Hero photograph
Students reviewing material from the SITE DAIRYNZ conference
Photo by Jill Armstrong


Jill Armstrong —

Guest Speaker – Year 12 Agribusiness

Brent Irving (Rural Bank Manager at Rabobank) visited the class this week. He spoke about his varied day to day role including, visiting farms, arranging farming syndicates, liaising with analysts and other bankers, arranging client visits to farming events, preparing loan calculations and applications, etc… Rabobank has 33 branches in New Zealand with its Head Office in Wellington. It is a co-operative owned by Dutch farmers. Brent spoke about the importance of establishing and maintaining positive relationships within the banking/farming community. It was important to understand a client’s business in order to weigh up risk factors. Brent hails from a farming background in West Otago and has a particular interest in sheep and beef farming. The range loans sought by his clients are usually between $2 million to $100 million. Brent invited the students to visit him at any stage if they wished to investigate banking as a possible career pathway. He has also kindly offered to support the College in any way he can and we are grateful for this.

Upcoming Guest Speaker

Dr Helen Beattie, Chief Veterinary Officer of New Zealand Veterinary Association. Helen lives in Dunedin and has a wealth of experience and skills within this sector. We look forward to her upcoming visit in Week 1 of next term.

Biosecurity Week runs from 23-28 July, 2018

During this week the students will focus on the role of biosecurity in New Zealand and investigate previous threats and potential threats to our export economy including, the Psa bacterial disease that affected kiwifruit and a current threat, the stinkbug, which originated in Asia and attacks and damages fruit. This results in significant economic loss to, not only the growers, but the related industries. New Zealand’s reputation will be harmed if this bug invades the country. Recent research from scientists at Unitec has added to the concerns about the potentially significant damage to New Zealand’s export economy if this bug were to establish itself here. (https://www.unitec.ac.nz/about-us/kicking-up-a-stink-tracking-the-threat-of-the-stink-bug-to-new-zealand). 

One of the Year 12 students researched the stinkbug and discovered that, in February this year, hundreds of bugs were found onboard a cargo ship. The ship was reloaded and turned away from the port. This is not an isolated case and, since then, over 2,000 stinkbugs have been found on four cargo ships. Climate change is also likely to increase New Zealand’s potential exposure to this pest. A stinkbug invasion has the potential to attack a wide range of crops and to infest homes. Adult stinkbugs are around the size of a $1 coin and they like cooler climates. According to Stinkbugs “… hard to see, hard to kill, travel far and they breed fast.” (https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/responding/alerts/brown-marmorated-stink-bug/).

The role of NZ Biosecurity is “stopping, unwanted diseases, animals, plants and other organisms crossing the border, … surveillance, eradication and management of any unwanted pests and diseases that are already here from spreading and becoming established.” (https://www.mpi.govt.nz/protection-and-response/finding-and-reporting-pests-and-diseases/surveillance-programmes/). Students will also look at innovative methods to prevent entry of pest to New Zealand.