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Progress On The Swede/Rape Seed Issue

30 March 2000



Federated Farmers officers and staff have been actively helping farmers affected by the Major Plus Swede/Maxima Plus rape seed mix up. The federation has been in close contact with Wrightson Seeds - the seed suppliers - to make sure that good management advice would be available to affected farmers, and that farmers received fair compensation.

Wrightson Seeds have contracted the services of Agriculture New Zealand and other independent farm advisors to assess crops and to offer management advice.

Federated Farmers convened farmers meetings in Otago and Southland in early March to identify issues surrounding the swede/rape seed problem. These meetings provided a forum to identify problems and give out up-to-date information.

One specific issue identified at those meetings was the problem of feeding in-calf cows late in pregnancy on rape rather than swede crops. This is an issue for dairy farmers and those landowners growing crops to be fed to dairy cows.

The federation held three successful meetings to bring together dairy farmers, veterinarians, and farm advisors, together with a Wrightson dairy nutritionist, to distribute the information necessary to feed the different crops to stock through the target winter months.

"The next goal is to ensure a suitable compensation system is implemented. The federation will meet with Wrightson Seeds to put in place a template compensation agreement," said Grains Industry Manager Kevin Geddes.

"While each farm will have different percentages of Maxima Plus rape among the swede crops, as well as different uses for the crop and different livestock to feed, there will be common categories for which compensation should be paid."

"Compensation will be different for each individual farm. Considerable costs can be saved by working out a collective agreement, then putting individuals` figures into it."

While individual or joint litigation is always an option, the costs and legal constraints of litigation make a reaching commonsense resolution by agreement very difficult.

"Federated Farmers is acting collectively to reduce costs and allow farmers to focus on their farm management. As New Zealand's largest and most influential farmers organisation, Federated Farmers will work hard to ensure farmers receive a fair deal," commented Mr Geddes.

ENDS For further information: Kevin Geddes 03-307-8148

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