Rural Supplies

Helping grow the country

22 June 2018 External Supplier

Promark Storage Bins

PGG Wrightson and Promax bring to you New Zealand’s safest and smartest hopper bins.

Currently it’s time for soil testing and then soon, growers around the country will apply the required nutrients to their orchards, vineyards and blocks. Last year’s changes to health and safety standards need to be taken into consideration when handling flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBCs), commonly called bulk bags, of fertiliser and other products. These changes have decreased efficiencies and added costs to all users, particularly in the horticultural and rural sectors given bulk bags in the fertiliser sector are not always able to be recycled.

Traditionally, bulk bags must be slung below the lifting forks of a tractor or other forklift, exposing workers to risks when moving around and emptying the bags in to the spreader. With the health and safety risk, these limitations are affecting handling procedures and placing extra safety risk responsibilities onto business and property owners.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients, a key supplier to PGG Wrightson (PGW), advised PGW Category Manager Jason Sail that they will no longer accept returns of the bulk bags due to the increased costs. “It was at this time we recognised the need for a suitable replacement option,” Jason says. “We were also very aware of client requests to provide a zero-waste option.”

The Promax bulk bin system has been developed to facilitate the storage and distribution of dry granular products in the safest and most efficient way, and is now offered by all PGG Wrightson and Fruitfed Supplies stores. Promax bulk bins fit all standard tractor and forklift forks and come in two sizes: 1000-litre and 1500-litre. Operators can easily carry the bin from base and lift the bin up to the necessary height to load the bin contents into the relevant spreader-applicator. Jason says the new bulk bins are already proving popular due to their significant improvements to safe handling of bulk product. 

While the primary use is in the storage of fertiliser and loading of spreaders within the agricultural sector, the bulk bins have further applications for the storage of grain, seed and  feed products:

  • The hopper bins are waterproof and rodent proof.
  • They feature an easy-slide, hygienic and non-rusting stainless-steel gate mechanism which allows product to flow freely down the 30-degree sloping base to the outlet.
  • A one-metre long flexi sock can be added to the chute. The flexi sock can be trimmed to any length suited to the application and stops product wastage even on a very windy day.
Promax have also developed a hot-dipped galvanised frame or base which holds a bulk bin up off the ground for ease of access and lifting. The bulk bins are available in a range of colours to assist when handling various types of product. Jason says feedback from customers includes how easy it is to work with a product like urea even in pouring rain.

“These bins offer considerable convenience and efficiency, in addition to the safer handling aspects which inspired their development.”

Article supplied by Promax
22 June 2018 Tayah Ryan

June Avocado Tech Tips

  • With a relatively warm autumn, greenhouse thrips have been persistent this season, and may still be residing in some blocks. Likewise, six-spotted mite (SSM) will over-winter in most orchards, particularly in warmer areas, so reducing populations before spring arrives is a good idea.
  • Maintain a copper fungicide cover with products such as Kocide® Opti or Tri-Base Blue® through winter to protect against anthracnose infection as some species continue to infect even at low temperatures. »»Next season’s fertiliser applications start soon, with base applications generally beginning in winter. To design a programme that corrects existing imbalances and feeds next season’s crop, soil tests should be completed as soon as possible.
  • Tree stress, low nutrition, Phytophthora infection, heavy crop load and SSM infestation Avocados can increase a tree’s susceptibility to frost damage during winter months. If your property is at risk,  ensure adequate frostfighting measures are in place. Options include overhead watering, wind machines, frost covers on young trees or application of low-biuret urea. 

Leaf yellowing may occur during winter months and can be a sign of low nitrogen availability. Cool soil conditions limit root uptake of nitrogen, and heavy rain causes  losses of available nitrate through leaching. Rectifying the nitrogen status of trees with foliar nitrogen may help alleviate biennial bearing tendencies.

International research shows that foliar applications of urea may also increase an avocado tree’s resistance to frost damage  (see photo) in light frosts. Urea is the  most efficient form of nitrogen for leaf  absorption, but low-biuret products (i.e. technical grade) must be used, as biuret (a nitrogenous bi-product) is phytotoxic to plants. Yara Safe-N is also a good option, as part of the nitrogen content is slow-release. Magnesium sulphate (Epsom salts) may also be added to improve leaf greening as required.

22 June 2018

Custom solution for Misha's Vineyard

When Kelley Hamilton, viticulturist and vineyard manager for Misha’s Vineyard in the Bendigo sub-region of Central Otago, needed a solution for persistent red fescue under their grape vines, she enlisted the assistance of her Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticulture Representative Brent Anderson.

Brent, in turn, consulted with Mike Cox from Nufarm to help with the initial glyphosate product and rate. The resultant ‘brew’ includes Weedmaster TS540, the adjuvant Li-700 and BioStart Digester to  help break down the tough grass cells. By way of background, Kelley says the block was originally planted with red fescue in the interrow mix. “It is a good, hardy grass for the interrow, but it also spreads and thrives under the vines. Where the red fescue persists under vines, we observed reduced vine vigour, hence the decision to seriously target it.” The red fescue has been an ongoing issuewith attempts to eradicate it including cutting it with a line trimmer (weed eater) to open the tuft prior to spray application, targeted hand spraying, and various herbicides applied via the regular under vine weed spraying. Brent says the red fescue continued to thrive regardless. “It practically laughed at us.”

With the custom herbicide blend in hand, Kelley says the first application at a higher water rate had some effect against the fescue. “The subsequent application with a lower water rate seemed to work best. The Digester certainly helps break down the plant tissue so now the clumps are disintegrating. We’ll make a final post-harvest application to our worst affected block as part of our autumn clean-up and I think we’ll be in a much better position for next season.” Misha’s Vineyard owners Misha and Andy Wilkinson have managed their vineyard under the Sustainable New Zealand Wine growing programme for many years, so to balance necessary inputs such as the herbicide applications, Kelley and the team are making and applying their own compost.

Creating a V-shaped trench under the long row of compost, which is on a slope on top of a plastic liner, means they have also been able to collect a compost leachate which is diluted and applied to the vines. Kelley observed that the vines which had compost applied last season held onto their leaves longer this autumn than other vines. “The compost addition improves soil fertility and increases  its water holding capacity.”The development of the composting systems is an ongoing project, as is the collection of suitable inputs for the compost heaps. Grape marc, left from the winemaking process, forms the bulk.

Other inputs are bentonite, a little lime, pea straw and sheep manure which comes from Bendigo Station, where the vineyard is based. Kelley is considering growing cover crops like oats or broad beans  to be cut and added to the heaps. “While it is probably more expensive to make your own compost, rather than buy it in, we believe in recycling what we can from the property. Even the used paper towels from our tasting room can be added to the compost. Our sand, gravel and schist soils have very low organic matter so everything we can add to improve this is making the vineyard more sustainable. 

18 June 2018

Real Estate Market Update, June 2018

Subdued autumn and quiet winter foreshadow busy spring for rural property.

Demand for rural property always balances several variables. How these weigh up determines what momentum the market will generate at any given time.

Activity in the autumn market has been strong, right through into late May, which will also flow through into June, as several property transactions culminate at the same time.

As you will note elsewhere in this edition of Rural Property Pulse, growing conditions for viticulture, kiwifruit and red meat are excellent, and export demand means returns are at or near record levels. Anyone operating in those sectors is therefore faring well, and demand for land that can be used to grow these products is strong.

Dairy is less positive. Although export returns and growing conditions also favour dairy farmers, external factors do not. Chief among these is Mycoplasma bovis. Those at the sharp end of the outbreak will find it difficult to make clear decisions around the future of their business. If that is you, remember there is plenty of support throughout the rural community: you do not have to face this alone.

Uncertainty around the government’s review of overseas investment and increasing pressure to align with freshwater regulations are additional issues making it a challenging period to be a dairy farmer.

Consequently, sales of dairy properties were slow through the autumn, and are likely to continue at a subdued level until value expectations adjust. Although this may take time, it will happen eventually: when there is a correction, or a new factor that farmers need to become accustomed to, it always does.

Because dairy is a key component of our business, a cooling of the dairy property market impacts on the whole market. Meanwhile, with property owners in the other sectors preferring the cashflow the good times provide, ahead of capitalising on the high demand for land, rural property sales have been slow this year.

However, there are already plenty of indications that it will change in spring, and we should experience a stronger season next year as these issues are addressed. If you want to make the most of that by offering rural property for sale, here are some factors to bear in mind:
  • Demand for drystock listings will be strong. Aside from the underlying enthusiasm for pastoral farms with proven credentials for sheep and beef, dairy farmers wary of Mycoplasma bovis are looking to establish standalone dairy units by adding grazing and support blocks to their existing milking platforms. They want greater control of their stock management, which will help them manage the risk of the infection. As this demand heats up, early listing of relevant properties may prove beneficial. 
  • Viticulture and horticulture have had a good season. This will continue next year, with demand for land able to grow kiwifruit, avocados or grapes matching the demand for developed vineyards and orchards. 
  • Other than viticulture and horticulture, the days of significant capital gains are gone. Purchasers and their financial advisers are looking for ongoing return on investment, and will undertake extensive due diligence to determine that, rather than investing solely in the ‘X factor’ of a property. 
  • Demand for farms close to provincial towns, such as Cambridge, is strong and climbing. Traditional buyers are generally more active in these ‘A list’ areas and, with land use change imminent around such towns, these particular markets will heat up yet further. 
  • As noted, because of the hiatus in foreign investment regulations, the market for large dairy farms is evolving, and changes in usage and size may be in prospect for these farms.

That final point also has an implication that expands wider. With the situation around the Overseas Investment Office now fundamentally altered, and confusion prevailing within that system, it is now no longer beneficial for anyone with a property that might otherwise attract an overseas buyer to hold out for that party to appear. Vendors now need to find buyers closer to home, within the local market.

The best aligned rural property specialists to provide that solution are your local PGG Wrightson Real Estate team. We are the logical way to link to the broader spectrum of rural New Zealand. Our network of relationships with partners including individual farmers, producer and grower groups, iwi, and other rural professionals is the most comprehensive on offer, making our team best placed to meet your rural property needs, particularly when local buyers are in the ascendant, as they are right now.

 Peter Newbold Signature

Peter Newbold
General Manager
PGG Wrightson Real Estate Limited


Read the rest of our Winter 2018 Rural Property Pulse publication here.

Agonline Blog Image June
8 June 2018

Livestock Market Update, June 2018

We're now well into bull selling season, lamb schedules are continuing to rise and the Karaka Autumn All Age Sale saw some great results. Read on to find our more of what's been happening around the country.

South Island

Bull sales have started strongly in Southland and Otago, with good clearances of Bulls and average pricing, up on last year. 

Lamb schedules are continuing to rise as lamb numbers ease. Schedules, making $7.20-$7.30/kg common reading on kill sheets. This level is something of a milestone for South Island lamb, surpassing the peak reached in late November and in turn marking a six and-a-half year high.

Store cattle pricing is meandering along as farmers transition into winter mode. M Bovis has had an effect on buyers confidence and the risk of potentially contracting the disease is seeing them only source stock from farms they are confident that are not infected.

North Island

Another month has gone by and we are in the home straight for 2017/2018 season. The second half of the financial year has seen some record breaking prices on sheep meats especially, with cattle being solid. In fact cattle were humming along nicely in the first half of the year with values being above expectation so a game of two halves so to speak.

We are in June now and the weather has turned and we are heading into winter mode, the store markets have reacted to this and have eased across the board. Frosts and cold winds have halted growth and temperatures are hovering around 1-4 degrees in the High Country of the North Island.

The large Feilding market on Friday the 1st of June showed that farmers are offloading and this in turned put pressure on the market price due to caution with winter feed supply. Lamb was trading down this week by $6-$7 per head based on last week with values being $3.60-$3.80 being the norm with heavier lines trading below that at $3.40-$3.50. 

Cattle has continued to trade especially with Micoplasma Bovis ever present.  Cattle yarded in Feilding on Friday were picked over and good lines sold well and lesser lines not so popular.

R3 Angus Steers with good cover made $2.80-$2.92cpk With xbreds down as low as $2.75 cpk.

R2 Angus Steers and the odd exotic line faired better with 450-550kg Steers $2.90-$3.02cpk and not a lot of lighter Steers on offer.

R2 Heifers 300 to late 300kg live weight  $2.55-$2.75cpk depending on quality. 



MPI and the government’s decision to eradicate Mycoplasma Bovis has been the major talking point within the agriculture sector and across the wider public. Whilst there are pros and cons either way the industry needs to be united if we are to eradicate this disease.

31st May / 1st June dairy transactions have just been settled, and in general terms it was very successful. The early onset of winter in some areas caused some minor BCS issues.
The movement of stock and how best to mitigate any potential risks is raising lots of questions – please if you have any concerns visit the MPI or Dairy NZ websites.



The 2018 Karaka Autumn All Age Sales saw a new National record of $120,000 for a weanling, a sale record yearling price of $150,000 and a highest ever sale turnover of $1,364,050. No one could argue with the new record weanling price as the purchaser Jean Feiss of Victoria has shown an excellent eye for judging her purchasers over a number of years. 

The record yearling was a withdrawal from the February sales and a triumph for technology. The vendor allowed us to post on our website a ‘before and after’ video of the upper respiratory endoscopic examination of the horse. 

Both top priced lots came from the Clevedon based Woodlands Stud. Huge interest is drawn by staging the sale the day before the ‘Harness Jewels’ meeting at Cambridge and resulted in an extremely good clearance rate of 92%.



Bull sale season is well underway throughout the country and so far results are on par, if not stronger, than last year. Already we have seen a Springdale Angus Stud (Taumarunui) bull sold for $62,000 to Tangihau Angus Stud in Gisborne, a fantastic result early in the season. 

There have been a few more video sales added to the sale calendar since the National Video Sale in Palmerston North, with the modern concept generally being well received by buyers. 

With plenty of bull sales still left on the calendar and a growing PGW Genetics team, it will be exciting to see what the rest of the bull-selling season holds.

Click here to see upcoming bull sales.

Rural Diary
1 June 2018 External Supplier

How to ensure a profitable lucerne stand

When it comes to weed control in lucerne, there’s really only one option says Central Otago Farmer, Barry Smith. And that’s to spray Gramoxone® 250 during winter months when the crop is dormant.

Lucerne is a highly nutritious feed which supports excellent stock growth rates in spring and summer. It has a reputation as a challenging crop to manage. However, by following some basic guidelines, it is possible to grow a successful stand.

Barry grows about 100 ha of lucerne on his sheep and beef property in the Maniototo area, which is in Central Otago. He works with Spray Contractor, Richard Mulholland from Donegal Contracting and PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative, John Kreft.

“Profitable lucerne production is based on a rapidly growing, dense stand” explains John. “Lucerne does not tolerate competition from weeds, so winter weed spraying is essential to maintain longevity and maximise the production of high quality feed.

“We always recommend Gramoxone 250 because it’s been used for years and it works well. It eliminates most weeds for a clean paddock.”

Syngenta Gramoxone 250 is a non-selective, non-residual contact herbicide. It is normally applied to lucerne at a rate of 2.4 L per ha and often combined with a residual herbicide (atrazine) to increase residual.

“Only established paddocks (stands that are one year old or more) should be sprayed with the combination of Gramaxone 250 plus atrazine” continues John. “Winter is the best time, when the lucerne is dormant, usually from early July through to September.

“Prior to spraying, the crop should be grazed firmly to remove excess lucerne and weed foliage. More bare soil showing results in better residual control.”

It is advisable to allow 10 to 14 days between grazing and spraying, as dirty foliage will deactivate Gramoxone 250.

Spray Contractor Richard has worked with Gramoxone 250 since the early 1980s. He agrees that it is the only option for effective weed management in lucerne. And they cover around 5,000 to 6,000 ha of lucerne each year.

"We’ve tried different products over the years, but nothing seems to have the same quick burn off that Gramoxone 250 provides” explains Richard. “Gramoxone 250 is cost-effective because it does what it’s supposed to. Many farmers only use it every second year as a result."

Barry sprays approximately half of his crop (50 ha) each year. Both Richard and Barry rely on PGG Wrightson to supply the products they require and they’ve worked closely with John for over 10 years. “John is very helpful and approachable. Getting what we need from PGG Wrightson when we need it is never a problem” confirms Barry.

It is important to ensure you are using the right herbicide and application rates. Contact your local PGG Wrightson Technical Field Representative to check your lucerne paddocks and provide you with the right advice.

Article sponsored by Syngenta

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