Shearing the love

When wool prices dropped below the cost of production the Neeson family vowed never to sell their wool at auction again.

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  • System raises the game

    FarmIQ is an information hub for farmers like Lindis Crossing manager Matt O’Brien who finds the farm management system invaluable. The station is owned by three investors and they all have read-only access to the system. O’Brien said this saved him a lot of time with reporting.

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  • Farming for future certainty

    In 2013 I was confronted by a situation where a number of red meat industry leaders claimed it was not possible to derive a premium for New Zealand red meat. 

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  • Farmgate delegates make the link

    The Beef + Lamb New Zealand farmer council is connecting farmers with their industry body. 

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  • Spreading some good advice

    I am often asked about various fertiliser products. The thing to keep in mind is that plants cannot distinguish between sources of nutrients. Nutrients are all taken up in the same forms whether those nutrients come from “chemical” or “biological” fertiliser, manure, seaweed, guano, compost and so on. 

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Designs on farming life

Laura Welch loves being a farmer’s wife. It’s a busy job, with far more variety than many people realise.

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  • Out-takes - October

    Where there’s smoke, they’re fired

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  • How smart are ewe?

    It’s as good as official: Kelso are the smartest sheep, Suftex the dumbest.

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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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Safety in numbers?

What farmer doesn’t look forward to spring? As expected, winter was just long enough. A couple of reasonable 50-60cm snowfalls in June and July put an early strain on already limited conserved feed and we still had a long road ahead of us. 

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  • The winter bull calf blues

    It was 12 months in June since we moved to our new farm. The two winters so far have been quite extreme events. Last winter was one of the mildest and driest for the area and this year has been one of the wettest. Just what is a normal winter these days?

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  • Sale-ing into the future

    Every month on Te Atarangi seems to be very full on. However, July and August are probably our busiest months. Calving and preparing for our bull sale at the same time is a big ask.

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  • Midweek madness Springer style

    If you head down to your local country pub on a week night you’d probably be lucky to find anyone more than your die-hard regulars in for a quiet drink. 

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  • Farming in black and white

    An acquaintance with an economics degree once confided that despite his education he couldn’t understand the farming industry. I told him, “I’ve been involved for 35 years and I don’t understand it either. Perhaps you should have studied psychology.”

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Splendid isolation

The Neeson family’s farm is the last stop at the end of a gravel road, an hour’s drive from Taumarunui. The Ohura and Whanganui rivers run along two of the farm boundaries, a national park on another.

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  • New vaccination option at tailing

    Clostridial vaccine Multine comes with a new recommendation this year: use at tailing-docking. It follows trial work in Wairarapa that found the five-in-one product from Coopers produced both the highest antibody response in ewes when used pre-lamb and when used on lambs themselves at tailing.

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  • An early weaning trifecta

    All indications from a Massey University trial show the early weaning of twin lambs on to a plantain-chicory-clover mix is a win, win, win. It’s a win for the lambs in terms of their growth rate, for the ewes in terms of maintaining body condition and for the farmer in terms of getting lambs away earlier.

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  • Crossing the finishing line

    Improving lamb growth rates post-weaning can lift a farmer’s bottom line significantly but lamb finishing is not easy. Farm consultant Sully Alsop told farmers that successful lamb finishing requires good planning and management at key times during the year. 

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Sheep eating to the beat

Fodder beet is becoming an increasingly popular feed crop with sheep farmers. Country-Wide looks at the benefits, any potential problems and talks to those using the crop. 

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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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  • Lambing date and pasture cover key

    The importance of matching your lambing date and stocking rate to pasture growth is hammered home by a paper to be published at next month’s New Zealand Grassland Association (NZGA) conference in Masterton.

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  • Sheep beat a path for beet

    Two farmers who have had pleasing results with sheep on fodder beet are Steve Gallagher and Warren Leslie.

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  • Big-time finishing on Tarras terrace

    Fodder beet has gone down a treat with lambs at Lindis Crossing. For the first time this year 40ha of Brigadier fodder beet along with lucerne balage has sustained 1450 bought-in lambs wintered on the central Otago farm.

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Double the action

United Kingdom farm manager Richard Ward has been trialling prototype versions of New Holland’s innovative double-cutterbar combine header for two seasons. Nick Fone asks if it cuts the mustard.

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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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New machinery all wrapped up

In part two of a series Country-Wide’s British-based writer Nick Fone looks at what John Deere has in store for the market in 2016.

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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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Flushed with success

With pressure on dairy farmers to mitigate environmental effects on their farms, Emlyn and Hilary Francis have converted a farm to dairy with environmental safety their top priority. Amanda Bowes reports.

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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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  • With or against the grain?

    One of the features of farm foresters and other small-scale forestry investors is their apparent apathy for joining any organisation that represents their forestry interests. 

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  • Good practice makes near-perfect

    On a wet, first day of spring in Geraldine as I was feeding my calves – my other day job – and pondering what to write about in this column I received a call from a client of mine and before the conversation had ended, I had my topic.

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  • Unlocking the dairy potential

    Looming in the corner of Michelle McConnell’s office is a heavy, locked cabinet. It is stacked full of confidentiality agreements and other sensitive documents, the result of her research work into the New Zealand dairy industry.

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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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  • Accentuate the positive

    Do you want to sell something online but don’t know how to go about it?

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  • Handing it to technology

    While having a nostalgic moment recently looking through some old handwritten notes, I made some mental comparisons about how we managed information several years ago and the way we do it today.

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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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Packing them in

Pursuing an interest in alpacas has increased diversity in Neville and Leonie Walker’s farm income. It has also added interest with the opportunity to manage a product every step of the way.

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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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  • A high-water mark

    Water, Farming and Families – The Mayfield Hinds Irrigation Scheme by Anita Body and Angela Cushnie

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  • Give us our daily bread

    *Flour milling in New Zealand – How today’s industry evolved*

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  • New beginnings

    The beds are made, clothes put away and boxes unpacked – well, most of them. Pictures of friends, family, pets and memories adorn the walls of your new abode and you breathe in the cool, fresh air of the new rural paradise you’ve committed to for the next year or two. A Facebook status update with a pretty sunset lets your loved ones know you are here, safe and well. And happy – you think. You hope.

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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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  • Positive farmer reaction to message

    Silver Fern Farms linking up with a Chinese investor could be the real deal, one farmer-shareholder told Farmers Weekly after a roadshow meeting at Little River in Canterbury.

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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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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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  • Handypiece Pro the go

    The Handypiece has often been described as the best tool on the farm. Now it’s even better with the launch of the new Handypiece Pro.

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  • Customer-driven by design

    In a relatively short few years the 4AG range of cultivation and drilling equipment has firmly established itself as the premier offering in the New Zealand marketplace. A massive array of these machines can be found working hard for some of the largest contracting and farming operations throughout this country, in every corner and every condition. From the boulders of Te Anau to Canterbury riverbeds, Waikato pumice to East Coast clays, you will be able to talk to an operator near you for some first-hand insight.

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  • Bearing down on prolapses

    Finding humane and effective methods for dealing with prolapses in ewes has been difficult for farmers but now Rurtec is offering a solution with its newly-developed Bearin harness.

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  • Safety a pressing matter

    Given the growing emphasis around workplace health and safety onfarm, Heiniger has greatly reinforced its position as a leader in the global fibre-harvesting market by supplying quality, safer solutions to farmers in New Zealand and internationally. 

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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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  • An exceptional farming opportunity

    Located 2km from Tarras township and close to Wanaka and Queenstown is a rare opportunity to buy into a quality property with scale, water, good soils and an excellent location. 

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  • The decision of a lifetime

    For most landowners the farm is their biggest asset. Selling this asset requires some careful planning.

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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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Rolling success story

Polaris Industries has further increased its dominance of the New Zealand ATV and side-by-side market with a record-breaking August result.

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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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  • Always a fine time to lime

    Come snow, drought or falling returns, Johnny Girvan always limes. Each year, the Ranfurly farmer limes one-third of his 1500ha sheep and beef property. The spreader visits in autumn or winter, delivering 2500-3000kg of lime a hectare. The next year it moves on to another third of the farm.

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  • DrenchMaster handles it all

    Perkinz recently launched the DrenchMaster 2015 model and feedback has been very encouraging. The previous model was good but changes have made the new sheep handler even easier to use.

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  • Mint lamb refreshed

    Feedback from past entrants has prompted an overhaul of the Canterbury A&P Association’s Mint Lamb Competition.

    Read more…

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