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Rural Diary August
1 August 2019 External Supplier

Pest control goes digital

Rats can cause significant damage on farms, lifestyle blocks, and orchards, gnawing on wiring and getting into animal feed, so controlling them matters. 

Goodnature is launching their latest trapping innovation, Chirp, a digitally enabled trap that can be retrofitted to any existing Goodnature A24 Rat and Stoat Trap. Once installed, and after downloading the Goodnature App, trappers will get smartphone notifications via Bluetooth™ every time the trap kills a pest, as well as when it is time for a new gas canister or lure.

The A24 Rat and Stoat Trap has been popular in the rural sector for over a decade, known as a reliable tool to keep rat populations controlled. The A24 is a carbon dioxide powered, humane rat and stoat trap, which has a range of valuable features:

  • Automatic resetting saves time 
    The A24 automatically resets up to 24 times, killing rats and stoats one after the other, and reducing the need to check traps from monthly down to just twice a year. The latest Chirp functionality gives A24 customers even greater oversight of their trapping operation in real time on their phone. Efficiently and humanely disposing of 24 rats per trap without having to manually reset is a valuable time and money saver.
  • The A24 traps are non-toxic
    The lure used in A24s is non-toxic, so there is no threat to livestock or pets, and can be set in cow sheds. Working dogs and pets won’t be exposed to poisoned pest carcasses, as the risk of secondary poisoning, is eliminated. 
  • Keep connected and know when the Chirp-enabled trap has been activated.  
    Chirp has been designed to keep trapping on track. Chirp connects the A24 to smartphones via the Goodnature App. Being automatically notified when traps have been triggered helps trappers know how many pests have been killed. With scavenging of dead pests common, Chirp makes the unknown, known.
  • Be notified when the trap’s lure and gas canister need replacing.
    Knowing when traps are low on lure and gas is key to keeping trap networks operational at all times. Given the minimal servicing needs of an A24 trap, it is easy to lose track of when a trap needs new gas and lure. Chirp does the tracking automatically and helpfully sends reminders when it is time to re-gas, and re-lure Chirp-enabled traps. 

Chirp is being launched in PGG Wrightson stores across New Zealand in August. There will be both Chirp retrofit kits and fully enabled Chirp A24 kits as well. Visit your local PGG Wrightson store today to find out more.

Supplied by Goodnature

External Supplier

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Greenlight Grower Management: A farmer's perspective

01 August 2019

Last month Jay Howes introduced Greenlight Grower Management (GLGM), and highlighted how PGG Wrightson is using this decision support software tool to improve agronomic recommendations from Technical Field Representatives (TFRs). This month, I am going to introduce the concept of accessing GLGM yourself and explain what benefits there are to owning your own farmer subscription.

When I think of farmers and growers accessing GLGM in partnership with PGG Wrightson, I see two major benefits: 

  • Traceability and compliance

     Whether it is your fertiliser records for a nutrient budget or agri-chemical application records for compliance, the requirement for farmers to supply on-farm information is increasing. To put it simply, having a paper record is simply not good enough anymore. It is too easy to lose and ultimately someone has to spend some time entering that information into a digital format.

    GLGM takes the hassle out of this process. It stores all of your agronomic recommendations and application information, and the data can be exported with ease. Imagine not having to rummage around your office trying to find a printout from your fertiliser supplier to help build your nutrient budget; imagine extracting all the data you need with the click of a button, anytime you want it, anytime you need it. 
  • Openness and accountability

    The relationship between farmer, TFR and contractor is special. There is a high degree of trust between the three groups and for the process to work efficiently and precisely, the flow of information must be seamless and quick. GLGM enhances this process.

    The TFR can enter information from the paddock directly into GLGM which can be viewed by the farmer in real time. This can then progress into a product order and the necessary information relayed to the contractor, all with the click of a virtual button. The contractor can apply the product and notify the farmer and the TFR within the system, keeping everyone in the loop. Nothing is lost to chance and everyone knows where everyone is at.

GLGM is an ever evolving platform, new functions and features are continually being developed and released into the system. One interesting new development coming in the next couple of months is the ability for farmers to manage their own internal agri-chemical stock levels. Farmers will be able to store in the system all their current stocks that are in their chemical sheds. TFRs and contractors can see these stock levels in real time and draw on them for supply when making a recommendation, effectively reducing the chance of an order being raised for product that you already have on-farm.

Using GLGM to help drive agronomic decisions offers an unprecedented level of open and efficient communication between advisors, contractors and farmers. With subscriptions starting at $450 per year (NZD), there really isn’t any excuse not to be embracing the digital age and coming on board in partnership with PGG Wrightson. 

If you would like to know more about GLGM, contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative and a demonstration of the software can be arranged.

Pheromone trapping service

15 August 2019
It’s that time of the year! Pipfruit growers need to start thinking about pheromone trapping and registering your blocks with Apple and Pear NZ, for Codling Moth sensitive markets during August. 

Pipfruit growers should firstly identify any production sites which may have fallen into the high-risk category. It is important to identify those sites now so pheromone dispensers can be pre-ordered through your Fruitfed Supplies representative or store.

All registered high-risk production sites under the Official Assurance Programme (OAP) for codling moth (Cydia pomonella) must be monitored by an accredited Pest Surveyor, so it’s important that pipfruit growers contact our crop monitoring team to register their production site for the season. The trap surveyor will put a plan in place to position traps on the orchard maps within the high-risk production site, input trap information into Fruitfed Supplies Tracit database and send all trap information to Apple and Pear NZ before 1 September. 

The Crop Monitoring Service (CMS) has seen a big jump in growers registering for the Pheromone Trapping Service. CMS can take the pain and pressure away from the growers and take care of trap placement; weekly trap reading; compliance around audits and data capture. Once growers are on board with the service, they realise the benefits quickly. 

Fruitfed CMS has developed a seamless reporting system, utilising a scout field app to capture data in the field and a database (Tracit) which correlates the data. This is then fully automated to disseminate reports to the growers within minutes of the information having been captured in the field. All trap data is then sent to Apple and Pear NZ database without the growers having to re-enter data twice.

If you would like to sign up or have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact your Crop Monitoring Coordinator or your Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticultural Representative. Quote packages can be put together for clients. 

Barley establishment: cut corners at your peril

01 September 2019

Barley is a versatile crop in temperate New Zealand, able to be grown to graze, conserve for silage, or combine harvest for grain to be processed into animal feed, malting or even seed multiplication.

Whatever the end use, there is one main driver that is common for any broad acre crop, yield. Yield is king as it dilutes the cost of production. Why would you go through the time, effort, and expense to grow a crop and then cap its yield by cutting corners?

The first decision stage is to understand why you want to grow barley, and its suitability for its intended end use. Is it for home consumption, or will it be sold and are there any contracts available? Does your intended use require specialised machinery, such as a combine harvester or silage harvester? And, if so, do you or your contractor have access to this?

The next decision is paddock selection. To grow a high yielding crop of barley, there is a requirement for machinery, so will the topography allow this? A flat and well drained cropping paddock is ideal. Make sure you take a soil test to determine a fertiliser and lime plan, remembering barley doesn’t like soils that are too acidic. Aim for pH 6.0 to 6.5 and remember, agricultural lime takes six months or more to break down and have the desired effect on pH.

Barley hates compaction, so if you have compaction or pan issues make sure you deep rip or at least cultivate to the desired depth before creating your seedbed. This is why direct drilling generally does not give as successful a high yielding crop as cultivating to create a firm fine seedbed does.

Variety selection is important. Choose a variety fit for the purpose and time of drilling, then take advice for an appropriate seed rate for that time of year. Too many seeds means the crop is too thick and more prone to disease and falling over. Too thin allows too much room for weeds to establish.

I would never plant a crop of barley without an appropriate fungicidal seed coating and insecticide, and my advice to you is the same. An appropriate fungicide coating to cover for soil and seed borne diseases helps maximise the percentage of establishment and survival of the seedlings. The insecticide protects from pests that either eat the crop or, more importantly, spread a virus called Barley Yellow Dwarf Virus, which can rob you of over 30 percent of your yield.

If you are sowing your barley in either autumn or winter, I would recommend a pre-emergent herbicide or at least an early post-emergent spray to take away early weed pressure. These crops may also need another weed spray in the spring, especially if you are wanting to harvest for either silage or grain. With spring planted barley, there is less requirement for a pre-emergent herbicide, however be on to it early post-emergence as the weeds come in thick and fast in the spring.

Nitrogen application, foliar insecticides for aphid control and fungicide sprays are also important to produce a quality and high yielding crop. Their timing is critical, so seek advice from your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative to walk through some of the management aspects of your crop.

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