Staying vigilant

Recently my family and I managed to slip out of the country to *Bali for a holiday*. I wasn’t allowed to take my phone or any other technology, which made it a complete break.

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  • Life in motion

    Taupo, Tutira, Wanaka, Wairoa, Gisborne.

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  • Living history

    In 1864 carpenter Henry Trickett bought 40 hectares on the Canterbury Plains west of Christchurch, built a sod house, and so established the settlement of West Melton.

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  • Soldiering on

    For Andrew Gerritsen, checking the arcs of fire from behind his 7.62mm Light Support Weapon machine gun is now just as familiar as checking his cows every day.

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  • Kiwi talks trade at top table

    Later this month Canterbury farmer Craige Mackenzie will be flying to Des Moines, Iowa, to attend the Global Farmer Roundtable.

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The spirit of competition

Putting yourself and your business forward to be judged in a competition can be daunting, but as three Wairarapa farmers have found, the process can add significant value to your operation. *Rebecca Harper* reports. Photos by *Graeme Brown*.

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  • An industry step change

    Beef schedules are setting records this spring, with particular strength in manufacturing beef markets. Gross schedules for both steers and bulls reached $5.60/kg as of mid-October, and despite heavy shipments from Australia to the United States a beef supply gap in the US is forecast for 2015.

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  • Adding insult to injury

    After years of committee work *Roger Barton* still wonders if a common-sense approach to farm quad bike safety will ever happen.

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  • Lost opportunity?

    Strong offshore demand for young dairy stock and bull meat is not resulting in more dairy calves being raised in New Zealand. 

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  • Spinning a negative into a positive

    The aim of this wool industry series was to inform farmers ahead of the levy vote in October. It is a complicated subject and not everyone was happy with my digging, but my key observations are:

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Going places

This year has proven to be a busy one, mainly because I’ve been on two big overseas trips. The first was to Nepal – the second to France, Spain, Switzerland, and Austria.

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  • The starlight dairy express

    The magic Mackenzie Country is changing, and quickly. The milk tankers have arrived. Yesterday it was one, today two, tomorrow it’ll be many more. They cross the Mackenzie Basin like satellites crossing the night sky.

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  • Business plan for life

    It’s September 20, officially the day that I start lambing. Weather forecast, snow – typical. Thankfully it didn’t come to much. The snow was lying halfway up the farm in the morning but was gone by lunchtime.

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  • What about the worms?

    Dr Nicole Schon recently showed a group of farmers how to identify different earthworm species.

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  • Bravely suffering on

    Flatting as a student is a rite of passage and it can be a real experience. 

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Happy with the yield

The Sanson family have worked hard to improve genetics and find the best markets to optimise their profits from sheep farming.

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  • Family business delivers

    Table32 A breeding programme focused on putting early pressure on potential breeding stock is delivering the goods for a southern Rangitikei family.

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  • Unlocking sheep performance

    The “Woodstock theory” of free love in the ewe flock at Anawai Station has had its time.

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  • Spring feed supply

    I was recently involved with an animal welfare investigation – not for the first time, but it was the first time on an operational farm as opposed to a lifestyle or a part-time farming set-up.

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  • Increasing growth rate to weaning

    Farms from across the country will be in all stages of lambing now.

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Group turns to fodder beet

With the Canterbury Beef Profit Partnership participants achieving an impressive 24% in productivity gains over four years, Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is now supporting the group’s evolution into the Fodder Beet Profit Partnership.

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  • Summer turnips not just for the cows

    Competitive banter and one-upmanship aside, dairy farmers have some interesting practices.

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  • Code of practice stacking up

    The Code of Practice for the Trading of Pasture and Whole Crop Forage Crops got the thumbs-up at an official launch at the Rural Contractors New Zealand (RCNZ) conference recently.

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  • Beeting the costs

    Figure3 Reducing establishment costs while increasing crop yield were the two prime objectives of a fodder beet trial in Manawatu over the 2013-14 growing season.

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  • All systems go

    There are many good reasons why Justin King and partner Meg Campion are happy to contract graze dairy heifers on their 1100ha property – Brookwood, in Takapau. 

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Drying and storing grain

Successful storage of grain and seed begins at harvest.

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A reasonably simple job

If any machine is not running as it should, the fuel lines and carburettor are often good places to consider.

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  • Playing it cool

    An Irish innovation is opening up opportunities for establishing maize earlier in cooler parts of New Zealand.

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  • The right stuff

    Keeping the machines of primary industry well lubricated and running smoothly is key to getting the job done. *James Hoban* provides advice.

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  • Syndicate ventures

    Machinery syndicates have evolved over time and range from sharing equipment with neighbours to extensive contracting businesses with shared ownership.

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  • Learn not to burn

    With the price of fuel an increasing onfarm cost Country-Wide has 14 tips to help understand and maximise efficiency when using a tractor.

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In the firing line

Dryland sheep-and-beef farmers in the Hurunui-Waiau region of Canterbury will be hardest hit by nutrient regulations decided upon by Environment Canterbury (ECan).

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  • Seeing the wood for the trees

    Life is full of questions and as I write this I am wondering who will be the next Minister of Forestry. Will it be someone with real interest and enthusiasm or will forestry just be trainer wheels for a new entrant to Cabinet?

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  • Check bulls for disease

    If you’re thinking about buying or leasing bulls, one of the most important things to consider is the risk that the animal could be infected with bovine tuberculosis (TB).

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  • Pastoral farming outside the square

    For the first time one of New Zealand’s largest corporate farming operations will open its gates and share its knowledge to farmers, scientists, and agricultural consultants at this year’s NZ Grassland Association’s annual conference.

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  • Onfarm mitigation

    Mitigation is possibly a word that conjures up even worse thoughts than nutrient management.

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Help thyself

I have a clever cartoon from the *xkcd.com* website pinned to my office wall.

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  • One out of the box

    I have retained an old-style box TV to the bitter end. After looking around I decided to really get with it so I bought a smart TV.

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  • Staying power

    My laptop battery needed replacing. It would not hold charge. My first reaction was that, because this particular laptop had rarely left the desktop let alone been used on battery power, why had it packed up?

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  • Apps retrieve the absent mind

    After looking at handy smartphone-tablet apps for the farm last month, this month I’m looking at other useful and fun apps.

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  • Passport to adventure

    I have recently renewed my passport to attend the 55th-year reunion of my veterinary graduation class. It is in Cooloongatta, Queensland at the end of October – eat your hearts out! 

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Surveying the progress

It was probably the biggest sheep farming innovation of the 1990s when ultrasound scanning equipment, as seen in hospitals and science labs, moved into New Zealand sheep yards.

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Figuring the feeding

Does the feeding of barley to hinds and fawns late in summer stack up?

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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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  • Smartfert trials advance to next stage

    A slow-release nitrogen fertiliser suitable for both crop and grassland application has taken a step closer to scientific sign-off with field trials due to commence in coming weeks.

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  • An attention to detail

    Looking for ways to increase efficiencies and productivity, while reducing inputs?

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  • Integrated data made easy

    An interactive farm management tool is changing the way farmers collect information, and is helping with management decisions.

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  • Irrigation advice distilled

    Long-line sprinklers are commonly used on areas unable to be covered by larger irrigators – they are also a common system on rolling irrigated country.

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Work in ‘paradise’

Sky Farm is a park of epic proportions and one of the finest and largest remaining sheep-and-beef farms on the Coromandel Peninsula, PGG Wrightson agent Andrew Fowler says.

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  • Cropping, finishing and hunting

    Malachy Farms is strategically located between Duddings Lake and Lake Vipan, 14km from Marton and Bulls on State Highway 3 near Turakina.

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  • Large Manawatu-Wanganui farms wanted

    The Manawatu-Rangitikei Bayleys team has had some significant sales this year, Bayleys Manawatu-Rangitikei country team leader Dean File said. This includes the 4839ha Mangaohane Station at Taihape.

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  • Buying tips

    The election result means plenty to rural real estate.

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  • Two Taupo blocks

    Two blocks of land at Taupo suitable for finishing or dairy grazing blocks are on the market.

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Sheep measles blowout a nasty surprise

No matter how diligent farmers are when it comes to worming their dogs, all it takes is one untreated canine on the property to cause a nasty surprise on the lamb killing sheets.

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  • Irrigator to pump up South Island Field Days

    When South Island Agricultural Field Days opens at its new home near Kirwee in March next year, the site will feature a half-circle centre-pivot irrigator to ensure a good crop of grass for harvest equipment demonstrations.

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  • AgMech offer extended

    A spring finance offer from drill maker Duncan Ag has been so well received by farmers the company has extended the deal to cover its newly acquired AgMech range as well.

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  • New feed range

    Australian animal nutrition specialist BEC Feed Solutions has launched Sustenhance, a premium nutritional supplement designed to offer top of the range feed solutions for smaller farming customers, horse and poultry owners, and hobby farmers.

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  • Do it right

    A mix of livestock management and good weather watching will ensure farmers get the best drymatter response and achieve the best in animal performance results from their fertiliser application.

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