Future success hands down

After buying a sheep conveyor several years ago to accelerate his contracting business, John Burrows is on the way to owning his first farm. James Hoban reports in the first of a series looking at different pathways to farm ownership.

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  • Culverden farmer elected to Beef +Lamb NZ board

    Culverden farmer Phil Smith has been elected as the farmer director to represent sheep and beef farmers in the Beef + Lamb New Zealand Northern South Island electorate.

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  • Unlocking the liquid asset

    Central Hawke’s Bay farmers have until March 31 this year to sign up for irrigation water supplies from the Ruataniwha water storage dam if they wish to be eligible for the six cents per square centimetre of water discount for the first four years. 

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  • Making it pay

    Driving tractors is Brychan Morgan’s ticket to ride. The 21-year-old has set up a contracting business as a way to generate cash so he can save for his first piece of farmland. From his tractor cab, he runs a business that at its peak employs up to four staff. Morgan set up Raincliff Contracting two years ago and it operates from spring to autumn.

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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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Letting off steam

Thousands of enthusiasts gathered near Invercargill recently for the Edendale Vintage Machinery Club’s Crank Up weekend. The festival has been running for 28 years and celebrates all things steam in Southland plus commercial vehicles pre-1995.

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  • Easy targets

    By the time this issue of Country-Wide hits your mailboxes hopefully more rain has fallen and brought relief from the drought in a number of regions.

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  • The heat and the dust

    It was a tough final day in the yards at this year’s Hawarden Ewe Fair.

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  • Hot on the spot

    Vintage machinery still plays a valuable role in Ron Bywaters’ Western Australian patch. The 80-year-old president of WA’s Chamberlain 9G Tractor Club is part of the local Wundowie neighbourhood fire watch service. 

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  • Let the sheep contest begin

    Entries are open for the Country-Wide West Otago Two-Tooth Competition.

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Escaping the dry

It has been an extreme few months of weather in the Owaka Valley, although, hopefully, by the time this is read things will have changed for the better.

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  • Mis-bee-having bulls

    We’ve just back from our annual camping holiday in Rotorua. The weather was perfect for camping but we knew that when we got home our farm would be looking quite different to when we left. Sure enough, the 11 days away was the critical period when everything turned very brown. It’s not a nice thing to see when you’re trying to pump your stock along.

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  • In fashion with The Backroad Blog

    I’m sure many people can relate to the “what now?” dilemma that seems to occur after graduation from university. Suddenly you have to make some serious decisions and it all seems rather daunting. For me, the decision to move back home and spend a year saving for travel was obvious but for others, graduate roles beckoned. 

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  • Keeping the wheels turning

    A familiar saying on our farm is “if it was easy everyone would be doing it”. It’s usually muttered when the proverbial wheel’s just fallen off something.

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  • The heat is on

    There’s nothing like a drought to make for a social summer. We spend much of our days hunting water leaks, eagle-eyeing sheep for potential flystrike outbreaks and hoping stock will accept our meagre offerings of a “fresh” paddock. 

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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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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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  • 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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  • Contributions recognised

    Between them former Lincoln University academics Dr Warwick Scott and Dr Rowan Emberson have taught and conducted research at the institution for 72 years.

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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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  • 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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  • Persian paradise

    Road trips are the best. Usually I make do with a trip or two down south each year to see my family and friends.

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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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