Wairarapa News : January 9th 2013
25 WAIRARAPA NEWS, JANUARY 9, 2013 4981199AB Rural News 3764075AB Register your team today. To find out more: RRRelaay ffor LLiffe 233-2224 Febbruuaryyy 220133 ww ww w.re elayyfo o orlife e.o orggg.n nz email@example.com Phone (06) 378 8039 Sponsored by the Wairarapa News 4910743AA C&F INDUSTRIES NEED A NEW ROOF? • Long run iron • Flashings • Fastenings • Accessories Dalefield Road, Carterton Ph 06 379 8431, Fax 06 379 8436, Email firstname.lastname@example.org 3701770BR ROOFING SUPPLIES AND INSTALLATION Call Gary James 06 3708240 or 0274 722 792 or visit us at 307 High St, Solway, Mstn www.jtm.co.nz YOUR ONE STOP MACHINERY SHOP IN STOCK NOW REESE UFO 2400HL HAY MOWER/TOPPER 4078662CW Features: 2.4M Cut (Out to side of mower) Hydraulic Lift SPECIAL $9,650 + GST RRP $10,995 + GST OPEN SAT MORNINGS 9am - 12pm No-tillage 'best practice' Superior yield: Dr John Baker in front of a Cross Slot drill. New Zealand is slipping fur- ther behind in conservation agriculture, predicts a world authority on no-tillage. Dr John Baker, who's been nominated for the World Food Prize in 2013, says New Zea- land's benign climate, soils and animal-based rotations hide many of the destructive effects of conventional culti- vation. Because of that this country has slipped off the pace in arable soil conser- vation practices, he says. The problem is that many of our arable farmers have been able to ignore alternatives and continue to cultivate their soils instead of being innovative,'' he says. If this happened on a world basis and conventional culti- vation was not replaced by no- tillage within 50 years, there'll be famine and drought in areas of the world. When the soil is cultivated it releases much of the carbon back into the atmosphere. The long term result is a reduction in soil organic matter, deteriorating yields, soil ero- sion, dust storms and ulti- mately famine especially when there is serious pressure to produce more food for an expanding population.'' Dr Baker is frustrated that, while New Zealand has the best no-tillage equipment on the globe, it's one of the slowest nations to adopt it, except in pockets such as the Wairarapa. Resulting from 30 years of research at Massey Univer- sity, Dr Baker decided there had to be a better way to sow seeds. He researched and developed Cross Slot no- tillage drills which penetrate through crop residues or veg- etation on top of the ground and sow seed and fertiliser under the residues in differ- ent bands at the same time. The process causes minimal or low disturbance to the soil, traps the humidity, preserves the micro-organisms and soil life and reduces the amount of carbon that otherwise escapes into the atmosphere. The Cross Slot method has once again been vindicated by the 2006-2011 results from the Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) arable trial at Chertsey in Mid Canterbury. The evidence provided by New Zealand's foremost arable research group shows that no- tillage, done properly, produces superior yields to any other option. But done badly it doesn't. Perhaps this is the problem? We have too much choice in New Zealand and no-tillage gets tainted by farmers who choose to do it in the cheapest way possible rather than the best,'' Dr Baker says. In the Chertsey trial Cross Slot's unirrigated yields were 14 per cent better than the second best treatment, 22 per cent better than the other no- tillage method and 30 per cent better than the worst of all treatments, plough and press'. There's absolutely no nega- tive data in the world about Cross Slot compared to other methods. We're getting the same results in Australia, Europe and North America.'' Dr Baker explains that because climates in many other areas of the world are not as kind as in New Zea- land, farmers have had to be innovative to survive. Cross Slot technology has stood out. The message he's receiving from Australia and the United States is that their yields are the best they've ever been. But Wairarapa is an inter- esting exception in New Zea- land. The seed industry esti- mates that 60 to 70 percent of cereal crops sown in the dis- trict use Cross Slot tech- nology. Wairarapa is a mini Canterbury in the North Island. It has a similar cli- mate and farmers there have come into cropping reasonably recently without a history of traditional attitudes learned from previous generations,'' John says. While Cross Slot may be more expensive as a one-off purchase than its competition, the cost benefits are everlast- ing and, in most cases, will repay the farmer in one to two years.'' In a recent series of pad- dock comparisons in the Tai- hape area, the cost of produc- ing a kilogram of brassica dry matter to feed animals was five cents with Cross Slot no- tillage compared with nine cents for one-pass cultivation, 10 cents for conventional cul- tivation, 15 cents for triple disc no-tillage and 16 cents for helicopter broadcasting. Broadcasting may be cheap but, because much of the seed doesn't germinate, the cost benefits are seldom very good.'' No-tillage is the equivalent of keyhole surgery as opposed to ploughing which is invasive surgery and contributes to global warming. The long term outcome of no-tillage is sustainable food production which can meet millions of families. Dairy cattle numbers keep climbing The number of dairy cattle in New Zealand continues to surge, and is up by more than a million since 2007, accord- ing to Statistics New Zealand. At 6.5 million, there are 1.2 million more dairy cattle in 2012 than in 2007. Dairy numbers have been booming in the last five years. The extra production equates to about 370 two-litre bottles of milk a year for everyone in the country,'' agriculture stat- istics manager Hamish Hill said. These provisional numbers are from the latest five-yearly agricultural production cen- sus. There have been some real changes in the balance of agri- culture in New Zealand since the last census. Dairy's obvi- ously been a big mover, and the sheep number has fallen. Kiwifruit has been holding steady despite the adverse effects of Psa disease,'' Mr Hill said. In 2007, there were nine sheep for every New Zea- lander, but in 2012 this had dropped to seven. The current sheep flock is 31.2 million. The New Zealand wine sec- tor has experienced phenom- enal growth over the last 30 years despite a more recent slow down. The area planted in wine grapes in 2012 is more than six times the area planted in 1982, an increase the size of Great Barrier Island,'' Mr Hill said. The wine industry has grown from having 5280 hectares planted in wine grapes in 1982 to just over 34,020 ha this year.
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