Friday Flash

December 1, 2017

From the Board - Chris Lewis

Taking some of the chore out of milking - thanks Norm

This week New Zealand farmers were saluting Norman John Daysh - the godfather of the modern milking machine.

Mr Daysh is globally acknowledged for inventing a mechanism that effectively liberated dairy farmers from their milking stools,100 years ago. All Kiwi farmers like myself should feel a sense of pride and be inspired by Mr Daysh’s feat, which was the first notable disruption in the modern farming era.

He was ahead of his time - a true kiwi innovator. Apparently he started making milking machines from 18 years-old and was selling them to neighbouring farming families.

His legacy has become part of farmer folklore. He had great compassion for his animals, and legend has it he was the first milk machine designer to consider the effect on cows. The milkers back in the day would have appreciated him too, as the earliest milking machines were cumbersome, unreliable and actually painful to use.

Mr Daysh had the foresight to go overseas to America to refine his prototype and gain globally acknowledged patents; this in itself was quite an undertaking for a humble Kiwi farmer in 1913.

The DeLaval Milker was launched in 1917. A testament to its success and innovation was the fact none of the original 100 machines were returned.

Being Friday, at staff drinks tonight after milking make sure you give him a toast. With his sort of ingenuity we will solve more problems with practical solutions!

Have a great weekend and enjoy swimming at your local beaches with the start of summer.
Listen to Kim Hill interview Mr Daysh’s grandson.

New foreign investment directive finds good balance

Federated Farmers voiced support for the Government’s plan to ensure the net benefit test is robustly applied to prospective overseas buyers of rural land, and that follow-up checks are done to ensure undertakings given by the buyers actually happen.

“But equally we’re pleased the Government is not closing the door on overseas investment in our primary sector,” Vice-President Andrew Hoggard told media. “History has shown that foreign expertise and money can make a positive contribution to New Zealand.”

Environment Minister David Parker told Newsroom: "We think that impediments to share milkers graduating to be farm owners are wrong, and they shouldn’t be effectively prevented or blocked in their progress in life from a one per center from overseas bringing their wealth from a low-tax jurisdiction or from countries that have got far higher rates of inequality than we have."

Getting ready for the Christmas break

Federated Farmers will be closed for business from noon on Friday 22 December until 8:30am Monday 8 January.

CONTRACT ORDERS: To avoid delay in your contract order delivery, orders should be placed before Wednesday 20 December. Orders placed from Wednesday 20 December may not be received until the New Year. Orders placed during our closure will be dispatched when we reopen in the New Year. No PDF Contracts will be available during the holiday closure. Call us today to arrange your PDF contract – 0800 327 646.
MEMBERSHIP APPLICATIONS: Any applications submitted during the holiday closure will be processed on Monday 8 January 2018.
0800 FARMING ADVICE LINE: The 0800 FARMING line will not be staffed during the closure. If members require advice, a call back will be arranged from Monday 8 January.

Confidence takes a dive

The change in government has crashed business confidence according to ANZ’s Business Outlook Survey for November. Overall, a net 39.3% of respondents expect the economy to worsen over the next 12 months, down 29 points on October and down a whopping 77 points on August when a net 38% were expecting the economy to improve. For agriculture, sentiment is even more negative with a net 55.3% expecting it to worsen.
It’s no secret that many in the business community are not keen on Labour governments. That confidence dropped in the wake of the change in government should not come as any surprise although the size of the drop might. The key to any ‘real’ economic impacts will be whether the slump, especially in own activity, is a temporary allergic reaction or is something more enduring and dampens investment and employment intentions.
Read Nick Clark’s full analysis on the week’s economic events, here.

Surely irrigation is vital to regional development

Former Agriculture Minister Nathan Guy has criticised the unwillingness of Regional Development Minister Shane Jones to confirm whether his $1 billion fund will support regional water storage and irrigation projects that can grow jobs and exports, and enhance the environment.

“When I look at the results of last week’s annual River Awards, I can’t help but think this Government is not taking an evidence-based approach to its heavy-handed proposals to restrict water usage, and is coming down unnecessarily hard on irrigators,” Guy said.

“The awarding of the Supreme River to the Pahau River in North Canterbury proves it’s possible to expand irrigation while, at the same time, improve water quality.

“The irrigated area in the Pahau catchment has grown from 18,000ha to 28,000ha over the last decade but Ecoli levels have been reduced by 16% per year over the same period.” Full statement, here.

Numbers help ensure a RAPID response

Property owners in the Hurunui District were this week reminded by the district’s council to clearly display their Rural Address Property Identification System (RAPID) number at their property entrance, to help emergency services easily identify and locate them. It’s a timely reminder for other rural people too.
RAPID is a numbering system for rural properties based on the distance to a property entrance from a defined reference point, usually the beginning of the road on which it is located. For most addresses this will be the number for the main dwelling on site. However, if there is more than one dwelling down a driveway or an outbuilding that is regularly used as a workplace then each should have its own RAPID number.
RAPID is a critical piece of information for an effective emergency response. The numbers are independent of Rural Delivery (RD) numbers, which are assigned by NZ Post and are used for postal purposes only. Contact your local council with any questions about RAPID.

Protein+ Leaves Bad Taste

Consumer NZ’s ‘Bad Taste’ Food Awards for 2017 have taken a swipe at a bunch of food and drink products available in New Zealand, where they believe the product’s marketing and its actual contents don’t line up. One of these is Anchor’s ‘Protein+’, which claims to give Kiwis “the strength they need”, but Consumer NZ believes we all get more than enough protein from a range of sources, without needing specific top-ups. Have a look at the full list here. We think this is a bit tough on dairy/protein, and much preferred it when they had a go at almond ‘milk’ in the 2016 awards, for its lack of … you guessed it … almonds. Read more about protein and why we need it.

Fines up for visitors who flout biosecurity warnings

Federated Farmers is pleased to see that the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is toughening its stance on visitors who ignore New Zealand’s strict biosecurity laws.
MPI said it has increased fines by 50 percent since 2014 to air passengers who flout entry requirements, with 9100 infringement notices issued to date this year.

Federated Farmers’ Biosecurity Spokesperson Guy Wigley told media that farmers will feel reassured that focus is high with the busy summer period starting, and after recent biosecurity incursions.

Livestock proposals win big share of research funding

Three of the five sector-led research partnership proposals to share in MBIE funding worth up to $25.7 million over the next seven years are livestock farming related.
Dairy NZ will get $8.4 million over seven years to work on developing genetically low nitrogen excreting cows and implementing genetic and management strategies to reduce nitrogen leaching and nitrous oxide emissions. Ultimately, this research partnership will reduce sector-wide nitrate leaching by 20% and nitrogen-related greenhouse gas emissions by 9%.
Beef+ Lamb will get $3.150m over five years to look at regenerated hill country landscapes and connecting value chains, and the NZ Leather and Shoe Research Association has been awarded $2.4m to look at high value biodegradable leather and co-products from hides and skins.

Full details can be viewed here.

Canterbury’s farmers heed new consenting requirements

More than 90% of farmers across Canterbury have heeded strict land use consenting requirements designed to improve water quality in the region, ECan said this week.

Farmers were required to work out their nitrogen losses to determine whether they needed a land use consent. Many require the services of a farm consultant to do so, and are on a waitlist for their nitrogen budget to be completed.
‘’We know that it takes time to complete a nitrogen budget, and we would rather these were done well,” a spokesman said.

Eighty of the 1000 farmers contacted have yet to either act or advise Environment Canterbury of their progress. These farms received formal warning letters this week.

Looking for Waikato sheep & beef farms to host school visits

Young Farmers are doing a project on behalf of the Red Meat Profit Partnership, offering primary school classes resources around the study of “Genetics”. To complement the teaching, they want to offer sheep and beef farm tours.

The schools don’t contact the farmers directly, but liaise through Young Farmers to ensure the same farms aren’t overloaded with schools, also acknowledging there are times of the year that aren’t suitable. Young Farmers are in the process of building a database of farmers keen to be involved.

Host farms are paid $200 for each visit. Here is a three-page info sheet on the kinds of activities host farms might look at, and other information. The visit can be as long or short as you would like to make it.

For more information and to put your name down as a host farm, please contact: Casey Huffstutler, Senior Territory Manager, Young Farmers, M: 027 213 0043 or E:

Waikato Feds’ trust wins Judge’s Choice Award

Waikato President Andrew McGiven put his suit and tie on this this week to attend the Property Council Waikato branch 2017 urban design and construction awards. He was representing The Waikato Farmers Trust (formerly the Waikato Federated Farmers Charitable Society), which picked up the Judges’ Choice Award for the rebuild of a former dance studio into a new Curious Cubs Early Education Centre. The trust oversees and manages assets, including property, that fund a variety of farming charitable purposes, including scholarships and training, “for the benefit of the wider Waikato community”.

Help out as a Myrtle Rust reporter

Myrtle rust is a serious biosecurity threat that affects a number of New Zealand’s native species. The good news is there is something you can do about it. Download the new Myrtle rust reporter from your app store to help identify plants and participate in the myrtle rust surveillance campaign.

Primary producers feature in Top 200

The a2 Milk Company was named Company of the Year, and finalist for Best Growth Strategy, in the 2017 Deloitte Top 200 Awards this week. In fact, primary producer companies featured strongly, with Zespri International winning Best Growth Strategy and Peter McBride of Zespri International a Chairperson of the Year finalist; Fonterra winning MBIE Innovation and Employment Diversity and Inclusion Leadership award; and Komal Misty of Fonterra Ventures named Young Executive of the Year. 


Merry Christmas in Ruapehu

The Ruapehu province annual gathering for some Christmas socialising will also include an address from Jerald Twomey from Horizons on Te Kopuka, the stakeholder group with interests in Te Awa Tupua, the Whanganui River.

When:  Wednesday, December 6 from 6 pm
Where: Lauren’s Lavender Farm, 1381 River Road
Cost:     $38 for dinner.

RSVP to Audrey Walker 07 8945833 or by November 29

Field Day focuses on winter milking

Are you winter milking or thinking about transitioning some or all of your herd to winter milking? Dairy NZ is hosting a winter milking Field Day in Waverley on Monday December 4. Topics will be:
  • Cost analysis of Winter milking - is it worth it? (presentation by Mark Neil, DairyNZ Dairy Systems Specialist)
  • Transition feeding - the use of crops and supplements
  • Setting up for calving - what can we do now?
  • Effluent management (presentation by Logan Bowler, Environmental Extension Specialist)
Lunch kindly supplied by Open Country.

RSVP appreciated for catering purposes.

Ngaruroro Water Conservation Order hearings

Federated Farmers is preparing to speak at the Water Conservation Order hearing on 5 December. We will be showcasing the excellent stewardship of the inter-generational farmers in the upper catchment, much of whose properties are either voluntarily retained in natural cover or formally protected by QEII covenants. We will also be challenging the applicants’ evidence on the outstanding status of the values they claim are present. To be considered outstanding, the burden of proof lies with the applicant to show that it is ‘quite out of the ordinary on a national basis’ and we don’t think they’ve done this. Members are invited to attend as audience.

Submission on Shared Waters proposal for Waipa and Hamilton

Waikato Federated Farmers have submitted on the Shared Waters Management Company proposa fo Waipa District Council and Hamilton City Council. Whilst we are very supportive of the proposed efficiencies and gains that this Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) proposal is likely to create, we are also aware that accountability, transparency and governance issues can develop under these business models. We would like these issues to be taken into account when forming the proposed CCO. The Feds submission can be found here.


What does CPTPP mean for you?

Cutting tariffs in countries we trade with is a key to future New Zealand – and farming sector – prosperity. Join in a Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade-hosted discussion with Vangelis Vitalis, New Zealand’s chief trade negotiator for the Comprehensive & Progressive TPP.

  Monday 4 December, 5:15pm – 7:15pm
Otago Southland Employers Association, 16 McBride Street, South Dunedin Register now 
  Tuesday 5 December, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Europe House, Auckland University of Technology, 56 Wakefield St. Register now
  Wednesday 6 December, 8:45am – 10:45am
Smart Business Centre, Bay Central Shopping Centre, 65 Chapel Street Register now 
  Thursday 7 December, 4:00pm – 6:00pm
PWC Building, Level 4, 109 Ward Street Register now 

In the meantime, go here for more info on the new Comprehensive & Progressive TPP.

NZ Women’s Leadership Development

This is the last call for all women currently working in the farming and agriculture sector to express their interest in scholarship funding that is currently available. The fee support provides women with funding of between $3,000 and $8,000 to undertake a range of leadership development programs.
The funding window closes on December 15 and it is uncertain when these grants will be available again. More information and initial expressions of interest are available here.  


Price factor intrudes with NZ grain vs PKE

Arable farmers want their dairy colleagues to feed out NZ-grown grain, not imported PKE.

More milk from fewer cows

Daisy and her paddock mates are record-breakers, according to the latest national dairy statistics released by DairyNZ and LIC.