Digging deep to help neighbours

July 8, 2014

Our district has been deeply shaken by the shooting of more than 200 sheep.

But good can come from bad and that was illustrated at the special fundraising sale at Waiareka yesterday:

The sale raised close to $22,500 for the Stackhouse and Dodd families, both victims of recent sheep killings on their properties, with stock agents reporting ”generous” prices being paid.

Meanwhile, about $11,400 has been deposited in the Westpac bank account set up by Rural Women NZ North Otago.

When contacted, Ngapara farmer Peter Stackhouse said he was overwhelmed by the support shown.

”Words can hardly describe it … we’re really, really privileged to be in the North Otago area. We didn’t expect anything; it’s very, very humbling,” he said. . .

While the sale was about country people showing their support, he said he had also had calls from urban dwellers who were also very concerned and thinking about them.

The next best thing now would be for someone to be apprehended for the offending, he said.

Tapui farmer John Dodd said it showed ”good human nature against the opposite side of it” and he thanked the public for their support.

”Once you pick on one farmer, in my opinion, you’re picking on the whole lot. Farmers respond with kind hearts,” Mr Dodd said.

The sale was an initiative of Federated Farmers and the community, and it drew a much larger crowd than usual to the weekly Waiareka stock sale.

Organiser Greg Ruddenklau was ”over the bloody moon” with the result, after 168 sheep and several cattle beasts were donated.

”It just shows how much people care really, doesn’t it?” Mr Ruddenklau said.

While demonstrating the level of support for the farmers affected, it also showed that people ”don’t want these sort of things happening in North Otago, or anywhere”. . .

During spirited bidding, auctioneer Rod Naylor quipped: ”I wish it was like this every week”. . .

Mr Naylor said prices overall at the sale were ”generous”, compared to usual market value, which showed the buyers’ goodwill.

He described the result as ”tremendous” saying both the numbers of stock yarded and the prices achieved were higher than what had been expected.

Police said there were no further reported similar incidents over the weekend.

The first incident happened over the weekend of June 21-22 when 195 sheep were killed on the Stackhouse property, and at least a further 20 sheep were killed on the Dodd farm the following weekend.

In both incidents, police believed a firearm was used. Police actively patrolled the Ngapara area over the weekend and would continue to conduct patrols in the area, Detective Warren Duncan said.

A small investigation team, including some Dunedin staff, was working through information received from members of the public and carrying out inquiries.

Anyone with information should contact Oamaru police on (03) 433-1400 or call Det Duncan confidentially on (03) 433-1416.

Everyone in the area knows that this could have happened to anyone of us and everyone is happy to dig deep to help neighbours.

Money can’t replace decades of breeding which went in to the stud stock which were shot, nor can it take away the fear. But the generosity and good will locally and from further afield is heart warming.

We’ve been impressed by the police response too.

One of our staff was stopped and questioned on his way home late on Saturday night and a woman who had stopped to admire the stars found her car surrounded by police.


Rural round-up

July 6, 2014

Young Farmer named for 2014:

David Kidd has beaten seven finalists over three days of competition to become the 2014 Young Farmer of the year.

In the 46 years of the contest’s history, Mr Kidd is the first Northern region finalist to take the title.

His father Richard Kidd was third in a young farmer competition in 1984.

Mr Kidd joked his inspiration for competing was to better his father and said he’ll be rubbing it in when he sees him. . .

Evil among us – farm community closes ranks – Rebecca Ryan:

The quiet and friendly community of Ngapara has been shaken.

Neighbours are watching out for neighbours, new chains and locks have been placed on gates and security cameras on fence posts, some residents are unable to sleep at night and farmers are requiring help to carry out basic farm work – all fearful after a mass killing of more than 215 sheep on two different properties in the area, two weekends in a row.

They are all hopeful the culprit, or culprits, do not return this weekend.

Police believe the killings may be linked and a firearm was used in both. . .

Dairy head to focus on environment – Gerard Hutching:

Newly elected Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard said focusing on the environment was one of his two main priorities.

The other was to deal with the issue of labour standards.

A Feilding dairy farmer, Hoggard said it frustrated him that farmers were always trying to play catch up when it came to dealing with environmental issues.

He acknowledged there was a “real issue” of water quality being affected by dairying.

“Cows urinate and that’s got a lot of nitrogen in it, but a lot of people perceive there’s a pipe coming out of a cow shed and into a river. There are a few ratbags but things are in place for farmers to do the right thing. I don’t defend those who don’t,” he said. . .

Firm finds cunning niches – Emma Rawson:

From a mechanism that cleans up geese poop, to small parts for a Fisher & Paykel baby incubator – the range of machinery designed and manufactured by Dannevirke company Metalform is about as broad as it gets.

But the products have one thing in common: they provide solutions to problems deemed too small for the big international manufacturing giants to produce.

Solving Canada’s geese waste issue might not be big business for an agricultural giant like John Deere, but for family-owned Metalform, its Tow and Collect product has been a winner.

Tow and Collect is being used in North American towns to clean up after Canadian geese, which leave a large volume of mess on golf courses and parks during their migration. . .

Fieldays set to get even bigger – Andrea Fox:

National Fieldays will offer up to 100 extra exhibitor sites next year and a new dairy innovation centre is in the pipeline.

Chief executive Jon Calder said the new sites were part of a master plan for the Mystery Creek Events Centre and would maximise the central exhibition space area.

Large-scale exhibitors who have been seeking a new area are likely to benefit but Calder said the flow-on effect for all exhibitors of an improved design and layout would be positive.

The planned dairy innovation centre, which might not be ready until 2016, would be based on a pavilion model in Canada and would bring together in one area exhibits devoted to the dairy industry, including a herd of cows, live robotic milking, interactive plant and equipment displays, and effluent systems, Calder said. . .

Fonterra targets audience of two billion – Hugh Stringleman:

Fonterra intends to be a dairy co-operative that makes a difference in the lives of two billion people by 2025, chief executive Theo Spierings says.

It was already the world’s largest milk processor and dairy exporter and now it wanted to be a globally relevant co-operative, Spierings said.

Growth in demand was forecast to exceed dairy product supply growth by 3% each year in the massive markets of China and India from now until 2020, he said.

India’s forecast compound annual growth rate was 10% and China’s 7%, whereas their supply growth rates were 7% and 4% respectively. . . .

Life in the saddle – Pip Courtney:

PIP COURTNEY, PRESENTER: In the bush, no-one likes a skite. But while modesty’s an admirable trait, it’s kept many with fascinating lives from writing their memoirs.

Alwyn Torenbeek’s a good example. Despite an extraordinary life, it took years of badgering from his family before the 77-year-old retired drover agreed to put pen to paper.

At just 21, he was Australia’s bronc-riding champion, known for his bravery, natural talent and cheeky showmanship. But his biography is about more than fame. There’s adventure, tragedy, romance and mateship, and that indomitable bush trait, endurance.

An endurance riding camp has its own pace. There’s plenty of time to catch up with mates and swap stories, some of them tall.

At Alwyn Torenbeek’s camp, you’re assured of a yarn or five. . .

Good calving nutrition can better support calving season

With calving season just around the corner, the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and SealesWinslow have teamed up to educate dairying women around the importance of good calf nutrition.

Ballance Agri-Nutrients, through its animal nutrition business, SealesWinslow, will be running a series of interactive calf nutrition days across nine locations in New Zealand during June and July.

Mike Stephens, dairy category manager for Ballance Agri-Nutrients said the sessions will provide participants with practical, hands-on skills to raise healthy calves and, in the long term, build healthier and more profitable herds. . .


More sheep shot

July 1, 2014

A week after nearly 200 sheep were shot on a North Otago farm at least 15 more have been shot on another farm in the area on Sunday night or early yesterday morning.

. . . They [police] are not yet saying whether they were shot dead or whether they think the deaths are linked.

“Both of these events are very unusual but we appreciate that they will be creating a high level of concern amongst local farmers and the community in the Ngapara area,” says Detective Warren Duncan.

Witnesses who may have seen anything in the Crown Hill, Conlans Road and Peaks Road area were asked to contact police.

Last weekend, 195 sheep were shot at Peter Stackhouse’s property over two nights. Many had to be put down because the bullets did not kill them.

Police were baffled as to why so many were shot but not taken for their meat.

However, Det Duncan said “good information” had come in on the killings. . .

The area has been plagued by unsolved crimes going back several decades:

Whether you believe in lunar madness or not, there is evidence to suggest the full moon has cast its spell over Ngapara in the past 40 years.

As inquiries continue into the slaughter of about 195 sheep on a Ngapara farm last weekend, so too do investigations into a 40-year trail of unsolved crimes in the area – most of them committed during a full moon, according to Oamaru police.

”[Farmers] all know that on a full moon [the offender(s)] plays up – full moon, watch out, keep everything locked up,” Community Constable Bruce Dow, of Oamaru, said.

”They say: ‘Full moon, [they’ll] be out there tonight’.”

A sense of fear remained in the community and farmers had always been aware of suspicious activity, he said.

”This has been a bone of contention for that community for years and years and it’s not stopped,” he said.

”It’s criminal behaviour by an individual or individuals and it’s causing the community of Enfield, Ngapara and Georgetown a lot of concern.

”It hasn’t been forgotten – if the offender out there thinks that he or she has got away with this, they are fooling themselves.”

Police can trace a series of fires and sabotage of vehicles and farm equipment back to 1975 in the Ngapara area, extended in some cases to Enfield and Georgetown.

Const Dow said the unsolved crimes were unlikely to be linked to the shootings of ewes and hoggets on the Stackhouse family farm last Friday and Saturday nights, but police were still appealing for information. . .

Historic crimes in the Ngapara area included theft of property from tractors, stock theft, arson of hay sheds, paddocks, forests and houses and serious damage to tractors, and machinery.

”Engines have been destroyed on tractors, headers and vehicles, we believe by the use of carborundum, a grinding paste,” Const Dow said.

”Tyres have been punctured, wheel nuts have been loosened off tractors and cars. Sheep have been stolen and ear tags from one farm have been found down offal pits of another.”

Fences had been cut, electric fences tampered with and one farmer lost more than 2250 litres of diesel when the taps from a fuel tank were turned on.

The Stackhouse family farm was also targeted about 20 years ago, with farm machinery seriously damaged, Const Dow said.

In many cases, damage had been subtle, such as holes drilled in hydraulic hoses and nail holes poked into a tractor’s air filter.

”Everything has been covertly done – they’ve been done under cover of darkness and a lot of them were done so they wouldn’t be discovered until when the equipment was needed the most,” he said.

”Old-timers … will remember lots of these incidents and they will have a very firm opinion of who’s caused it.” . . .

Not only old-timers have a firm opinion of the identity of the perpetrator of the on-going crimes but there has never been enough proof to lay charges.

However, these mass shooting are something new and very unwelcome.

While killing other people’s stock for meat can’t be condoned it can be understood.

But this senseless shooting, killing and leaving some animals still alive but badly injured, is evil and has left everyone in the area very worried.

The crimes have also galvanised community spirit. An email arrived from Federated Farmers advising:

Community fundraiser in support of the Stackhouse Family – Waiareka Sale, Monday 7 July

Federated Farmers and the North Otago community are holding a special fundraising sale to assist Peter and Janine Stackhouse  following the recent brutal attack on their stock, where approximately 200 sheep were shot.

When:Monday 7 July 2014

Where: Waiareka Sale Yards (after their usual morning sale)

If people would like to donate ewes or lambs it would be greatly appreciated, if so, we’d ask for ewes or lambs to be delivered to the Waiareka sale yards, on the morning of the sale (Monday, 7 July).

If you’d like to donate stock but are unable to deliver them to the sale yards, please contact Greg Ruddenklau on (03) 432 4006 or 027 429 6179 to organise a pick up.

If instead you’d like to give a cash donation to the Stackhouse’s, a fundraiser account has been set up by Rural Woman NZ and the details are below.

Federated Farmers would like to publicly thank PGG Wrightson, Rural Women NZ North Otago and CRT Farmlands for their assistance.

Fundraiser details:

Deliver ewes or lambs on the morning of the sale, or if this is not possible, please contact Greg Ruddenklau on (03) 432 4006 or 027 429 6179 to organise a pick up.

Fundraising account for cash donations:

Westpac: 03 0937 0071238 00

Account: Rural Women NZ North Otago

Reference number: “Farm Stock”

For more information please contact

Lyndon Strang
Vice-President Federated Farmers North Otago


Shot sheep shock

June 24, 2014

The shooting of around 200 sheep on a Ngapara farm has shocked the community.

Peter Stackhouse’s farm is in out-of-the-way Ngapara, about 25 kilometres inland from Oamaru, and the offenders left no clues as to their identities or motives.

Mr Stackhouse discovered a paddock on his 240ha farm looking like a battlefield on Saturday morning, littered with dead and bloodied sheep.

“I initially thought we must have had dogs in overnight. And then I looked at a few and I thought that it’s odd that their legs aren’t ripped apart or something,” he says.

He wanted a second opinion, with his vet confirming the head and leg injuries were all from bullet wounds.

But many of animals still had to be euthanised.

“[The vet] and I spent probably two to three hours walking around cutting the throats of lots of them, because they weren’t dead. They were lying on their sides kicking, or some were walking around in a dazed state,” says Mr Stackhouse.

The first paddock targeted by the offenders is more than 1 kilometre from the nearest road. Police can’t find any evidence of wheel tracks, and it’s believed the shooters had to have walked in to access the area.

The stock loss will cost the small farm around $30,000. . .

The family has been farming around Ngapara for decades and are community stalwarts.

That is a big loss for them but and it’s made worse when it’s combined with cruelty to animals and the knowledge that at least one person with a firearm is at large with evil intent in the area.

That police found no tyre tracks, footprints or cartridges deepens the mystery and the concern.


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