Right on target

Financial planning and budgeting may seem daunting prospects but they can make all the difference to a farm business. Anne Calcinai does the sums.

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  • Levy payers get their say

    Large farmers may get the most votes in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand levy referendum but their influence is balanced. The vote – asking farmers if they want to continue funding the industry organisation for the next six years – needs to pass on two counts.

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  • Simple changes, bigger returns

    As farm consultants we are often asked to review a farm system to see whether or not the farm is operating at or near the optimal level. Often there is an underlying pressure such as high debt that requires the farm to be generating good income just to service the needs of the family as well as the institution lending the money. 

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  • High dry and wide scanning results

    From Southland to the North Island, scanning results from New Zealand’s ewe flocks have varied in most regions this season. In the drought-affected areas – Maniatoto, North Canterbury and parts of the North Island’s east coast – there have been a higher number of drys scanned than usual.

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  • Two of a kind

    Twenty-five years of groping in the dark for an optimal structure – for a sense of identity even – has left the meat industry with one enduring certainty: without the merger of the two big co-operatives nothing’s going to happen.

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A howling success

Why are women reluctant to celebrate their business success?

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  • Out-takes

    Plastic fantastic

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  • Cup runneth over

    A Gisborne training farm is giving its supporters a chance to enjoy a fun, social afternoon away from the farm or office. Celebrating Melbourne Cup day in style, the Waipaoa Calcutta is a major fundraising event for the Waipaoa Station Farm Cadet Training Farm and a great networking opportunity for the rural community and local businesses.

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  • Duntroon’s smithy forges ahead

    On the way from Oamaru to Omarama on State Highway 83 you will pass through Duntroon and its latest attraction – Nicol’s Blacksmith Shop. 

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  • Lofty logic

    With water quality pressure mounting, a “fly on the wall” story from one of NZ’s less popular regional councils is timely. The defiance of logic in some of the regulations to emerge from these ivory towers has been known to exasperate those who live in the affected communities.

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The old snow job

When convincing my North Island hubby to buy a farm in the south I may have been light on details of what a southern winter is really like. 

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  • Trying times

    Before the dairy payout dropping to serious belt-tightening levels I managed to persuade my partner that a trip to Melbourne – and the second State of Origin game – would be a fabulous wee winter break. 

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  • Reeling in the year

    As a first-year student at university it is safe to say the Lincoln experience is like no other. A lot might have changed over the years but R M Williams boots and Norsewear jerseys still seem to be in abundance and Springer nights are still going strong. 

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  • No going back

    The big challenge for us last year was to improve our environmental footprint as well as cut costs in a low payout year.

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  • Coming in from the cold

    Keeping inside from snow showers offers the perfect opportunity to describe the difficult winter and in fact difficult 12 months we’ve experienced in the south. The easiest way is to reveal my winter stocking numbers compared to last year as an indication of the time we’ve had. 

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Cheating misfortune

A hard-working Gisborne farming couple have had a reality check which made them change tack. Russell Priest checks out their new course. Photos by Jo Ware.

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  • Compromise the key

    I was at a meeting of sheep breeders recently and felt like a pariah. I suggested to them unless their clients knew how to manage a sheep flock then the potential of the genetics bought would not be realised. I added that lifting the pregnancy scanning of a ewe flock is relatively easy through management yet changing ram source is the most common action to take. 

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  • Bigger or fatter?

    I’ve got feedback that I didn’t make myself quite clear in my last column about the size of animals and how that affects their feed requirement, as well as the impact fatness has on this. I’ll try to clarify here and please keep the feedback coming in.

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  • No silver bullet

    There is no single formula for deciding the best approach to worm control. The latest research into the production and cost benefits of pre-lamb ewe drenching has highlighted the complexity of drenching decisions. The Wairarapa trials – aiming to measure the benefits of various drench treatments in pregnant ewes – also reignited debate over the use of controlled release capsules and long-acting products.

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Pasture development powers station

It is 12 years since the Macdougalls and their hill-country development work on Minzion Station appeared in Country-Wide. Terry Brosnahan revisited the Macdougalls and found while the grass is growing under their feet they

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  • Hot potato pest covered

    Research on using non-chemical methods to control potato pests is delivering groundbreaking results. A newly published paper from the Biology Husbandry Unit Future Farming Centre and Lincoln University, detailing the results of field trials shows the use of a mesh cover over the plants was effective in controlling tomato potato psyllid (TPP) as well as reducing potato blight.

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  • Hitting pay dirt

    The owners of a Northland farm recently teamed up with Ballance Agri-Nutrients to show that by lifting soil fertility more feed can be grown, stock performance can be lifted and most importantly, farm profitability improved. Russell Priest reports.

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  • Precision aerial spreading has landed

    New technology in topdressing planes is one of the outcomes of Ballance Agri-Nutrient’s Clearview Innovations Primary Growth Partnership programme with the Ministry for Primary Industries, which aims to improve onfarm nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiency and reduce losses to the environment.

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  • Swede feed factors must be managed

    Industry body DairyNZ is advising farmers to focus on managing a number of factors involved in feeding swedes this season, including the proportion of swede that makes up the diet of their cows.

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Profiting from nature

Simon Osborne aspires to be a sheep farmer but while that hasn’t eventuated he has plan B well-implemented. Photos and story by Annette Scott.

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  • The low-technology road

    High-tech advances in artificial intelligence-driven weeding technologies are coming out of Europe but researchers warn they may not be the most  effective way to go for non-chemical weed control methods to replace ineffective herbicides. 

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  • Future genetic gains

    Delegates at the Foundation for Arable Farming’s annual conference in late July gained some tantalising insights into future productivity gains and they weren’t all about arable either. Andrew Swallow reports.

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  • Biopesticide has plantain moth in its sights

    AgResearch scientists are a step closer to combating the plantain moth – Scopula rubraria – with a natural insecticide.

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  • Saving the soil

    Soil damage and increased nitrate losses are part of the collateral damage when grazing dairy cattle. This damage can affect yields in subsequent crops.

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New gear rolls out

As always seems to be the way in an Agritechnica year John Deere has unveiled a mind-boggling array of new products that are due to appear on the market in 2016. After a sneak preview Country-Wide’s British-based writer Nick Fone rounds up a few of the highlights.

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  • Tractor sales lose traction

    Tractor sales dropped by 17% in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year but indications of a strong recovery over the long term were apparent, according to the Tractor and Machinery Association (TAMA).

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  • Tracking right with TracMap

    A large Taranaki agricultural contracting business is finding GPS and cloud-based technology has virtually eliminated error from its day-to-day activities. Riverlea Contractors operate more than 16 tractors and trucks and two self-propelled harvesters. The company, owned by Mike and Charlie Silson, employs up to 21 staff in the peak season. 

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  • Metal lovers spoilt for choice

    British machinery writer *Nick Fone* was at this year’s Cereals UK and took a close look at the machinery on offer.

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  • Get the best from sprayers

    Agricultural sprayers present a significant investment. Make sure you get the best solution with these tips for choosing the right sprayer, and advice on maintenance and operating. Price range is an important element in buying a sprayer. The balance of quality and affordability depends on the work it will have to do. One popular way to balance purchase price with capacity is to go for a relatively large, used machine.

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Not too hot to handle

MetService meteorologist Georgina Griffiths declared in July, “We have a major El Nino in play”, warning “farmers need to monitor this”. Why? Because east of New Zealand’s main mountain ranges El Nino spells drought. Andrew Swallow explores ways to lessen the impact.

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  • Ticking all the boxes

    Hawke’s Bay farmers Simon and Josi Beamish tick all the boxes for wise land use on their Whanawhana farms. That’s why they won this year’s Pan Pac Hawke’s Bay Farm Forester of the Year award.

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  • An unwelcome tide

    In last month’s column on the National Environmental Standard (NES) I mentioned problems relating to severe erosion and debris flows from freshly harvested, steep, erosion-prone hill-country forests. Since that column was written in early July there has been more information and discussion on this issue.

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  • Nutrient rules not holding water

    Regulations are continually being imposed on New Zealand agriculture in the name of protecting water quality. The water quality message has been so pervasive that it is accepted by both farmers and the public at large without question. 

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  • Template for success

    Farmers across Canterbury have enjoyed farm environment plan (FEP) workshops over the past two months. Thirteen workshops have been held across the region with farmers using the opportunity to complete a unique FEP for their businesses. The initiative builds on the success of the Beef + Lamb New Zealand land and environment plan, which has been available to farmers throughout the country for several years.

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Learning to like it

I dislike Facebook because I find it intrudes on my personal life. I have even been told off by family members for a minor – in my view – indiscretion in my use of Facebook. However, it pays to be aware of how it works and the pros and cons of using it. This awareness includes knowing what younger family members are doing and saying on Facebook. 

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  • Let your fingers make the booking

    The tech-savvy will already know how useful the internet is for planning holidays – if not this is the column to get you started. 

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  • Following the crowd

    A Texas farm producing goat milk, yoghurt and cheese had a problem last year when its dairy partner shut down. Swede Farm needed urgent funding in August to see them through until their own goats would be providing milk in December. 

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  • Photo finish

    A common “moan and groan” I get is “my computer has packed up and I have lost all my travel and family photos”. I will not go into details of how they might be recovered. That is a completely different subject. What I will do is point you to some free online storage sites specifically for images. If you use these, you will not be in the “moan and groan” group.

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  • Surviving the worst-case scenario

    Backing-up is an important task for all computer users yet many neglect to do it. Country-Wide technology writers Alan Royal and Kirstin Mills delve into the issue and give some useful tips.

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In it to win it

From swinging a chainsaw to preparing a supply chain analysis and answering quiz questions on live TV, this year’s ANZ Young Farmer grand finalists had to prove they could handle anything. James Hoban describes his experience.

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Celebrating early success

Weaning hinds early before the rut is proving a good move for Hawke’s Bay deer farmer Rupert Gaddum. Marie Taylor reports. Photos by Graeme Brown. 

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  • The quick and the dead

    A do-it-yourself post-mortem is a quick way to confirm or rule out Johne’s disease. At the Southland Focus Farm field day Solis Norton, general manager of JML, showed farmers how to autopsy a deer and look for the tell-tale signs of Johne’s.

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  • Next steps

    Further steps have been taken in developing New Zealand’s deer milking industry. NZ Deer Milk Products Ltd (NZDMP) and Landcorp are embarking on a “science-based R&D project to complete proof of concept around milk harvest viability,” NZDMP director Graeme Shaw says.

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  • Cheap and tasty deer feed

    The feeding of fodder beet is a potential win-win for both farmers and deer. Deer like it and weaners will gain weight on it. For farmers it’s one of the most cost-effective winter feeding options provided crop yield was 23-plus tonnes of drymatter (DM) a hectare, Lincoln University’s fodder beet expert Jim Gibbs said.

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  • The best-laid plan

    A willingness to consider, try and follow through with new management and thinking has earned Murray Hagen and Jim Cameron the 2015 Deer Industry Gallagher Technology and Innovation Award. Lynda Gray reports.

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Nervous wait on backlogs

The United States’ emergence from its economic slumber looks certain to rev up beef prices again this year. First though, large inventories built up during last year’s ports strike will need to be worked through. 

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  • Vet LSD shows promise for cattle

    Farmers who have enjoyed improved flock performance using Vet LSD (Livestock Survival Drench) mineral supplement will welcome early trial results on its use in cattle.

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  • Walk the BullWalk

    Selecting the right bull for your beef breeding operation is essential for achieving greater genetic gain whether it is to improve your female herd or to target premium beef programmes. There are many new technologies in farming and researching information on the internet is now commonplace. 

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  • Party at my place

    Picture this. Party time: 500kg-plus cattle flicking up their tails, running through foot-high kikuyu grass, kicking up their heels like calves having an evening canter around the paddock. 

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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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  • Tracking right with TracMap

    A large Taranaki agricultural contracting business is finding GPS and cloud-based technology has virtually eliminated error from its day-to-day activities. Riverlea Contractors operate more than 16 tractors and trucks and two self-propelled harvesters. The company, owned by Mike and Charlie Silson, employs up to 21 staff in the peak season. 

    Read more…

  • Amazone one in a million

    European farm machinery manufacturer Amazone has sold 750,000 of its ZA series twin-disc centrifugal fertiliser spreaders. Amazone product manager Tim Stocker says the feat is probably unmatched by any other manufacturer.

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  • Metal lovers spoilt for choice

    British machinery writer *Nick Fone* was at this year’s Cereals UK and took a close look at the machinery on offer.

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  • New player cropping up

    Remember Baytan? It was a seed treatment that divided wheat growers. A minority would swear by the early-season foliar disease protection the triadimenol treatment provided while others wouldn’t touch it for fear of delayed emergence and-or its premium price.

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Two properties, one amazing opportunity

Situated at 1006 (Glendale) and 1102 (Glenlake) Glenmark Drive, Waipara, about 10km north of Waipara township and 68km from Christchurch are two adjoining properties with a total land area of 671ha. 

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  • Gisborne tops for crops

    The variety of crops grown in Gisborne helps ensure consistent demand for the best cropping country. Bayleys Gisborne rural real estate agent James Macpherson says the very best cropping land is in demand by growers looking to establish Gold kiwifruit or citrus.

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  • Breeding and finishing for two

    A 662-hectare farm run as a sheep and beef breeding unit is being offered for tender as two lots. Situated about 72km south-west of Te Awamutu and a 66km drive west of Otorohanga, the property would also be suitable for an more intensive finishing operation.

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  • The lap of luxury

    The land and buildings supporting one of the biggest commercial accommodation providers in Wairarapa is for sale.

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  • Versatility offers options

    Opportunities abound for this Horowhenua grazing property that stretches between Kaihinau Rd in the north and Kingston Rd in the south.

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Raising the IQ onfarm

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operation of a farm – there’s always plenty going on. But there’s a need to keep a hand on the steering wheel and make plans.

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  • TracMap gets it right

    You know the problem – too many roads and too many paddocks look the same.

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  • New Ballance appointment

    Ballance Agri-Nutrients has appointed Campbell Parker, pictured, as general manager sales. He will join the co-operative in October following a successful banking career including leadership of BNZ’s Partners Network and a track record in rural lending.

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  • Grains of truth

    New Zealand animal feed manufacturers now have a quality of production accreditation. 

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  • A better solution than nitrogen

    In years of low income, nitrogen sales rise relative to phosphorus, potassium, and sulphur inputs on the basis that nitrogen produces the cheapest supplementary feed. 109 Dolomite logo

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