Irrigation by RX Plastics
Irrigation is well under way but there are genuine fears that people will use up all their allocations well before the end of the season. Tony Davoren from Hydro Services says it is vital that soil moisture levels are monitored and irrigators are calibrated properly to stop any waste. He says the costs of extracting the water from underground, at up to $2,000.00 a day, it is a very costly exercise.

Beware of low levels in your wells as they can be death to your pump. Tony Davoren says with low levels in the wells the pumps suck air as they start up and the cavitation simply destroys it. Tony says already some wells are lower than normal and the recharge after pumping has finished is very slow. (Watch Interview)

Animal Health and Welfare
If in doubt, get your vet to certify any animals booked for transport to the processing companies. That’s the advice of Nick Page from Rolleston Vet Services. He says that MPI are tightening up on the problem of transporting defective or injured stock so be warned. He says there are some areas where the problems are obvious such as very emaciated animals, lameness, open wounds, cancer eyes but also be careful with pregnant dairy cows and allow lots of time before calving. Nick says people under stress don’t always make the right decisions so it’s best to get your vet to do so. (Watch Interview)

Horticulture and Cropping
At last everyone is talking to each other and things in the agricultural and horticultural worlds are moving in the same direction. Jim Grierson says a recent get together of the key people has produced a master plan to maximise our markets and increase margins for producers. He says we must look at niche markets and that’s where the future lies. Jim admits the answer is irrigation, but says Canterbury is in the pound seats as we have water, the right climate and ideal soils for specialised crops.

Be very aware of the withholding periods when producing consumables. Jim Grierson suggests that the latest levels being demanded by some markets are so fine it seems ridiculous but they must be abided by. He says free trade is one thing but fair trade is another, and many overseas buyers will decline produce for a raft of reasons as they protect their own producers or try to bring the prices down. (Watch Interview)

Events and Profiles
If you want to be a jockey, follow your heart. That’s what Nicole Jordon has done at the age of 23. Nicole has always loved horses and riding but went into retail because she lost the feeling in her hand after a fall. She has now signed on with a trainer and wants to reach the top. She admits that having the jockey academy at Riccarton Park, where she is based will make it a lot easier. (Watch Interview)

Education by Lincoln University 
Cut your stock numbers and do it early when things are getting tight. According to Bruce Grieg from Lincoln University if you move early and keep onto your budgets you can and will get through the tough times. He says the other very important thing is to talk with your advisers and not sweep things under the carpet. (Watch Interview)