Just the ticket

In part two of a series looking at different pathways to farm ownership Anne Calcinai looks at the leasing and contracting routes. Pathway to farm ownership

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  • Going FAR for farmers

    It is 20 years this week since formal practical research was initiated for the New Zealand arable industry.

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  • Stacking the numbers up

    The beef market has been fascinating over the past six months. This time last year New Zealand farmers thought their dreams would come true if the beef schedule reached $5.00/kg, never thinking it would exceed $6.00/kg. 

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  • Methodical approach a winner

    An analytical approach has won northern Wairarapa farmers Lucy and Robert Thorneycroft the 2015 Keinzley AgVet Wairarapa Farm Business of the Year Award.

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  • The accidental farmer

    Invercargill’s Brian Hughes did not intend for agricultural contracting to be a pathway to farm ownership. In fact if he hadn’t been made redundant he might not have been a farmer at all.

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Going the whole hog

A record number of people turned out for the Lincoln University Foundation South Island Farmer of the Year winner’s field day last month.

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  • Mum’s the word

    Seems even the most isolated farming mums can now be connected through the Facebook page, Farming Mums NZ.

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  • The road to disaster

    Maybe the sat nav was to blame. It probably didn’t mention the compulsory stop to check for oncoming traffic at the intersection before directing a left-hand turn.

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  • Fatal attraction

    Foreign drivers should be commended for taking in New Zealand’s scenery but unfortunately they have a bad habit of stopping in the middle of the road to do it. An Otago farmer, whose sheepyards are close to a highway told me tourists were often stopping to take photos when sheep were brought in. 

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  • Heart of the village

    Benneydale residents and passers-by no longer have to look far for a relaxing cuppa or good, homemade fare to satisfy their hunger.

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High and dry

A season of hope has transpired into one of fizzle and frizzle. Docking a true lambing percentage of 162% was a highlight but we seem to have failed to really capitalise on the effort with the season turning so dry. 

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  • Let the games begin

    For many of you hard-working farmers it might seem as though we students are constantly enjoying summer holidays, mid-semester breaks, long weekends and mid-year vacations. Unfortunately at some stage we do have to head back to uni for a spot of study. 

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  • Leading from the front

    The success of any organisation, industry or movement is often defined by the quality of its leader. Bookshelves around the country must be jam-packed full of literary nonsense that claim to be able to teach you the skills required to achieve such a status in a matter of months. It is an age-old debate about what makes a good leader, a debate that can be summarised into two schools of thought. 

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  • Escape to paradise

    I guess I should mention the drought. I have been expecting the imminent arrival of rain for months now and have been confident enough to buy-in lambs. However, my confidence is beginning to waver and if we don’t get any autumn respite this event will likely break all previous drought records. I won’t bore you with our drought management strategies – it all seems like deja vu.

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  • The meat in the sandwich

    There is a bloke in Queenstown who knows a thing or two about branding. Not scorching a cattle beast’s hide but creating and maintaining a business reputation so skilfully that his products sell themselves. 

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Udder ideas

Four years ago Stephen and Bev Rabbidge and their family decided to convert 72ha of their sheep farm near Wyndham, Southland,  to dairying. The decision to establish the 180 cow dairy unit, one of the key elements of the family’s succession plan, was a considered one. All the family members were involved and the move was only made after all the options were examined. 

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  • Flock functionality

    Commercial farmers believe breeding ewes need to be functionally sound if they’re to maintain their profitability in New Zealand’s mainly hill-country environments.

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  • Grazing the stakes

    Heifers are the future of dairy herds and an important income stream for many drystock farmers.

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  • The graze that pays

    Murray and Janet Easton’s King Country farm is one of five focus farms in the Heifer Grazing Project. Anne Calcinai paid a visit to findout how they consistently grow out quality heifers for the dairy industry and how the heifers fit alongside a commercial sheep operation.

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Potential yet to be reaped

Fodder beet crops offer so much potential but a group of farmers in the Canterbury foothills are finding these crops don’t always meet their expectations.

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  • Gunning for persistence

    There is no silver bullet or bullet-proof ryegrass when it comes to pasture persistence.

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  • Covering the field

    Demand is building for annual clover seed and farmers are seeking more legume options according to seed suppliers.

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  • Quest for the holy grail

    It is a hard road to finding a silver bullet for pasture persistence but a Southland farmer is giving it a good go. Terry Brosnahan reports.

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  • Addressing persistence issues

    Lack of persistence in ryegrass pastures has long been a bone of contention among dryland sheep farmers but ten southern farmers are seeking to address the issue.

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Yield options cropping up

An increasing world population coupled with decreasing land and water resources is putting pressure on wheat growers to lift yields.

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  • Doing a double take

    It seems two bites of the cherry are possible. Lincoln University research is showing that dual-purpose crops may have real grazing potential as well as other benefits. Sandra Taylor reports.

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  • Going FAR for farmers

    It is 20 years this week since formal practical research was initiated for the New Zealand arable industry.

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  • Kiwi smashes world barley record

    Timaru farmer Warren Darling set his mind on a new world barley growing record after going close last season without really trying.

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  • Positive spin on rotations

    Rather than thinking about returns from individual crops, growers should be thinking in two-to three-year time frames to increase the profitability of a paddock.

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Set in motion

A traditional reciprocating internal combustion engine uses valves to control air and fuel flow into and out of the cylinders, enabling combustion. Quintin Boyd and James Hoban explain the mechanics.

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  • History gets parked up

    I’ve driven from Mosgiel to Outram on State Highway 87 many times and yet I never really took much notice of the old buildings sitting above the Outram Bridge which spans the Taieri River. Turn off the highway at the George King Memorial Dr signpost and take a step back in time at the Taieri Historical Society and the Otago Vintage Machinery Club’s shared historical park.

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  • Big wheels rolling

    "It’s a labour of love really.” 

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  • Double the deal

    One optional extra which requires careful thought in any tractor purchase is the addition of dual wheels.

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  • A rare old time

    The Spark family collection is something of a landmark at Rangiora in Canterbury. It includes a large vintage tractor and machinery museum as well as every other imaginable example of rural New Zealand history.

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Scorched earth policies

Otago is experiencing the region’s driest spell in more than 25 years according to one long-time cropping farmer. 

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  • New consent era looms

    Farmers in Canterbury’s orange nutrient allocation zones now have less than a year to obtain a resource consent to farm if their nitrogen losses exceed 20kg per hectare a year on a farm larger than 50ha. The new regulations come into effect on January 1, 2016.

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  • Singing like a canary

    A lack of clover in the sward could well be an indication that soils are deficient in molybdenum.

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  • The desperation and the inspiration

    January generally means for me a month of trying to catch up on some pruning without too many distractions. However, this year after a very growthy November-December, it has been a month of all-out war – against blackberry. It is being fought on the newly planted areas and in the stands being pruned. 

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  • Devil in the data

    Marc Roberts understands North Canterbury weather patterns as well as anyone. His grandfather began recording rainfall at Riverside in Amuri in 1916. Marc’s father continued the recording before Marc took the task on in 1968. With only a brief period of missing data during World War II, the Riverside site offers a valuable long-term record for NIWA.

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The power of Ten

Microsoft hopes to regain popularity this year with the release of Windows 10, their new flagship and cross-platform operating system – go to bit.ly/1yeVTNO[http://bit.ly/1yeVTNO] for the quick guide.

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  • Watch this space

    It’s almost two years since I first wrote about alternatives to watching “regular” television as New Zealand converted to digital broadcasting. It’s fascinating to see how much the landscape has now changed.

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  • The Android invasion has begun

    I have recently bought a new Android smartphone with a five-inch screen. Bowing to failing eyesight, I decided to abandon my increasingly difficult-to-read old four-inch model. 

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  • Learning to share

    Even if you never use them, you’ve probably heard of the likes of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. But there are many lesser-known sites where you can also create a profile and share and connect with others. 

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  • The online talking point

    Last year blogs got into the news for all the wrong reasons when Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book led to questions about the sources certain bloggers used and their political bias.

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All hail the chief

Farming isn’t quite enough to keep John Foote busy. He’s also a firefighter, school bus driver and swimming pool technician in the small Otago town of Middlemarch. Words and photos by John Cosgrove.

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  • Mutch work pays off

    The flying Scotsman Gavin Mutch has made history in becoming the first international winner of the open shearing final at the Golden Shears.

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  • New consent era looms

    Farmers in Canterbury’s orange nutrient allocation zones now have less than a year to obtain a resource consent to farm if their nitrogen losses exceed 20kg per hectare a year on a farm larger than 50ha. The new regulations come into effect on January 1, 2016.

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  • When life gives you lemons

    Old-fashioned fruit cordial recipes, once a feature in vintage Country Women’s Institute recipe books, have found new life in Kate Connor’s beverage business.

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  • Standing the test of time

    Changing technologies and practices make farming today a very different scene to that experienced by earlier generations. Selling livestock by auction is one tradition still preferred by many farmers. This preference has helped keep the Ongarue Saleyards running for almost 100 years.

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Advancing the velvet cause

Public relations people usually come in shiny suits and the latest sports car – but Manawatu deer farmer Craig Hocken is the kind that wears Canterbury shorts and drives a deer cartage truck. 

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  • Skilled and streamlined

    At Alliance Group’s Makarewa venison plant the processing of deer is a streamlined operation employing about 55 skilled people during the peak November to February season. The time taken from animal delivery to chilled or frozen venison product dispatch is three days. Photo special by Lynda Gray.

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  • Growth rates plotted

    Growth curves have been developed for farmers to help monitor and compare the performance of their deer.

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  • No sitting on the fence

    Glen and Renee Harrex plan to fence their way to improved fawn survival.

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  • Brilliant velvet, weak venison prices

    It has been a tough start to the year for many non-velvet deer farmers, with dry conditions and a disappointing venison schedule combining to put pressure on pastures, budgets and patience.

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Head to Head: A comparison of dairy bull beef and traditional beef R2 finishing policies

Rising two-year dairy bull beef production is more efficient than rising two-year traditional beef steer production.

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  • AgInnovation bulks up

    Whether you are a stud breeder, commercial beef farmer, an established or aspiring farmer, there is something for everyone at this year’s AgInnovation.

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  • Black cattle blueprint

    Mendip Hills Station’s Simon Lee is in his eighth season as manager of the 6130ha property. He’s a fan of Hereford cattle but also a fan of hybrid vigour – thus the station’s slightly unusual cattle policy.

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  • Quiet achievers

    Twenty years of cross breeding commercial cattle has thrown up a genetic mix that suits Heughan and Carol Gordon’s Hawke’s Bay farming business.

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  • Balancing traits

    Genetic improvement relies heavily on achieving balanced change in all the traits that influence productivity and profitability. Unfortunately, genetic improvement is much more difficult to achieve than is genetic change.

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Hunger grows for sheep meat

Without a doubt it is the ramp-up in China’s hunger for New Zealand sheep meat that dominates the dynamics of the industry today. 

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  • Time to share the NZ story

    As one of five 2014 Nuffield New Zealand scholars I’m on an international study tour to broaden my understanding of global agriculture and trade. The knowledge I’m gathering will ultimately be shared with my fellow Kiwi farmers.

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  • Unbeetable potential

    Last season’s dry forced a Manawatu farmer to rethink the planned use of his fodder beet crop. The result was an unexpected lamb finishing strategy.

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  • Puberty under the microscope

    The effect of puberty on reproductive performance and improving embryo survival are just two of the sheep-related projects being undertaken by the AgResearch Animal Reproduction team at Invermay.

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  • Scope for beet in sheep systems

    The uptake of fodder beet in the South Island has been fierce.

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Top two inches the key

It is often said that New Zealand’s fortune lies in its top two inches of soil.

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Town and country grazing

Glengyle, a sheep and beef grazing unit located 35km south east of Dannevirke on Oporae Rd, Weber is for sale.

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  • Wintering on the Motu River

    Burnbrae Station, a sizeable breeding unit located five kilometres west of Matawai township – about halfway between Opotiki and Gisborne – is for sale.

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  • Hard work already done

    Mason Hills, a large North Canterbury sheep and cattle breeding property is for sale by auction. The 2542 hectare farm has been subject to a substantial recent improvement programme.

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  • Dry sees farms withdrawn

    At least five South Canterbury farms that were on the market in 2014 were temporarily withdrawn pre-Christmas. The main reason cited was the poor appearance of the farms with low pasture covers and struggling crops.

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  • Investment and recreational opportunities

    A 279 hectare forest and farm just 10km south of Cambridge offers investors a unique combination of investment and recreational opportunities.

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Irricon template gets ECan tick

Environment Canterbury (ECan) has approved another farm environment plan template under the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan. The template was developed by environmental consultants Irricon Resource Solutions.

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  • Fendt in top gear

    The Fendt 512 tractor, manufactured by AGCO Corporation, is proving its worth for Terry Aston and his employer Rick Coplestone of Stratford-based contractors Rick Coplestone Ground Spray. It was Aston who persuaded Coplestone to purchase the new Fendt tractor.

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  • Rural course revamp leads the way

    The highly-respected Kellogg Rural Leadership programme for 2015 has begun at Lincoln University with a new structure and fresh content. A group of 23 participants working within primary industries from around New Zealand started the revamped six-month course in late January. It includes three residential components and an industry-based project. 

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  • Recycling all wrapped up

    Onfarm recycling company Plasback is benefiting from an increase in business with its collection rates for used silage wrap climbing steadily.

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  • Primary industry set for take off

    While farmers and other agricultural industries have always been innovators and pioneers, many city dwellers still think of rural dwellers as tough, hardworking people who do without modern technologies such as smartphones, tablets and big screen TVs. The reality is quite different. These and an array of new and innovative technologies are now a vital component of most rural businesses. 

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