2 September 2011
Growers recognise the importance of research
At 1pm today, FAR received the ‘declaration of result’ following the closure of its fourth referendum of growers, which
has determined the significant support of NZ arable, maize and cereal silage communities being in favour of FAR
investing their levy funds into research and extension. FAR will now make an application to the Minister for these levy
orders to be put in place.
Electionz.com Ltd were contracted to administer the referendum which, over the past month, has given growers the
opportunity to have their say on whether or not they wish FAR to continue to invest levy payers’ funds in the future.
Nick Pyke, FAR’s Chief Executive says the result is a true reflection of the hard work and commitment of growers, FAR
staff and industry colleagues. “We are strong advocates of investing in research areas which are of particular
importance to growers. Through feedback from our regional Arable Research Groups (ARGs) and Strategic Research
Committee, we ensure that the areas of importance are addressed through research strategies and programmes which are put
in place to tackle these.”
It is important to FAR that levy payers and subscribers are kept up-to-date with where levy investments are spent, Pyke
says. “We have developed a research and extension strategy and portfolio which provides details around specific areas of
research which are being undertaken across a range of crops and an outline of FAR’s extension mandate. This has been
developed with due regard for sustainable farming practices so a balanced portfolio of production, environmental and
social research will be maintained. The outcomes of investment will deliver benefits which can be measured in the
increased productivity, profitability and the retention or opportunity for the farm to use certain practices.”
All growers were sent a copy of FAR’s Research and Extension Strategy and Portfolio in August, however further copies
can be requested from the FAR office or a pdf version can be downloaded at
What the farmers say
Lynette and Philip Lovett crop 80% of their 491 ha livestock and arable property in mid Canterbury. Lynette has belonged
to Women in Arable, FAR’s specialist discussion group for women, for many years. Without the support and expert
knowledge she has gained from the group, she says it would have been hard to continue farming after her husband Rod died
in 2002. Now she’s delighted that Philip, 28, has become part of Arable Y’s. This is a new initiative by FAR to provide
younger arable farmers with their own forum and discussion group. “This is a very important focus. The next generation
is our future, and the future of our industry. Arable Y’s has good support and I think it’s a really positive step.” FAR
has helped with everything from cultivar selection and chemical programmes to machinery purchase and a move towards
minimum till, Lynette says. Does she get value for her levy? “Heck, yes!”
Waitatapia Station in the Manawatu is a 2600 ha livestock and arable business – run by brothers Hew and Roger Dalrymple.
FAR trials have become a constant part of the cropping side of Waitatapia Station in recent years. Hosting trials for
FAR has provided great first-hand research data to help manage the crop system more effectively, Hew says. But FAR also
delivers valuable support at industry level. “Wheat is one good example of how individual crop management has changed at
Waitatapia – “Cultivar choices are a lot easier now, and our timing of post plant inputs has improved immeasurably.” For
maize, the brothers’ biggest single crop, development of tools like the AmaizeN calculator has positive implications
above and beyond any one property, Hew says. “This is a really good tool. It’s absolutely critical for the industry that
we are shown to know exactly what we’re doing with our inputs, and FAR is doing some very good work in that area. We
must keep doing that research; we need it for the future.”
The Foundation for Arable Research (FAR) is an applied research and information transfer organisation, primarily
responsible to New Zealand arable growers – providing independent, quality, cost effective research, to add value to the
business of arable farming.
FAR was formed in 1995 and operates under the Commodity Levy Legislation. FAR is required to hold a referendum of
growers every five years and in the referendum in 2005 had 80% support from arable farmers who voted on cereals and
herbage and 60% on maize.
How FAR is funded:
An Arable Commodity Levy is collected at the first point of sale for all grain and seed. The levy rate for 2011 is:
• Maize – 90c per 10,000 seeds purchased;
• Herbage and amenity seed – 0.8% of sale value;
• All other grain and seed crops (cereals, pulses etc) – 0.8% of sale value
• Hybrid vegetable seed crops – 0.5% of sale value
FAR also receives funds from research grants such as MAF SFF (MAF Sustainable Farming Fund) and Agmardt, commercial
activities such as seminars and non-grower subscriptions and from other participants or beneficiaries of the research.
Crops FAR collects levies from:
Wheat, barley, oats, maize, pulses, herbage seeds, brassicas, borage and other arable crops. Vegetable seeds.