hemisphere,

here’s just a small

snapshot of what your ticket to

Fieldays 2021 will get you.

A trip to the Agribusiness

area will indulge you with

market leading agricultural

specialists to learn from and

network with, as well as an opportunity

to check out the latest

investments to help you maintain

your farm.

Whether you’re looking at

herd management, calf nutrition,

monitoring soil quality,

effluent systems, irrigation, organic

or regenerative farming,

you’ll be able to find the latest

in ag, alongside the tried and

tested favourites, all within a

short stroll of each other.

If you’re looking for more

heavy-duty equipment to

get the job done, head to the

Heavy Equipment Precinct.

There will be a wide range of

tractors, forklifts, excavators,

mowers, spreaders, and cultivators

to choose from.

But it’s not just about the

latest products. It’s about the

services you can access to

help you work smarter, not

harder too.

All the major banks will be

on site with their financial advisors

on hand to chat through

your banking needs over a

cup of coffee. To help you

bear those chilly mornings,

there is an abundance of durable

gear that will withstand the

elements, which you can find

in the Rural Living Precinct.

From all the Kiwi favourite

farming clothing brands to the

woolly socks, waterproof jackets,

sturdy footwear, and warm

clothing that will keep you cosy

until spring.

Fieldays being back on site

at Mystery Creek also means

you get to experience the iconic

competitions once again. So,

when you need a break from

shopping around, head to the

riverside, where all the competitions

are now in one location.

The boy racers of farming

world will be back, going

head-to-head in the Tractor

Pull. New Zealand’s top fencers

will be back too vying for

the coveted Golden Pliers®

and you can catch the test of

skill and precision at the Civil

Contractors New Zealand Regional

Excavator Competition.

Whilst walking around

Fieldays this year, you will

undoubtedly stumble across an

innovation or two that piques

your interest. But if you’re

ready to immerse yourself

with everything that’s about

to shape the landscape of the

primary industries, head to the

Innovation Hub. You’ll get a

glimpse into the future ranging

from prototypes to early stages

of commercialisation through

to ideas ready to grow and

scale globally.

After you’ve headed home

with all your new ideas and

gadgets to tackle the next job

on the farm, remember that

Fieldays Online is back this

year too. You’ll be able to tune

in to segments with This Working

Life, Fieldays Kitchen, and

all the latest Future Focus talks

and more. So, you can tune

in on demand and tune out

to milk the cows.

IT’S ON SITE AND ONLINE

Tickets on sale

fieldays.co.nz

JUNE

2021


6 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

Robotic asparagus harvester version 1.5 being pulled by a tractor

Robotic asparagus harvester version 1.5

Uni showcases

robotics at Fieldays

Three high-tech superheroes are making their presence known at

this year’s Fieldays.

The University of Waikato

has entered three of

its horticultural robots

in the Prototype category of

the 2021 Fieldays Innovation

Awards.

They are a robotic asparagus

harvester, an autonomous

grape vine pruner and a kiwifruit

orchard survey robot.

The robots are collaborative

projects involving students and

academics from the School of

Engineering and the School of

Computing and Mathematical

Sciences in partnership with

other academic institutions and

businesses.

“Agritech is very important

to solving problems,” says Dr

Shen Hin Lim, Senior Lecturer

in Mechatronics and Mechanical

Engineering at the University

of Waikato and Chair of

NZ Robotics Automation and

Sensing (NZRAS).

“New Zealand is considered

a world leader in agricultural

innovation, and I believe that

we can demonstrate that and

MaaraTech grape vine pruner

have an edge using ag robots.”

Ag robots support the

horticulture sector in a number

of ways, automating

some time-consuming tasks,

enabling people to get on with

other work and offering a sustainable

solution to labour

shortages.

Technology also helps the

agricultural industry to maintain

high productivity, ensure

safe, high-quality food products

and minimise its environmental

footprint.

Lim leads the team that

developed the asparagus harvester

which will be on display

in the Innovation Hub.

The fully operational prototype

was developed with the

support of Callaghan Innovation,

in collaboration with

Robotics Plus Limited. The

asparagus harvester has a

high-tech vision system that

detects the asparagus spears,

computes their base location,

and, if it detects that the

spear is tall enough to harvest,

uses a robotic arm to cut it as

the robot passes over.

Another robot at Fieldays

is the MaaraTech Grape Vine

Pruner, a transdisciplinary

co-design project funded by

the Ministry of Business,

Innovation and Employment,

including researchers from

the University of Waikato,

Robotics Plus, the University

of Auckland, the University of

Canterbury, Lincoln Agritech,

University of Otago and Plant

& Food Research.

Auckland University holds

the contract for the fiveyear

MaaraTech project, and

Waikato University is subcontracted

to focus on the

hardware development and

physical aspects of creating the

technology.

Teams from other universities

have worked on different

parts of the process which

includes scanning and building

a 3D model of the vine

using cameras and sensors;

detecting and measuring so

the software has the necessary

metrics to make a decision;

Dr Shen Hin Lim

then the mechatronics which

take action. Dr Benjamin

McGuinness, a research and

teaching fellow in mechanical

engineering at the University

of Waikato, says the robot’s

cutting blade - dubbed “the

barracuda” - has evolved over

many iterations and modifications

of commercial secateurs

by Waikato researcher Scott

Harvey. Its innovative design

helps ensure wires are not cut

by mistake.

“The design we’ve come

up with has a series of slots

in the anvil of the bottom

blade. The idea is, the wire

will fall into the slots but the

cane is too big to fit in there,

so the blade will cut the

cane,” says McGuinness.

WE DIDN’T WANT TO BUILD JUST

ANOTHER SILOED SYSTEM, SO WE’VE

DESIGNED THE ROBOT AND DIGITAL

TWIN AS A REUSABLE PLATFORM

TO ENABLE MANY DIFFERENT

STAKEHOLDERS, INCLUDING INDUSTRY

AND ACADEMIC, TO INTEGRATE THEIR

SPECIALIST SENSORS, MODELS OR

VISUALISATION TOOLS.

The Orchard Survey

Robot was funded by Zespri

to advance innovation and

research in the kiwifruit industry.

It uses a variety of sensors

to autonomously navigate

around the orchard to capture

information that can provide

actionable insights to growers,

says Nick Pickering, a

systems engineering lecturer

at the University of Waikato,

who is leading the project.

It can be programmed to

capture a wide range of data

through the life cycle of kiwifruit

growing.

“We’ll be initiating the

research later in the year

starting with flower counting

and canopy cover, with

plans to expand the collaboration

into the areas of pest and

disease detection, fruit estimation

and plant structure,”

says Pickering.

“The information from the

robot will be used to support

growers to make complex

decisions to optimise fruit

quality and quantity.”

In addition to assisting

growers, there’s an opportunity

to improve decision-making

across the harvest, post-harvest,

logistics and marketing

functions.

As a “common-user robot

environment”, it will promote

more collaboration and

knowledge-sharing across

the industry.

“It’s all about being better

together,” says Pickering.

“We didn’t want to build just

another siloed system, so

we’ve designed the robot and

digital twin as a reusable platform

to enable many different

stakeholders, including industry

and academic, to integrate

their specialist sensors, models

or visualisation tools.”

• Fieldays visitors can

see the robots at the

Innovation Hub.


The right legal advice

makes all the difference

It has never been more critical to have the right legal

team on hand to tackle the myriad of challenges

facing agribusiness, particularly with current and future

environmental and regulatory changes coming through.

Lewis Lawyers’ commitment

and connection

with the rural community

runs deep.

Lewis has been a leading

law firm in the Waikato for

over a century - four generations

- with its first office in

Cambridge opening in 1906.

In the earlier days, dairy

farming was the main type of

farming in and around the area

surrounding Cambridge. Sheep

and beef farming, horticulture

and equine grew rapidly over

the decades.

Today, about a third of Lewis’s

client base comes from the

rural sector including dairy,

sheep and beef, goat, forestry,

horticulture, poultry, equine,

food production, contracting

and other organisations in agribusiness.

Partner Matt Makgill, says

many of Lewis’ key clients

have been with the firm since

the beginning.

“We now have third and

fourth generations coming to

us seeking sound legal, regulatory

and market advice on

matters relating to their businesses,”

he says.

“This is particularly common

with our rural clients who

have family farms for generations

and have been working

with us through matters like

succession planning, farm

sales and acquisitions, equity

and ownership structures, and

joint ventures,” he explains.

Makgill sees the legal team

as an integral part of a farmer’s

critical team of rural advisors,

including their accountant,

their farm advisor and their nutrient

specialist.

“We believe this ensures

legal counsel is well-across the

overall business and is ready

to provide another perspective

when required, can proactively

identify opportunities, and is

there to offer assistance when

things don’t go to plan,” he

says.

“The nature of the relationships

we build with our clients

allow us to foresee issues before

they arise, so the client

can be proactively guided

through statutory and regulatory

requirements, and will avoid

running into issues,” he adds.

Longstanding relationships

with clients have also been invaluable

for matters relating to

employment law, which Makgill

says can bring the biggest

joy when things are functioning

well, but can also be the

biggest headache when there’s

a relationship breakdown.

“Our team is well-versed

on the rights and obligations of

employers and employees under

employment law. We can

also proactively assist employers

to meet their obligations

under the health and safety

law, and other laws that impact

on the workplace.”

He says this is essential

at this point in time with the

challenges farmers have been

facing to find skilled, experienced,

suitable workers.

“Choices to fill critical roles

and manage chronic understaffing

has been extremely

limited in some cases, and this

has caused some real problems

for some of our clients employing

and retaining the right

staff.” The use of equity partnerships

and other equity sharing

arrangments is one way clients

have sought to address this

issue, which Makgill says is an

area his team has an enormous

amount of knowledge and experience.

Makgill says taking a strategic,

forward thinking approach

to legal issues can have a significant

impact on productivity

and profitability in the business,

whether it’s for sale and

purchases, rural leases, equity

partnerships, equity and debt

financing and farm succession

planning.

Lewis Lawyers has offices

in Cambridge and Hamilton,

serving the greater Waikato region

and beyond.

The team at Lewis Lawyers

takes pride in drawing on

their knowledge to add value

to transactions and resolve disputes

for clients. Lewis Lawyers

is a progressive practice,

a young firm in its approach,

built on tradition.

The firm is agile and available

to work in whichever way

works best for the client, and

Makgill says it’s not uncommon

for a meeting or documents

to be signed in the tractor

via Zoom or Teams.

“We remained fully operational

during last year’s

lockdown, and if New Zealand

were to have another

COVID-19 outbreak in the

community, it would be business

as usual for our team.

“We have a great team here

and we take huge pride in the

reputation we’ve built for being

modern and progressive in

our approach.”

RURAL SERVICES

• Farm sales and acquisitions

• Farm leasing

• Easements

• Financing/refinancing and

other funding arrangements

• Joint ventures and

partnerships

• Succession planning

• Estate planning

• Farm subdivision

• Resource Management issues

and consent

• Environmental compliance

• Transferable development

rights

• Environmental benefit lots

• Public works

• Corporate / commercial

• Dispute resolution

Lisa Ware

Partner

Matt Makgill

Partner

Lucy Young

Partner

Monique Medley-Rush

Partner

Mayuan Si

Partner

Simon Makgill

Consultant

Corner Dick and Alpha Streets, Cambridge | Ph 07 827 5147

45 Seddon Road, Hamilton | Ph 07 848 1222

www.lewislawyers.co.nz


8 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

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WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

9

Firm wins recognition for Covid response

Cambridge firm AgDrive’s strong response to Covid has seen it

take out two prestigious awards.

It won Excellence in

Emerging/New Business,

and Innovation and Adaptation

at the Waipā Networks

Business Awards, held at

Mystery Creek.

It was well-earned recognition

for the firm’s remarkable

story less than a year

after it started.

The driver training business,

part of the Ag Technology

Group based at Hautapu,

was born out of a stray comment

over a coffee at a time

when the company was staring

down the Covid barrel,

says director Andre Syben.

Ag Technology’s engineers,

who normally spend

half the year in Germany

testing and developing Claas

machinery, were effectively

grounded by the pandemic

and the company was casting

around for alternatives.

“The AgDrive idea wasn't

actually mine,” Syben says.

“It was an off the side comment

made by a friend of

mine. He made the comment

completely out of the blue.

He said, ‘What’s going to

happen to all these contractors

when they can't get overseas

staff?’

“He just went on to talk

about something else, and I

went, ‘aha’. So I didn't actually

come up with the idea.”

AgDrive was established

to meet the gap - connecting

people put out of work by the

pandemic with contractors

needing staff for the upcoming

harvest season.

They signed a contract

with the Ministry for Social

Development and began short

training courses at Matangi at

the end of July.

Eight months later, they

had placed more than 60

people in jobs, and have

even taken on one graduate

themselves, a former pilot

who is now managing their

warehouse.

Others have been

employed by firms including

Wealleans and Waharoabased

horticulture company

LeaderBrand.

AgDrive not only gives

trainees the driver training

but also supports them in

their job applications.

Along with redeploying

Ag Technology engineers,

they have taken on four new

staff for AgDrive, and have

just signed a contract with the

Primary ITO to run both tractor

driving and motorbike and

quad driving microcredential

courses for NZQA credits.

Aimed at people already

in employment, the weeklong

tractor course will have

intakes of 10 or 11, while

the bike training is set to

become a twice-weekly, twoday

course, with a 10-strong

intake for each.

General manager Janine

Peters says the AgDrive ITO

initiative came after they

were looking for other avenues

to ensure the business’s

long-term future.

Early signs were encouraging

after Syben’s wife

posted the news on their

Facebook page.

“All I heard all night was

‘ping’ ‘ping’ on her phone.

It was inquiry, just unbelievable,”

Syben says.

They have built an indoor

bike training track at the back

of their warehouse, meaning

the training can be held in all

AgDrive took out both Excellence in Emerging/New Business

and the Innovation and Adaptation Award at the Waipa

Networks Business Awards. Photo: Cornegiephotography

weathers. It is carpeted with

astroturf Syben bought before

Christmas from the Cambridge

tennis courts, with the

planned track in mind.

But they are also looking

at taking the offering

on-farm for employers such

as iwi with a large number of

employees on grouped farms

Ag Technology is also

growing its Diesel Tune

business with the addition of

imported TJM four-by-four

accessories, the first time

they have sold a physical

product through the business.

Meanwhile, their 2500

sq m warehouse, a business

which they started just

before Covid lockdown,

is almost full.

Bull burps could

hold answer to more

climate friendly cows

The opportunity to breed more climate

friendly cows is one step closer for

New Zealand dairy farmers after a

Waikato trial has found a possible link

between bulls’ genetics and the amount

of methane they produce.

The pilot trial, by artificial

breeding companies LIC

and CRV with funding

from the New Zealand Agricultural

Greenhouse Gas Research

Centre, measured feed intake

and methane emissions – in the

form of burps – from 20 young

bulls destined to father the next

generation of New Zealand’s

dairy cows.

LIC chief scientist Richard

Spelman says results from the

pilot trial are promising.

“Methane production primarily

relates to how much an

animal eats. We’ve accounted

for this and we’re still seeing

variation which suggests genetics

plays a role in a dairy bull’s

methane emissions – now we

need more data to prove it.”

The research will now

progress to a larger study

where operations have scaled

up to collect measurements

from 300 young bulls, the full

intake from LIC and CRV’s

Sire Proving Scheme. Agriculture

Minister Hon Damien

O’Connor attended the launch

of the project at LIC’s farm

outside of Hamilton.

“What makes me so excited

about this project is the cooperation.

A company from the

Northern Hemisphere and a

company from the Southern

Hemisphere working together

for a common objective. There

are lots of options for methane

emission reduction being

looked at, and this is a great

one,” O’Connor said.

“Each one of the cows we

have in New Zealand now

produces a whole lot more for

the same inputs that we put in

maybe 20 or 30 years ago. That

kind of progressive development

that we’ve seen in production,

we want to now see in

methane reduction and I’m sure

we can do that.”

Although methane emissions

have been shown to be

heritable, Spelman said LIC

and CRV will carry out additional

research to validate their

findings.

“We will be methane testing

daughters from the bulls that

are identified to be high or low

methane emitters to check their

emissions are representative

of their father’s.

“It’s a long-term project but

it has the potential to deliver

real benefits to farmers in the

future by providing another tool

to reduce their farm emissions,”

Dr Spelman said. CRV R&D

manager Phil Beatson said

more than two and a half years

of planning with his colleagues

at LIC has gone into setting

up a robust structure for the

research project.

“Together, we have done a

significant amount of work to

set up this trial, including using

insights from overseas projects

measuring feed intake and

methane emissions. We believe

we are using the best approach

for what is enormously complicated

work.

“CRV and LIC recognise

that environmental issues have

become increasingly important

to New Zealand agriculture.

LIC chief scientist Richard Spelman and Damien O’Connor

at the project facilities at LIC’s farm outside Hamilton.

Our collaboration, with support

from MPI, AgResearch and

NZAGRC, demonstrates our

commitment to keep finding

genetic solutions that can help

farmers future-proof their business.”

Harry Clark, director of

the New Zealand Agricultural

Greenhouse Gas Research Centre,

is delighted with the outcomes

of the pilot trial.

“We have been highly successful

in New Zealand in

breeding low-emitting sheep

and this preliminary work with

the bulls is a positive sign that

we should be able to achieve

the same for the dairy sector,”

he said.

Spelman said while breeding

for more climate friendly

cows is the focus, it’s still a

balancing act with other genetic

traits.

“It’s really important that

we understand the genetic relationships

between methane and

traits like milk production and

fertility. We don’t want to find

we are selecting against methane

and inadvertently breeding

cows that are less fertile.”

The bulls involved in the

trial are housed in a barn so

their feed intake can be measured.

They help themselves to

feed throughout the day, eating

lucerne hay cubes via feed bins

which measures how much

each bull eats. The bulls independently

visit the Greenfeed

machine (a special methane

measuring device). They’re

enticed to visit the machine as

they get a small feed of pellets

which keeps them in the

machine for three to five minutes

– enough time to get a

methane measurement (ruminant

animals burp every 1-2

mins). Bulls are under 24/7

video surveillance so scientists

can monitor them remotely.

The welfare of the bulls

taking part in the trial is being

monitored by LIC, with oversight

from the Ruakura Ethics

Committee which has approved

the project. The bulls have the

freedom to move around in their

pens, and eat, drink and sleep

when they wish.


10 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

Front Paddock founders Sarah Carty and Keir Bettley

Family farm gets chic new look

A piece of enduring rural Hamilton history has an eye-catching

new chapter in the form of a refurbished shipping container

fitted out as a cafe on the city’s outskirts.

Think of it as a slice of

Melbourne in Matangi.

The brainchild of

couple Sarah Carty and Keir

Bettley, Front Paddock cafe

evokes Carty’s inner- city

Melbourne background in its

chic container design along

with Bettley’s long-standing

farming family association

with the land it stands on.

Opened after Covid lockdown,

the Matangi Road cafe

is a “passion project” for the

couple, who live just a couple

of hundred metres away.

Carty is an account director

with Melbourne-based iD

Collective, who are developing

their New Zealand presence,

and Bettley is a co-director

of Signature Homes

Waikato having bought the

franchise with two others nine

years ago.

It helped that Bettley was

able to do the build himself

with the help of a few mates.

The refurbishment includes

large windows at either end,

providing welcome light and

warmth. Carty, who manages

the cafe and its social media,

says she wasn’t initially convinced

by Bettley’s idea for

a plywood interior but now

thinks it works well, reflecting

the earthy surroundings.

With the Bettleys well

known in the area - Keir’s

brother and parents also live

nearby on the former family

farm - once work started,

curious locals would stop and

ask what was happening.

“I loved the process -

designing it and seeing how

it was going to work,” Bettley

says. “It was quite a tricky

undertaking, but we figured

things out as we went. I'm

really pleased with it.”

The job was carried out

mostly at weekends, and completed

after Covid lockdown,

with the cafe opening on May

18.

Carty says the timing was

“probably a bit nuts” but paid

off, providing an opportunity

to connect with locals who

had just come off the back of

a lockdown.

“As soon as level two hit,

we took the opportunity. It

was good because people

were super keen to come and

get takeaway coffees.”

Front Paddock features

a playground and a petting

zoo shared with the neighbouring

Meadows Early

Learning Centre.

Local suppliers are to the

fore, with the cafe’s kombucha

coming from Gutsy,

which is based in Riverlea,

and raw treats courtesy

of Hamilton-based

Little S and P.

There is also a plant stall

from The Plant Girl and

an organic vegetable stand

courtesy of nearby Tomtit,

a fellow startup.

The counter food comes

from Volare while Carty says

Ben, the barista, knows their

regulars by name, along with

their life stories.

Through Signature Homes,

Bettley had already built the

Meadows centre, and he and

Carty could see the value in

building a cafe for parents

dropping off their children.

Staff from Atawhai Assisi

Home and Hospital across the

road are also customers, as

are other locals.

Carty says they have

aimed to make Front Paddock

a destination, particularly

at weekends, helped

by the petting zoo and playground.

Long term, expansion

of the cafe is in their

sights including a commercial

kitchen on site.

While the cafe is the

result of Carty and

Bettley’s individual

stories, it also reflects a wider

Hamilton and Waikato history

as urban settlements have

gradually encroached onto

their rural outskirts, changing

the land use.

Originally used for dairying,

later converted to maize

cropping and subsequently

divided by the expressway,

the former farm alongside

Matangi Road is now largely

residential with some haymaking

and grazing, as well

as supporting the early child-

A photo from the early days shows the family building in central Hamilton with the Bettley daughters on the verandah

Ben the barista knows all the regulars Inside the cafe


WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

11

I LOVED THE PROCESS -

DESIGNING IT AND SEEING HOW

IT WAS GOING TO WORK, IT WAS

QUITE A TRICKY UNDERTAKING,

BUT WE FIGURED THINGS OUT AS

WE WENT. I’M REALLY PLEASED

WITH IT.

care and cafe businesses.

The cafe’s name, Front

Paddock, evokes that background,

with Bettley recalling

a time as a youngster when

he would be kicking a rugby

ball around on what was the

farm’s front paddock and the

only one not planted in maize.

Family history, as recollected

by Keir’s parents Zane

and Sheryl, takes the story

back to Hamilton’s early days

when a Bettley who was an

officer in the British army

was allocated rural and town

properties.

The early Bettleys had

two town properties. One was

in Victoria Street and was a

tearoom and a butchers, with

a boarding house upstairs.

The second was a house situated

opposite the courthouse

where Countdown is today.

The rural property was eventually

divided into three.

A great-uncle of Zane’s,

called Jack, had one portion

and ran a butchery on his farm.

It is his former land where

Front Paddock now stands.

Meanwhile, Zane’s grandfather,

Arthur, had a portion that

has now been subdivided. The

third portion was for Jack and

Arthur’s sisters, Maude, Lottie,

Mabel and Nora.

Jack did not marry, and

left half his portion to Zane’s

father, George, and the other

half equally between Zane

and his brothers Craig and

Warren.

The three brothers and

their father formed a company

in the early 1970s and continued

to run a dairy farm of

about 200 acres before changing

to cropping maize in the

late 70s.

Further change came about

20 years ago, when Transit

New Zealand designated part

of the farm for the expressway,

which virtually cut the

farm in half. The government

agency purchased about 110

acres off the company and

eventually sold back about 30

acres. Too small to be used as

a farm, the excess land has

been leased out for potatoes

and pumpkins, and for hay

and grazing.

In continuing development

of the block, about six years

ago Keir Bettley built the

home he and Carty now live

in, on an 8000 square metre

lot. Their trans-Tasman relationship

became a Waikato

one after Carty shifted from

her native Australia, initially

to Auckland and then two

years ago to Hamilton where

she is enjoying the lifestyle.

Two and a half years ago,

Bettley’s Signature Homes

then built a house for his

brother on the second of three

titles on the block of land,

while their parents are currently

building a retirement

home on the remaining title.

Its use has changed markedly,

but the block of land with its

farming history remains solidly

in the Bettley family.

• Front Paddock is open

6.30am-2.30pm weekdays

and 8am-2pm weekends.

The petting zoo is a hit

+++++++

+++++++

+++++++

+++++++

+++++++

Procuta Associates

Urban + Architecture

Contact us 07 839 6521

www.pauaarchitects.co.nz


12 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

Key questions

on future land use

Anyone who has tramped in New Zealand’s national parks or

driven through jaw-dropping South Island scenery has observed

first hand largely pristine wilderness, with millions of hectares of

native bush and mountains left much as the country was when

the first humans arrived.

At the other end of the

spectrum, urban environments

focused on

meeting human needs are

concreted and tar-sealed, with

buildings in place of trees.

Between the two extremes,

we have our rural areas and

farms, where humans have

caused some degradation, but

there is still space for wildlife

and nature to flourish.

While New Zealand is recognised

as the world’s most

sustainable food producer, the

release of the Climate Change

Commission’s recommendations

around limiting carbon

emissions is perhaps a good

prompt for us to ask, “What

are the next steps for rural

land – the land between these

extremes?”

In this rural area, New Zealand

produces enough food for

40 to 50 million people, while

By Jamie Blennerhassett

Innovation Leader at

Ballance Agri-Nutrients

at the same time keeping the

human impact on the landscape

to a minimum.

As the world’s population

increases and more focus is

put on food production as well

as offsetting climate change,

we can see a growing tension

between the need to keep people

alive and the benefits of

land preservation.

One of the underlying

drivers is the threat of overall

biodiversity loss. Every

country in the world is facing

this, and there’s a direct correlation

between people and

the amount of land we take up

and the loss of natural habitat,

with 25 percent of the world’s

species predicted to become

extinct within the next century.

Until now, commercial

drivers have underpinned

changing land use; this is

reflected, for example, in the

dramatic drop in the number

of sheep farmed in New Zealand

in the 1980s in response

to the elimination of government

subsidies and dropping

wool prices. On the other side

of the ledger, good incomes

from dairying have spurred

New Zealand to become the

eighth-largest milk producer

in the world.

Questions to debate could

include considerations such

as how we work together to

strengthen our economy and

support Kiwis to prosper while

protecting our natural environment

and our climate.

Would we change our view

on land use from a regional to

a national perspective?

If we took a broader

approach to land, would

understanding and consideration

of soil attributes and

soil health impact the way we

manage urban growth?

Are there opportunities to

trial more diverse farming systems

that explore farm types

based on an informed, considered

use of land and water?

It may even be useful to

take a lesson from evolving

approaches to city planning,

where district and regional

plans create zones for industry,

high-density housing and

apartments, and commercial

and heritage precincts.

This could allow land to

be zoned into pine plantations

and planting for carbon sinks,

intensive farming districts for

the production of high-quality

food more sustainably than is

possible in other countries,

and more-sensitive areas for

lighter farming.

Land ratings could take

into account values such as

recreational potential, productive

capabilities, and ability

to protect and nurture unique

flora and fauna.

Perhaps land with higher

environmental values could

be used to offset degradation

of land that is being used for

higher-density food production,

in much the same way as

airlines use tree plantations to

offset travel emissions.

Acknowledging the impact

that humans have already

had on the land and accepting

that much of this degradation

cannot be undone, is

it time to be more pragmatic

with our attitude to changing

land use? Would this more

targeted approach enable

New Zealand to focus on its

strengths, including fertile

farmland, a low population

and world-leading sustainability

practices? Is it time to

make informed and rational

compromises?

The utopia of protecting

water quality in all productive

farmland, as stipulated in legislation

based on the Te Mana

o te Wai concept within the

National Policy Statement for

Freshwater Management, is

unlikely to be at all possible.

Kiwis are grappling with

the rate of change and the need

to balance providing carbon

sinks and pollution-free environments

with optimising food

production to meet consumer

demand and the growing

requirement for urban land.

Given that it’s impossible

to have productivity without

impact, now is a good time

to debate how much impact

we as a nation are prepared to

accept, and where the pendulum

settles.

• Dr Jamie Blennerhassett

is Innovation Leader at

Ballance Agri-Nutrients.

Ballance is a New Zealand

farmer-owned co-operative,

supporting Kiwis to

farm productively, profitably

and sustainably.

Relationship Property and Trusts

How much can you

really trust your trust?

Is your trust still protecting your

assets including your family

farm and business?

Many of you will be aware that

there have been recent changes

to New Zealand trust law. But

are you aware of the risks your

trust may face with respect to a

relationship property claim?

There is a common

misconception that if you have

a family trust owning assets,

such as the family farm, it will

protect those assets from a

relationship property claim.

Unfortunately this is not always

the case.

There has been recent

developments through

the Courts that have made

some trusts vulnerable to a

relationship property claim.

Picture this....

Mike’s trust owns a dairy farm.

Mike’s parents settled Mike’s

trust some years ago. Mike and

his parents are the trustees of

Mike’s trust. Mike is their only

child and he has worked on the

farm since he was 15. He is a

beneficiary of Mike’s trust.

Mike worked hard on the farm

and has barely had time to even

think about meeting anyone.

But one day Mike met Molly.

Molly came from a farming

family. She spent a lot of time

on the farm with Mike. Mike

thinks it is a match made

in heaven. Molly moves in

with Mike and helps with the

fencing, milking, rears the

calves and also helps Mike

renovate the homestead on

the farm that Mike lives in.

Molly doesn’t have any assets

aside from a couple of horses.

Mike would like to marry Molly

but he is not sure that he would

want Molly to have a share in

the farm at this early point in

their relationship. Luckily, the

farm is owned by Mike’s trust so

Mike thinks it is protected from

a relationship property claim.

Mike and Molly get married,

however the relationship starts

to gradually break down.

After about four years of

marriage Molly calls it quits

and moves out. Mike is

shocked to receive a letter in

the mail from Molly’s lawyer

in which Molly makes a claim

against the assets of Mike’s

Trust.

Mike is even more shocked

when he sees his lawyer and

is told that Molly may have a

valid claim against the farm

and is entitled to a half share

of the homestead.

Where a spouse or partner

makes contributions to

trust assets that lead to

an increase in the value

of those trust assets, that

spouse or partner may have

a claim for a share of the

trust assets.

Contributions can be

income earned or work

done and may also include

contributions to the

household. The homestead

on the farm is treated as

relationship property where

the parties have been in a

relationship for three years

or more. Relationship

property is divided equally at

separation.

While this is only one

example, what is clear is

that the mere ownership

Georgia

of assets in a family trust is

not a complete protection

from claims by your partner or

spouse.

You can however, protect

yourself and your assets.

This can be done by way of

a contracting out agreement

(also known as a “pre-nup”).

If you have assets in a

trust then you should seek

legal advice to ensure that

your trust is providing the

protection you want.

If you have any queries about

relationship property and

trusts, get in touch with Kirsty

McDonald or Georgia Watts at

Gallie Miles Lawyers.

Kirsty

_ Hamilton/Te Awamutu/Otorohanga _

0800 872 0560

E: office@gallie.co.nz

www.gallie.co.nz

We speak your language


WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

13

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14 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

Chemical-free treatment solution saves dairy

farmer thousands on effluent compliance

A small family-owned and operated Matamata Company

has been at the forefront of ground breaking water filtration

technology for more than 15 years and have made some

impressive moves to help farmers and industrial companies

deal with water related issues.

Forsi Innovations have

spent many years testing

and refining their

water filtration systems to

help farmers with water

quality issues. Their flagship

systems for iron and manganese

removal have been sold

right throughout the country

from Mangawhai to Invercargill

and have been installed

in places where other filter

system have failed; the

Forsi Aquafier systems have

worked perfectly from day

one without issues.

In 2015 Forsi Innovations

launched their Effluent Filtration

system at Fieldays with

huge success nationwide. The

biggest system is situated

at Massey University’s No

1 dairy at their Palmerston

North campus. The effluent

filter system takes the effluent,

separates the solids out

and filters the water to drinking

water standards so that

the water is completely clean

with no pathogens, virus or

smell.

This means the water can

be utilised on the farm for any

need that the farmer wants

without any limitations as to

where the water can be used.

The solids that have been

separated out are high in

fertiliser value and can be

composted down in the solids

bunker to be used later

on the pasture or cropping

paddocks. The big advantage

to the Forsi Effluent filter

system is that it eliminated

the need for large ponds so

FORSI slope screen.

the need for large amounts of

storage has been negated.

Since 2015 the company

have further refined the system

to now be completely

chemical-free, so this is a

huge advantage to farmers

as the only input to run the

system is power and effluent

– that’s it.

The drive behind this is

to make the system as environmentally

sustainable as

possible without having to

add chemicals to produce

clean water. They have been

trialling the new technology

for the past 2 years with

huge success. They have been

using the technology within a

car wash plant that has all the

water 100 percent recycled

and saving the owner of this

business thousands of dollars

every year in chemical costs.

Also in iron and manganese

removal, this has taken

the Aquafier filter systems to

a whole new level that is not

attainable from any other filter

system. The latest plant to

use this technology is a drycleaners

in Papakura; they

are able to recycle their wash

water and reuse this in other

areas of their dry cleaning

business.

This new technology has

revolutionised the efficiency

of all Forsi’s filtration systems

and the way they work

on all types of water, not just

bore water but trade waste as

well.

If you have a water quality

issue, big or small go see

the team at Fieldays, site J16

and have a chat or give them

a call on 07 8809479 or email

sales@forsi.co.nz

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Car wash wastewater recycling system

using ceramic filtration technology

Iron & manganese filtration system utilizing

FORSI’s new ceramic membrane technology

See us at

Fieldays 2021,

Site J16

FORSI’s R.O Membrane filtration module for water polishing


16 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

CHRISTOPHER IS THE FIRST

PERSON THE FAMILY HAS

EMPLOYED THAT IS NOT A FAMILY

MEMBER. CHRISTOPHER HAS

EARNED THEIR TRUST AND

RESPECT AND IS GROWING WITH

THIS OPPORTUNITY.

Winning dairy manager

shows attention to detail

Waikato farmers have made a strong

showing at the 2021 NZ Dairy Industry

Awards, taking out Manager of the Year

and Trainee of the Year.

Waikato’s Christopher

Vila became

the 2021 New Zealand

Dairy Manager of the

Tractor & farm machinery

sold & serviced across the

Waikato & Bay of Plenty

CAMBRIDGE

183 Victoria Road

07 827 7159

Year and Ruth Connolly from

Waikato was announced the

2021 New Zealand Dairy

Trainee of the Year.

ŌTOROHANGA

1 Progress Drive

07 873 4004

Manoj Kumar and Sumit

Kamboj from Hawke’s Bay/

Wairarapa were named the

2021 New Zealand Share

Farmers of the Year.

The 2021 Dairy Manager

of the Year stood out

as an immigrant who has

come to New Zealand

and has spent the past 13

years in the New Zealand

dairy industry learning and

ROTORUA

22 Fairy Springs Road

07 343 1915 www.gaz.co.nz

Jeff Bolstad

Dairy Manager of the Year Christopher Vila

accumulating knowledge.

Christopher Vila is a Farm

Manager on the JA BE Turnwald

Family Trust 103.8ha

farm, milking 341 cows in

Ohaupo.

Dairy Manager Head

Judge Malcolm Scott, from

Westpac, says Vila has built

a very strong relationship

with his farm owners and

his family.

“Christopher is the

first person the family has

employed that is not a family

member. Christopher has

earned their trust and respect

and is growing with this

opportunity.”

“He’s on a farm that is like

a goldfish bowl, surrounded

by 50-odd houses and lifestyle

blocks,” says fellow

judge Gray Beagley from

DairyNZ.

“He understands the property

is in the public eye and

does everything on-farm

to the absolute best of

his ability.

“Christopher cares about

the neighbouring properties,

and rather than spray

for weeds, which risks killing

urban plantings, he will

pull weeds by hand near the

boundary fences.

“His attention-to-detail is

outstanding and he wants to

do everything very well.”

The judges describe Vila

as a humble, competent and

passionate dairy farmer who

sets high standards for himself

and staff.

“He’s completely engaged

in his role but also understands

the importance of getting

off-farm and spending

time with his wife and young

daughter.”

He has a good understanding

of feed management and

of the different feeds that are

coming in to the farm.

“Feed is really only used

to fill the gaps in the deficit

periods,” says Beagley.

“He has extremely high

animal performance, and a

high-quality herd.

“Christopher is keeping

himself engaged with the new

environment regulations that

are rolling out and staying

completely informed with

what is happening there.”

The Dairy Manager

judges were impressed by

the diverse make-up of the

finalists. “There were Kiwis,

Argentinians, Filipinos, male,

female.”

“Some of these immigrants

in the dairy industry

are still on work visas and

have been waiting for some

time to get their residency

tidied up. Because of the current

government inaction, it’s

been held up and isn’t happening,”

says Scott.

“These people are ready

to take the next step in their

careers, they have contracts

ready to sign, but can’t move

forward in their careers

because they are still on work

visas and are waiting and

waiting for their residency to

come through.”

The 2021 Dairy Trainee

of the Year was awarded to

Ruth Connolly from Waikato,

who is described by the

judges as a polished and

engaging person.

The Dairy Trainee judges

say Connolly stood out in the

practical and was outstanding

in the interview section.

“Ruth is passionate

about dairy farming and

is constantly pushing for

perfection,” says Dairy

Trainee head judge Tony

Finch from DairyNZ.

The judges described her

as articulate, considered and

concise with a broad understanding

of different industry

issues.

“Ruth has a huge love

and respect for the cows, the

land and the people,” says

judge Nicky Allomes from

Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa.

“She will lead by example

and will bring people into the

industry.”

Connolly’s passion for

the dairy industry as well as

her work ethic and trustworthiness

were noted by the

judges.

“She has an insatiable

thirst for knowledge which,

coupled with specific and

high-reaching goals, will

stand her in good stead,”

says fellow judge James

Courtman.

“Ruth is thankful and

blessed to be a New Zealand

dairy farmer.”

Connolly is Farm Assistant

on the Rukuhia Holdings

Ltd 259.6ha property at

Ohaupo, milking 800 cows.

The judges say all the

Dairy Trainee finalists possess

a strong appreciation for

mental health awareness and

a work-life balance and are

seeking further knowledge

through higher education.

MERIT AWARDS

DairyNZ Employee Engagement Award

Hayden Goodall

DeLaval Livestock Management Award

Christopher Vila

Fonterra Dairy Management Award

Stephanie Walker

LIC Interview Award

Mark Rivers

Meridian Leadership Award

Rachel Lind

NZDIA Power Play Award

Hayden Goodall

Continued on page 18

2021 NEW ZEALAND DAIRY

MANAGER OF THE YEAR:

• Winner – Christopher Vila, Waikato

• Runner-up – Hayden Goodall, Bay of Plenty

• Third – Diego Raul Gomez Salinas, Taranaki

Ravensdown Feed Management Award

Diego Raul Gomez Salinas

Westpac Personal Planning & Financial

Management Award

Karl Wood


TEMPORARYTSNZ

WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

17

Slow down through

work sites

Driven to Upskill

As part of their latest safety campaign,

WEL Networks are urging the public to

slow down through its work sites to keep

their teams safe.

The campaign aims to

remind drivers of the

importance of adhering

to traffic management instructions

which are in place

to protect the important work

that is being done on-site.

Each year 60 per cent of

the jobs WEL carries out are

roadside across its 6,800km

network.

Chief Executive Garth Dibley

says the company needs

the community’s help to bring

their teams’ home safely.

“Here at WEL, we prior-

itise the safety of our staff

and our community so

please slow down through

our work sites. It only takes

a speeding driver to lose

control or a moment’s inattention

to have tragic consequences.

Help us keep our

teams safe and follow all

traffic management instructions.

We want everyone to

get home safe, every day.”

Between 2015 to 2019,

WorkSafe reports that 69

per cent of New Zealand’s

work-related acute fatalities

were linked to vehicles.

HERE AT WEL, WE PRIORITISE THE

SAFETY OF OUR STAFF AND OUR

COMMUNITY SO PLEASE SLOW DOWN

THROUGH OUR WORK SITES. IT ONLY

TAKES A SPEEDING DRIVER TO LOSE

CONTROL OR A MOMENT’S INATTENTION

TO HAVE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES.

“Upskilling is encouraged

at WEL Networks,”

Electrical Fitter Bernard

Muzengeza says.

Bernard, who joined WEL

in July 2017, is currently

completing his Bachelor

of Engineering Technology

(Electrical) (Level 7).

“My ultimate goal is to be

part of the engineering team.

Whether that’s commissioning

or part of maintenance

services. Once I am focused

on my goal, I will achieve it,”

he says.

In 2019, Bernard completed

his New Zealand Certificate

in Electricity Supply

(Power Technician) Level 5

and in 2020, his New Zealand

Diploma in Engineering

(Electrical) Level 6.

“It’s a large workload but

I wouldn’t have it any other

way. Still working fulltime,

you have assignment deadlines

to meet, you’re on call

and you have family commitments

. . . it’s a juggling act

but it’s a worthwhile one,”

he says. The qualifications

and continued learning has

extended Bernard’s skill set

which he applies daily in the

field.

“I have learned so much.

I look at every project or job

that I am given from a different

perspective which adds to

the challenge. I’d encourage

others considering further

studies to pursue them. Any

other course you can do to

benefit you in your day-today

role, go for it. Don’t just

settle – life has more to offer,”

he says.

In 2019, Bernard was

named Trainee of the Year for

New Zealand’s Energy and

Telecommunications industries.

He also won the Connexis

ITO Advanced Trainee

of the Year award.

“It makes the hard work

worth it. It was humbling. I

didn’t expect it . . . it was a

great achievement just to be

recognised as a finalist. I was

thrilled and excited. It was

humbling. I’m really proud of

myself and my team.

“When you see your hard

work recognised, you’re given

this renewed energy to

keep going. It gives you that

drive to perform and do well.

As much as you are the one

taking the front and accepting

the awards . . . it’s just

as much a reflection on the

team. They have supported

me the entire way and they

continue to do so,” he says.

The challenge and

satisfaction of achieving

the results are just two of

the many aspects he enjoys

about his role.

“Conquering those challenges

keeps your adrenaline

going. It keeps your job interesting.

The people I get to

work with are amazing. It’s a

great team to be part of and

everyone is really easy to get

along with at WEL,” he says.

Check out vacancies at

careers.wel.co.nz.

- Supplied Copy

TSNZ

30


18 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

Share Farmers of the Year Sumit Kamboj and Manoj Kumar

Winning dairy manager

shows attention to detail

Dairy Trainee of the Year Ruth Connolly

From page 16

The 2021 Share Farmers

of the Year are

driven, professional and

high-achieving siblings who

benchmark excellence within

the industry.

Share Farmer head judge

Jacqui Groves, from Westpac,

says Manoj Kumar and Sumit

Kamboj impressed the judges

with glowing reports from

current and past employers

and employees.

“They have amazing relationships

with two sets of

owners, who really believe in

them.”

The judges were also

impressed with their on-farm

presentation, which used

drone footage from their family

farm in Northern India

MERIT AWARDS

to explain their history and

where they are from. “They

literally took us there.”

“We were pretty blown

away after meeting them,”

said Groves. “They became

‘our boys’ and they benchmarked

excellence.”

The brothers are 50/50

sharemilkers on Andrew and

Monika Arbuthnott, Geoff

Arends and Ester Romp’s

285ha, 460-cow Eketahuna

property.

Both Kumar and Kamboj

have entered the Awards previously,

with Kamboj placing

third in the 2018 Hawke’s

Bay/Wairarapa Dairy Manager

category.

They say entering the

Awards programme has created

an excellent network

within the industry and valuable

feedback from judges.

“We overcame the lack of

2021 NEW ZEALAND DAIRY

TRAINEE OF THE YEAR:

• Winner – Ruth Connolly, Waikato

• Runner-up – Dayna Rowe, Bay Of Plenty

• Third – Mattes Groenendijk,

Canterbury/North Otago

DairyNZ Practical Skills Award

Mattes Groenendijk

Federated Farmers Farming Knowledge Award

Ruth Connolly

DeLaval Communication & Engagement Award

Dayna Rowe

Best Video Award presented by Streamliner

Dayna Rowe

a network by engaging more

and more in dairy industry

events.

“The New Zealand dairy

farming system is totally different

from back home in India

and it really appeals to us.

To win the national title,

Kumar and Kamboj demonstrated

strengths in leadership,

health and farm safety,

business and community

engagement.

Fellow Share Farmer judge

Guy Michaels from DairyNZ

says the brothers demonstrated

involvement and leadership

in the local community

and in the dairy community.

“They have a willingness to

work with others to achieve

joint goals and advocate on

behalf of others,” he said.

An example of this was

the brothers assisting a family

in Wellington who had lost

employment due to Covid-19.

“They relocated the family

and encouraged them into a

role within the dairy industry.”

The judges also noted

that the brothers had a strong

health and safety culture

on-farm. “They have a long

history of recording incidents

and actually following

through with changes.”

Judge Guy Michaels from

DairyNZ noted how strong

the brothers were in their

community involvement and

leadership.

“They have promoted PrimaryITO

courses to everyone

in their community and have

offered up one of their buildings

to ensure the training

takes place.”

A strong message across

the first, second and third

positions was that there are

progression pathways in the

industry.

“The message I often hear

is that there aren’t any progression

pathways, it’s too

hard,” says John Numan. “But

there are.

“These people are achieving

it because they have the

right attitude that encourages

their employers to promote

and back them in their

business.

“There are four things

you need to progress, and

I call it the four A’s. Attention

to detail, ability to

save, ambition and attitude.

“If you’ve got those

things, and the respect of

the owner, you’ll go far.”

The judges also noted

a theme across the board

this year relating to the

strong connections between

farm owners, employers,

and staff.

“There’s a firm link

between farming and the

environment. It’s a generational

change, and the

message is that change is

coming, it’s normal and

accepted.”

“They’re discussing

environmental matters, sustainability

and recycling on

a daily basis and there’s a

general understanding of

greenhouse gases and environmental

biosecurity.”

The runners-up in the

Share Farmer of the Year

competition, Waikato sharemilkers

and equity partners

Reuben and Deb Connolly,

were described by the

judges as the epitome of a

young sharemilking couple.

“They are very thorough

and motivating,” says Jacqui.

“They’re a young couple

working hard and loving

every day of their life

with their family.”

The Connollys have

been 50/50 sharemilkers

and 20% equity partners

with John and Fiona

Worsnop on Woolly Farm

Ltd’s 110ha, 280-cow Otorohanga

property for the

past four seasons.

The judges noted they

have demonstrated real

passion for their cows and

breeding.

“They had KPIs of capaciousness,

fertility, udders

and environmental footprint,”

they said.

2021 NEW ZEALAND SHARE

FARMER OF THE YEAR:

• Winner - Manoj Kumar & Sumit Kamboj,

Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa

• Runner-Up- Reuben & Deb Connolly, Waikato

• Third - Andrea & Blair Muggeridge, Central Plateau

MERIT AWARDS

DairyNZ Human Resources Award

Andrea & Blair Muggeridge

Ecolab Farm Dairy Hygiene Award

John Wyatt

Federated Farmers Leadership Award

Manoj Kumar & Sumit Kamboj

Honda Farm Safety, Health & Biosecurity Award

Manoj Kumar & Sumit Kamboj

LIC Recording and Productivity Award

Reuben & Deb Connolly

Meridian Farm Environment Award

Andrea & Blair Muggeridge

Ecolab Interview Award

Katrina Pearson

Ravensdown Pasture Performance Award

John Wyatt

Westpac Business Performance Award

Manoj Kumar & Sumit Kamboj

2021 FONTERRA

RESPONSIBLE DAIRYING

AWARD:

Pete Morgan and Ann Bouma,

Waikato (see story, page 20)


WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

19

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20 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

Winning farmers willing to change

Two Waikato farmers have taken out

a prestigious Fonterra award for their

commitment to sustainability.

Pete Morgan and Ann

Bouma were named the

2021 Fonterra Responsible

Dairying Award winners

during the New Zealand Dairy

Industry Awards, held in May,

and received the John Wilson

Memorial Trophy.

The award was introduced

by the New Zealand Dairy

Industry Awards and Fonterra

to recognise dairy farmers

who demonstrate leadership in

their approach to sustainability

and who are respected by

their fellow farmers and their

community for their attitude

and role in sustainable dairying.

“We had three outstanding

finalists. For an award that

is choosing ambassadors for

the dairy industry we couldn't

have been more spoilt for

choice,” said judge Charlotte

Rutherford from Fonterra.

"Each and every one of

them had strong links the local

community and dairy community.

It was encouraging and

inspiring to see.

"Judging was quite challenging

and we have looked

at the industry-wide picture,

as they could all be ambassadors."

The judges said: “Pete and

Ann are very well-rounded

with a high-level of current

knowledge, especially around

climate change, their emissions

profile and tracking that

over time.”

They noted that Pete and

Ann know things will change

and want to be prepared to

change and that moral concern

is shifting.

“They look at what they

do, analyse it and will do it

differently if need.”

Fonterra CEO Miles Hurrell

congratulated Morgan and

Bouma, and also recognised

the other finalists, Philip and

Donna Cram and Chris and

Desiree Giles.

“People want to know

that their milk is coming from

farmers that care for the environment,

animals, people and

communities. Pete and Ann,

along with the other finalists,

are great examples of this in

action,” he said.

THEY LOOK AT WHAT THEY DO, ANALYSE

IT AND WILL DO IT DIFFERENTLY IF NEED

Pete Morgan and Ann Bouma, 2021 Fonterra Responsible Dairying Award winners

Lifetime award for Morrinsville farmer

A rural sector stalwart and mentor to many

has been recognised for his contribution

to the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards

programme.

Jeff Bolstad

Morrinsville farmer

Jeff Bolstad was

presented with a

Lifetime Contribution Award

by the New Zealand Dairy

Industry Awards Trust Chair

Natasha Tere, in recognition

for his long service and contribution

to the Dairy Industry

Awards and wider agriculture

sector.

“This is the first time this

award has been presented.

It’s a prestigious honour that

is awarded to an individual

that has provided exceptional

service to the New Zealand

Dairy Industry Awards.”

“We have chosen Jeff

as he has been a bonding

strength behind our organisation.

He is a quiet achiever

who has guided and mentored

many entrants over the

years,” Tere said.

“He has been a guiding

light, a father figure and confidante

to many while on their

awards journey.

“Jeff has no ego, just a

pure love and passion for

aspiring dairy farmers. He

has dedicated so much time

and energy to the awards

programme over the years,

through his involvement

on the Exec and behind the

IT’S A PRESTIGIOUS

HONOUR THAT IS

AWARDED TO AN

INDIVIDUAL THAT

HAS PROVIDED

EXCEPTIONAL

SERVICE TO THE

NEW ZEALAND

DAIRY INDUSTRY

AWARDS

scenes guiding, encouraging

and mentoring.”

Bolstad is a former Federated

Farmers’ Sharemilkers’

section chairman and

New Zealand Dairy Industry

Awards Executive member.

As the recipient of the

Lifetime Contribution

Award, he joins John Luxton,

Sir William Gallagher

and Professor Colin

Holmes who are the Trust’s

Lifetime Achievement

Award recipients.


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22 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

Better Eggs CEO Gareth van der Heyden (left) and shareholder

Paul van der Heyden planting trees at free range forest

Forest free-range farm

opens in South Waikato

A forest free-range farm has opened

near Tokoroa, pioneering sustainable

egg production in New Zealand.

The 139-hectare property

is set to become New

Zealand’s leading egg

production site as it develops

over the next five years

to ultimately be the home

of 320,000 laying hens free

ranging in the forest’s 90,000

native and exotic trees with

eight laying sheds. The site

will produce eggs under the

Heyden Farms Free Range

brand for egg producer and

supplier Better Eggs Limited.

Better Eggs Chief Executive

Gareth van der Heyden

said the forest free range

farm is an agroforestry venture

combining forestry and

poultry enterprise. The pine,

oak, poplar and eucalyptus

trees planted on the property

will be milled for timber or

pulp when they mature. The

growing trees will sequester

carbon.

“Better Eggs is a New Zealand

family-owned business

with strong family values.

These values are what have

led us to innovate a whole

new way of poultry farming in

New Zealand that will enable

the hens to live in a natural

environment from which they

originated, while producing

eggs in a sustainable manner.

“They will be able to roam

and scratch on the forest floor

in the shade, shelter and safety

provided by the trees and the

laying sheds are specially

designed to give the birds

natural light and ample space

to roam around in. We are

providing the birds with the

highest animal welfare and

hen enrichment standards. We

sought advice from Australia

and Europe that enables us to

exceed best practice in many

facets.”

The farm is highly automated,

enabling staff on site to

spend a greater portion of their

time caring for the hens. Eggs

are transported from the nesting

boxes via conveyor belts

to a robot that packs the eggs

into trays and pallets which

are then collected by trucks

for delivery to the existing

grading and distribution facility

nearby in Lichfield.

Local MP Louise Upston

says she is delighted to have

such a substantial and innovative

business expansion

in South Waikato. The forest

farm opened with 20,000

hens. When fully developed it

will employ around 15 people.

“It is fantastic to see this

significant investment in our

community which will bring

new jobs and opportunities to

THEY WILL BE ABLE TO ROAM AND

SCRATCH ON THE FOREST FLOOR

IN THE SHADE, SHELTER AND

SAFETY PROVIDED BY THE TREES

AND THE LAYING SHEDS ARE

SPECIALLY DESIGNED TO GIVE THE

BIRDS NATURAL LIGHT AND AMPLE

SPACE TO ROAM AROUND IN.

the South Waikato. With this

long term investment the van

der Heyden family is demonstrating

their commitment to

our community,” said Upston.

Van der Heyden said the

land for the forest farm was

purchased in early 2018 and

the first shed was completed

in late 2020. The second shed

Shed under construction

is scheduled to be completed

in 2022 and tree planting for

shed three will get underway

in September 2021.

Better Eggs is the combination

of three family-owned

poultry farms, Heyden Farms

Limited, Henergy Cage-Free

Limited and Rasmusen’s

Poultry Farm Limited.

Tree planting is well underway


WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

23


24 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

Duo on a mission: Time right for rainwater

harvesting tank startup

A Waikato startup is catching the

wave of water conservation awareness

as householders turn to its practical,

attractive solution.

Designer Tanks, founded

in 2019, is poised to

further boost sales after

attracting investment from

NZX-listed Just Life Group.

The rainwater harvesting

tanks, imported from Germany,

come in a range of shapes and

styles and in a complete kit

ready for the householder to

install. Buyers can easily connect

the Graf above-ground

tanks to downpipes and then

use the gravity-fed supply to

water their gardens.

Co-directors Chloe Barrott

and Ingrid Cook say they have

been seeing people’s mindset

changing in the short time

since they have been operating

from their Rukuhia base.

The two Cambridge women

say most customers are retro-fitting

the tanks out of conservation

awareness or in order

to keep watering their garden

during restrictions.

Barrott describes the process

as a change management

exercise. “What we're saying

is, rainwater is free! It's crazy

how much of it goes down the

drain when it could be saved

and used,” she says.

“But the solution doesn't

have to be ugly. A lot of it is

change management. It's about

taking people on the journey.”

Cook says they are seeing

particularly strong interest

in the Bay of Plenty, with its

stringent water restrictions,

and at the recent Tauranga

Home Show they sold almost

everything on their stand.

Home shows have proved a

happy hunting ground for the

pair, who are now also set to

support one of their partners at

Fieldays, sharing a stand with

tiny home company Amazing

Spaces.

“Each time we attend a

show, we notice how much

people's mindset has changed,”

Barrott says. “Now what we're

finding is people are saying,

‘oh, I've been looking for you,

this is such a good idea’.”

Cook says that includes

one woman who had seen

their social media feed and

sought them out. “She couldn't

look at anything else in the

show until she'd seen us.

She bought two tanks.”

Styles range from the

Antique Amphora terracotta

urn shape to the Silver and

Lava cylindrical stone look,

and the Barrica, which resembles

a wine barrel.

There is also an unobtrusive

brick wall style that takes show

visitors by surprise when they

realise its function.

Many of the tanks have a

planter cup on the top that can

be used to grow plants in them.

The investment by Just

Life, which has bought a 60

percent stake, not only injects

funds for increasing product

volumes but also provides

valuable support in marketing

and logistics.

The two women say Just

Life founder and chief executive

Tony Falkenstein has

also given hands-on support,

attending the Tauranga Home

Show and talking to customers.

“He’s genuinely really

interested, and the whole

management team at Just Life

Group are wonderful, positive

people to be around.”

The firm sits under GOAM

(Girls on a Mission) which is

about women helping women.

“There are so many women

who leave the workforce to

raise a family and lose their

confidence along the way. We

really want to help upskill and

provide a supportive environment

for people to grow.”

The impetus for Designer

Tanks came from Barrott’s

experience in 2018 of Outward

Bound, where as part

Ingrid Cook and Chloe Barrott with one of their Amphora tanks.

of the Solo Expedition the

attendees bring their human

waste back to Anakiwa for

recycling so it is fit for drinking.

One of the leaders said he

didn’t want to be telling his

children in 10 years’ time that

they used to use drinking water

to flush toilets.

“It just sat with me for

ages and to be honest, it still

hasn't left me,” Barrott says. “I

thought, there's got to be a way

to at least contribute to this in

a sustainable way, and a way

that most people would want

and can afford and is helping at

least a little bit. I didn't see why

it needed to be ugly.”

That led her to sharing the

story with Cook who, similarly

keen on the conservation message,

was quick to join her in

the formation of GOAM and

Designer Tanks.

“Sustainability, getting

back to the basics of doing

your own garden and growing

your own veggies, that's really

important as we move forward

in this day and age - and

rainwater is the best thing for

plants,” Barrott says

Cook adds: “Rainwater is

free, everyone should really be

collecting it.”

• You can find Chloe and

Ingrid with some of their

tanks while helping Amazing

Spaces at Fieldays site

RL58 from June 16-19.

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WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

25

UNWANTED

VISITORS

Rural properties are fast becoming the

main target for criminals – especially when

the majority of farms have their own fuel

tank to service their on-farm vehicles.

Roger Bull, Managing

Director of Smartway

Security Services said

“With the even higher prices

of fuel now there has been a

spike in the number of Rural

Properties experiencing thefts

from tanks. Luckily there are

also a growing number of

technology applications that

can help prevent it”.

WE HAVE HAD A LOT

OF SUCCESS WITH

THESE SYSTEMS”

SAID ROGER, “WHICH

GIVE THE RURAL

OWNERS PEACE OF

MIND THAT THEY

WILL BE ALERTED

WHEN THERE IS A

PROBLEM.

Smartway Security has

been operating for over 18

years and their clients and

services range from large

International Corporations

to Farms, Business & Home

alarms that are also monitored,

along with CCTV and

other Security Products. They

have also installed CCTV

into a national chain of Tyre

Stores with over 90 branches

mainly for Health and Safety

purposes.

A major growth area has been

identified for on-farm security

and Smartway have developed

various methods of protecting

farms - such as:

• Fuel tank alert systems that

will notify the farm house

when someone is in the

vicinity of or obtaining at

the fuel tanks. In addition

they can add a module that

sends a txt message to the

farmer when the hose is

activated as an additional

alert.

• Our Wireless Gate Beams

are solar powered so no

local power is necessary,

these report back to a base

station in the farm house

which can be up to 800m

away (line of sight) – when

connected with a CCTV

System they can also send

an email alert.

• CCTV Cameras that

can read a number plate

regardless of headlights

or spotlights on a vehicle

and cameras that “see in

the dark” and can revolve

around the yard to cover

implement sheds etc.

• GPS Tracking devices that

can be installed on tractors,

quad bikes and other vehicles.

• On Farm Wireless communication

networks.

“We have had a lot of

success with these systems”

said Roger, “which give the

rural owners peace of mind

that they will be alerted when

there is a problem.”

Smartway also has their

High Tech CCTV Surveillance

Truck they can bring

out to you and show you the

cameras in action. It is far

superior to see the screen with

the camera looking at your

own driveway than a picture

of that camera on a piece of

paper! This vehicle is a one of

a kind and well worth a look.

So there we have it,

whether it is for Health &

Safety or Security, or just

simple staff training, a good

CCTV System can save you

lots of money! So if you

are interested in having one

installed at your place, get in

touch with us today for a free

demo of our state-of-the-art

systems.

For more information contact

Roger on 0800 93 63 63.


26 WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

PUBLISHER

Deidre Morris

Ph: (07) 838 1333

Mob: 027 228 8442

Email: deidre@dpmedia.co.nz

EDITOR

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Novel mitigations to minimise

nitrogen loss

By Bala Tikkisetty

Sustainable agriculture advisor at

Waikato Regional Council

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Winter is upon us, and while it can

pose a significant challenge for nutrient

management, some simple actions can

reduce winter nutrient loss.

Slow growth of pasture in

winter and drainage can

result in nitrate leaching

directly from fertiliser before

plants can take it up. This

means the risk of nitrogen

leaching from urine patches is

much higher in winter.

Nitrogen leaching not only

contaminates water bodies

but also represents a loss of

economically valuable nutrients.

Most nitrogen is leached

during winter and early spring

when rainfall exceeds evapo-transpiration.

Generally,

the pasture species are not

active during low temperatures

adding to the potential

for nitrogen loss through

leaching.

Some of the research to

mitigate the nitrogen losses

has focused on growing pasture

with more rooting depth

for interception of nitrate,

duration-controlled grazing

for reducing the amount of time

animals spend on pasture, and

feeding high sugar grasses for

reducing the dietary protein.

In recent years, plantain was

well researched for increasing

dry matter production and

reducing urinary nitrogen concentration.

Recently, a Lincoln

grazing study showed about 11

per cent greater milk solids production

per day in late lactation

combined with a 56 per cent

reduction in urinary nitrogen

concentration from cows grazing

pure plantain, in comparison

with irrigated perennial ryegrass

and white clover pastures.

Further, nitrogen fertiliser

reduces nitrogen fixation by

clover by about one kg N/ha/

year for every three kilograms

of nitrogen fertiliser applied.

In addition, clover content will

be further reduced if nitrogen

boosted pastures shade the clover.

This effect is seen during

spring. Understanding the relationship

between time of feeding

and subsequent nitrogen

excretion may enable the development

of better farm management

strategies to reduce greenhouse

gas output.

A recent research trial

revealed that the peak urine

volume occurred eight hours

post feeding and the lowest

urine volumes occurred

immediately prior to feeding.

Animals fed both in the morning

and afternoon excreted

approximately 60 per cent of

their urine volume and total

urea within 12 hours of being

offered fresh feed.

This interesting work suggests

that shifting animals to

new pasture late in the afternoon

would result in more urinary

nitrogen being deposited

at night when lower ambient

temperatures should lead to

reduced volatilisation and

lower N2O production.

Due to the prolonged dry

spell last season, nitrate poisoning

can result from high nitrate

levels in feed and it usually

occurs in late autumn. This is

particularly during a flush of

growth. Nitrate levels build up

in herbage when nitrate is taken

by the plant faster than it can be

converted into protein. Toxicity

risk progressively increases

with high soil nitrogen from

various sources.

It is important for farmers to

get clear advice about the risks

involved with winter nitrogen

applications.

From a technical perspective,

all farmers need to understand

the term “response rate”.

The response rate is the

amount of pasture grown in

terms of kilograms of dry matter

per hectare per kilogram

of nitrogen (N) applied. For

example, when 30 kg N/ha is

applied and an additional 300

kg DM/ha of pasture is grown

the response rate is 10 kg DM/

kg N applied. The response is

dependent on several factors

such as soil temperature, plant

growth, soil moisture, the deficiency

of available nitrogen in

the soil and the rate of nitrogen

applied per application.

The profitability of applying

nitrogen is dependent on

the utilisation of the extra feed.

Therefore, nitrogen needs to be

strategically applied to fill genuine

feed deficits.

• Bala Tikkisetty is a sustainable

agriculture advisor

(technical) at Waikato

Regional Council. Contact

him on bala.tikkisetty@

waikatoregion.govt.nz or

0800 800 401.

Be cohesive - look

at the big picture

By Jacqueline Hahn

President Waikato Federated Farmers

As a Federated Farmers Provincial

President, the main part of my role is trying

to express the majority of our members’

viewpoints; these incorporate many

different businesses, and many different

stages in those businesses.

Our members include

employees, farm business

owners, contractors

and sharemilkers, lessors

and lessees, retirees, those

that service our businesses

or have business on rural

properties or just own rural

property.

We consider the effects on

our wider communities, we

have families and partners

working in urban centres, we

simply must avoid thinking

in a silo at all costs.

We look for the most efficient

way of getting to the

end goal; is it a public good

or a private good, should it be

user pays or all contribute -

or a mixture of the two?

We have been doing this

for over 75 years and I think

we are getting good at it; the

modern federation has protocols

around being fact-based,

expectations of good practices

by members, along with

mandated frequent change

in leadership and succession

helps to refresh diversity of

thought.

New Zealand has a poor

record of planning future

focussed infrastructure. The

three waters infrastructure

buyback may be an attempt

- but no detail is given to

know the real costs that are

shifted from Councils, to

who and how?

The common mistake

by government is to

look at our income and

UNTIL WE STOP,

PLAN AND MAP

OUT HOW WE FIX

TRAFFIC, LIVING,

COMMUNITY AND

LIVING FLOWS, WE

WILL NOT REDUCE

OUR NEED FOR

MORE LAND FROM

AGRICULTURE.

ignore the expenditure.

This current generation

of agribusiness is facing fixing

and paying for activities

of the past several hundred

years of lack of planning, not

only in our own businesses,

but the wider general public’s

as well.

That comes through a

broken rating system, unimplementable

high-cost regulations,

signalling of harsh

allocation limits, and paying

to prove you are not

guilty. Despite good prices

in many products, people

are exiting farming.

Our productive farmland

is being swallowed by forest

carbon schemes or urban

sprawl that ensures that land

is never available again for

anything else.

Yet another sign of abysmal

planning, and no plan in

the Budget to halt this; this

simply shows the lack of

planning continues.

Until we stop, plan and

map out how we fix traffic,

living, community and living

flows, we will not reduce our

need for more land from agriculture.

We will simply need more

and more, and all the stuff

we hope to fix by rules won’t

happen.

We need to be cohesive -

look at the big picture.


WAIKATO AGRIBUSINESS NEWS June 2021

27

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