Rural Supplies

Helping grow the country

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24 May 2018

Importance of resistance management

Image: Pathogens such as downy mildew require careful management of crop protection products to avoid the development of resistance [Photo credit: Howard F. Schwartz,]

Resistance management is a factor in crop protection that cannot be ignored. The overuse or misuse of a chemical control option on an insect, pathogen or weed can lead to resistance building up. 

There are many factors that can lead to a fungicide, insecticide or herbicide not controlling the desired target. The spray equipment may not be calibrated correctly, weather conditions such as wind or rain impacted the coverage, expired product was used, etc. All these factors can be corrected easily by the spray applicator. Where resistance is causing a lack of control, then a  much more in-depth control strategy is required.

Resistance develops when a small number of individuals within a disease or pest population survive when control methods are applied. Resistant individuals can appear due to a number of different mechanisms including natural genetic variation, mutation, or exchange of genetic material. Over time, if continued exposure to the same chemicals occurs, then a shift in the population can occur as those resistant individuals start to dominate. Using fungicides as an example, pre-1970 fungicides such as mancozeb, copper, and sulphur offer non-specific, multi-site control making them low risk of developing resistance. Many modern chemicals are at much greater risk of resistance developing, due to the specific way these products target a pathogen. 

Many of these chemical groups have guidelines on how they should be used to minimise resistance management:

  • SDHI, Group 7 (e.g. Pristine, Luna Devotion, Seguris Flexi) – maximum of two applications per crop, alternating with an alternative group.
  • QoI, Group 11 (e.g. Amistar, Reason) – maximum of three applications, with no more than two consecutive applications. These products should be mixed with an alternative group fungicide.
  • CAA, Group 40 (e.g. Acrobat, Zampro, Reevus)– no more than 50% of applications for downy mildew or late blight should come from this group of chemistry.
  • DMI, Group 3 (e.g. Score 250 EC, Alto, Cereous) – maximum of three applications in most vegetable crops, two applications in cucurbit crops.

All products should be used in a way that follows label instructions. While this covers a lot of the fungicide groups used in vegetables, it is not all of them. For more information around product selection, pest and disease management, please contact your local Technical Horticulture Representative.

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24 May 2018 External Supplier

Drape Net trials prove benefits

With three years of use in local apple and pear orchards throughout New Zealand’s major growing regions, Drape Net® is showing benefits to growers’ returns.

The black Drape Net has a 25% shading factor due to the black impregnated polymer pigment, reducing the impact of sunlight on the apple skin, says industry consultant Bruce Gemmell.
Bruce has been working with Fruitfed Supplies Hastings senior representatives Gary Speers and Richard Griffiths who have now trialled black Drape Net in numerous Hawke’s Bay Granny Smith blocks. Gary and Richard report that growers are getting increased pack-out due to reduced sunburn and fewer cosmetic defects on the Drape Net-covered blocks.

Richard says: “Being a green apple, Granny Smiths have always had an inherent problem of attracting sunburn or a red blush, which reduces export pack-outs. With growers either reinvigorating or planting new Granny Smith blocks, the ability of Drape Net to help prevent sunburn is an important focus for this variety. As sunburn is one of the leading reject factors in all apple varieties, not only Granny Smith, we can see Drape Net’s further application for this purpose.” Bruce reports that, this season, some growers were getting to the stage that pickers were harvesting fruit into two different bins at picking time to speed up the process of sending the good green Granny Smiths to their packhouse.

With many existing Granny Smith trees reaching 4.5m in height due to older more vigorous rootstocks Drape Net has also had the effect of controlling shoot extension growth. In one orchard, after two years of application, trees did not need to be pruned last winter. This has led to reduced tree input costs and easier Drape Net application.

Drape Net application contractor Jamie Gemmell says the reduced extension growth following two years of Drape Net application on tall Granny Smith trees made it far easier to put the nets on. With three years of Drape Net application experience, Jamie says the best way to apply netting properly over trees is with the specially-developed NetWizz applicator. “Drape Net’s NetWizz applicator gives the correct cover and net tension which ensures spray coverage and fruit rub do not become issues.”

Further trial work with Drape Net and other tree growing systems will continue in the coming season, specifically in new apple plantings. Internationally, Drape Net is sending major shipments to North American and South African growers who have seen the benefits gained by New Zealand and Australian growers. Drape Net was originally developed over 15 years ago by an Australian orchard trying to negate the devastating effects of hail. It offers a cost effective way of protecting tree crops from hail, birds, sunburn, wind damage and specific insects, and also disrupts codling moth flight and reduces under-tree evapotranspiration. For further information, please contact your local Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticultural Representative.

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24 May 2018

Fruitfed Supplies' trainees get stuck in

Late last year PGG Wrightson initiated a new trainee programme for retail sales representatives, with four Rural Supplies and two Fruitfed Supplies trainees selected to start in 2018.

Mentored by highly-experienced Technical Field or Horticultural Representatives, the trainees learn about the wider PGG Wrightson business through a structured programme of modules and assessments. They also complete the company’s in-house NZQA accredited programme to gain a National Certificate in Rural Servicing (Level 4). The trainees work full-time in the business for 18 months while completing the programme, leaving them well positioned to move into a permanent role as a fullyfledged Technical Sales Representative. The two successful applicants for the trainee positions within Fruitfed Supplies are Kirsten Ellmers (pictured), based at the Richmond store, and Paul Kahaki, based in Gisborne.

Kirsten, who has a Bachelor of Arts and English, and a Diploma of Science and Technology, was looking for the right role to commence her professional career. Her background includes fulltime work on a Havelock North pip and stonefruit orchard, university holiday work on a sheep and beef station in Rere, Gisborne, helping out at the Matawhero saleyards, and growing up in the rural/equestrian community. The 24-year-old says she’s keen to make the most of the programme’s variety. “I am enjoying being part of this year’s academy group. It’s an excellent place to make contacts and meet people who relate to where I’m at in the trainee programme. I enjoy learning from the Richmond store staff. I am very grateful to be chosen for the programme. The move to Nelson has been a great kick-start to a potential career in Fruitfed Supplies and PGG Wrightson, and I look forward to progressing through the programme.”

Paul Kahaki, age 35, is originally from a Gisborne farming family. “I lived in Auckland for 19 years and saw this as a great opportunity to return home and start a career in farming.” Paul says: “Growing up on the East Coast I spent a lot of time on the farm with the olds, school was non-existent during October whilst docking, and I have always had a keen interest in sheep and beef systems. Comparing farms up the coast back then and the same operations today, the growth and technical development have increased dramatically. As part of the trainee academy, I have chosen to study the export of beef into China. Whilst study has come as a bit of a shock, it is developing my knowledge of a key market New Zealand supplies. “I want to be seen as a trusted technical advisor dealing with the farms I grew up around, helping grow their farming businesses. So far, the programme is great. I’m learning a lot of information that will help me further down the track. I have met a lot of key people within the business in a short space of time, and enjoyed some travel already."

4 May 2018

Livestock Market Update, May 2018

It’s been a busy month of  calf sales across the country, the PGG Wrightson Standardbred Autumn Weanling Sales start May 29th and we’re just weeks away from the PGG Wrightson Livestock National Video Sale (Stud Bull Sale), find out more on our National Video Sale page.

North Island

The past few weeks had seen large volumes of weaner calves sold across the North Island. The prices held up well despite some negative sentiment from some of the processors regarding the short to medium term outlook for beef. The large sheep regions have prospered on the back of record kill prices for lamb and mutton.
Farmers seem cautiously optimistic that the good times are here to stay for a while at least and this creates a good environment for traders and breeders alike.

One of the things that’s sets PGG Wrightson Livestock ahead of the competition is the quality of its auctioneers and the teams around them. They work extremely hard and take real pride ensuring that farmer clients receive full market value for each lot sold.


South Island

April has been an extremely busy month in the South Island with the calf sales being the main focus of activity. Overall vendors were reasonable happy with calf prices, although prices have eased off their highs from last year money for calves have still been very good. There has also been a lot of store lambs sold as farmers unload numbers due to winter just around the corner. Pricing for store lambs have been around the $3.20-3.40, the only exception to this is half bred lambs are making 20 cents kg more.

The weaner deer market has been exceptional strong as demand outstrips supply.



As expected MPI’s announcement to depopulate the properties infected with MPB has had an effect on the dairy market. All regions are reporting increased activity since this decision was made, it is being driven primarily by existing buyers now deciding the time is right to purchase. In general market price hasn’t been greatly affected. This lift in activity has converted a number of clearing sales into paddock sales.

On the 13th April PGW was fortunate to conduct the Busy Brook Gold Label Sale. Busy Brook Doorman Hailstorm (Imp.ET), a 6 week old daughter of the two time World Dairy Expo and Royal Winter Fair Grand Champion RF Goldwyn Hailstorm, EX 97, 4 SBC. This one off calf created much competition and was finally knocked down to the famous Sherraine Holstein herd of Peter Sherriff and Family of Kaiapoi for $35,000 a new record price for a calf in New Zealand. 



The PGG Wrightson Livestock National Video Sale (Stud Bull Sale) is the premier sale of beef genetics in NZ, bringing together the best Hereford, Angus and Shorthorn bulls from around the country.
The sale will take place on Monday 14 May from 4pm at the Palmerston North Convention Centre.
Please note: This is not a livestream auction, buyers must be at the Palmerston North Convention Centre to bid.

Head over to our National Video Sale page to find out more of the details. You can also see upcoming bull sales across the country on the Agonline Sale Calendar.



From a total entry of 225 of all ages, a record 155 weanlings are to be offered on May 29th in Christchurch and June 1st in the Auckland Autumn Sale at Karaka. See the Standardbred website to view the catalogue. The majority of the weanlings come from two drafts aligned to the leading stud farms, Woodland Stud of Clevedon and Alabar Stud based at Waiau Pa, near Pukekohe.

The Auckland sale is scheduled for the day before Harness Racing’s annual richest ‘Jewels’ race day at Cambridge.

1 May 2018

There is light at the end of the tunnel for Strong Wool

PGW’s GM of Wool, Grant Edwards talks to Jamie McKay about the future of Strong Wool. There is increasing pressure from consumers and social media around the environmental impacts and health issues from synthetic fibres. Grant talks to Jamie about the long term upsides of wool - as a natural and sustainable product.
20 April 2018

Nokomai Station's halfbred lambs get top dollar

Halfbred lamb sales are a rarity in Southland, so Nokomai Station’s on-farm sale on Wednesday 18 April attracted a strong gallery of buyers from Otago and Canterbury who were looking for some of the last of season’s lambs from the region. The on-farm sale offered 8,616 halfbred and 2,692 Texel X lambs for sale. The Station achieved top dollar for their well-bred high country lambs.

Nokomai Station’s James Hore said, “The Station is a store stock property, so we try and get those animals off the property by mid-April, before we muster the ewes prior to putting the rams out.

“We used to have a small on-farm sale in January for our Texel X lambs but switched to selling privately about four years ago. This is the first time we have sold our halfbred lambs on-farm. We have taken the lambs through as far as we can, so selling them all at once worked well for us this year.

“We weaned in early February and the farm was pretty dry then so we had to weigh up whether to hold onto them or sell them at a low price. We decided to keep them - as we have plenty of land up top - so that’s where we put them. Since then we have had a bit of rain and the pasture has improved. We brought the lambs down to the lower blocks about six weeks ago and they did well on that pasture. So we ended up being pretty happy with the lambs we offered at the sale.” 

PGG Wrightson Livestock Agent Barry McAlister said, “Nokomai Station is one of the only high country stations in Southland with a large halfbred flock. No one else is offering this number of halfbred lambs at once. It gives buyers a big line of consistent lambs so it works well for them too. The sale also offered Texel X lambs.

“The lambs have come through a really dry period. They were looking hard six weeks ago, but about that time James put them onto some good pasture and they have since put on a lot of condition. The top cut of halfbred wethers were about 36 kg.

“All of the lambs go north - with 50 percent going to finishers in Mid Canterbury, about the same amount to Central Otago and one line heading up to Cheviot in North Canterbury. They are usually farmed through to September and shorn and then killed in October or November. The halfbreds are attractive to lamb finishers as they offer an additional $25 - $30 per head for the wool.

“The market has changed. Now we see a shortage of halfbred ewes overall. Most farmers went out of halfbred breeding ewes about 10 years ago and moved to crossbreds. Some of those farmers are now making the move back to halfbreds, which is why we saw high prices for halfbred ewe lambs at the sale with the top cut selling for $127 per head.

“A lot of lambs went out of Southland early this year due to the drought, so the region is now down to its last 20 percent or so. From now only smaller lines will be offered,” said Barry.

Sale Results

The average price overall was $113.50 per head, with the top cut prices:

  • Halfbred wether lambs (pen of 825) sold for $131 per head.
  • Halfbred ewe lambs (pen of 461) sold for $127 per head.
  • Texel X wether lambs (pen of 472) sold for $125 per head.
  • Texel X ewe lambs (pen of 630) sold for $117 per head.


About Nokomai Station

James and Liv Hore farm Nokomai Station in Northern Southland, just south of the township of Athol. The 40,000 hectare farm runs 20,000 breeding ewes (Merino and halfbred) 1,500 Merino wethers and 800 Hereford breeding cows. The Station has only been owned by two families, firstly by the Cameron’s from 1860 and then James’ grandfather Frank since 1950. The Station was subsequently farmed by his parents Brian and Ann Hore.


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