Ramblings of the GM - August 2014
Firstly, I apologise that my letter is a bit late this year. I have been busy here at ABLime managing a big project, and I think if you drive past our property at Kings Bend you will see what I mean. As you can imagine, I have had the odd “teething issue” which tends to happen with most projects of this size, but we are getting there now. The weather since 1 July has not helped me at all, and I have had a bit of a “baptism of fire” in an introduction to the dairy industry. Let hope the weather settles down a bit; some sun and a bit of heat would be great!
In writing this letter, I reviewed copies of all the customer letters that I have been writing since 2008 when I became General Manager of ABLime. It was not only interesting for me to review what I wrote, but it gave me an insight into my thoughts at the time of writing them. I am happy with everything that I have written in these communications with you, and it is interesting that my thoughts of six years ago still match the ones I have now. There have been some common themes in them: -
I sincerely thank you for your business over the past year. The team at ABLime have worked really hard to provide you with good advice, service and quality products when you have needed them. This year I would also like to say thank you to the staff here at ABLime that you probably don’t have any contact with. There are about 20 staff here at ABLime that you never see, or even hear about, that work tirelessly (sometimes 24/7 on two shifts) to ensure that you get product when you need it. They get as stressed as I do when we are under production pressure, and while it is not good for anyone to feel stress and pressure, it shows that they are always putting our ABLime customers first. Good to see.
Winter Projects and Maintenance
As we do every winter, we ensured that our lime-shed is full, and we pulled our lime processing plant to pieces. We have rebuilt it better and stronger. This was a busy period for us.
Last week we started the mill for the first time after our shutdown, repairs and upgrades. It all seems to still go which is good. There are a lot of moving parts in a lime mill and you always feel a bit nervous the first time you start it for the season, and wonder what is actually going to happen. Sometimes unfortunately there is even some physical shoveling of lime, or lime rock involved; when one conveyor starts to deliver lime to the plant, but another one doesn’t take it away again. But it keeps the boys fit!
Agricultural Lime Quality
A quick point on our AgLime90 product. We are Fertmark registered at above 90% Calcium Carbonate. To make sure our product meets this, we test a sample of our AgLime manufactured twice daily (day shift and night shift) in our laboratory here. We are very lucky with the limestone rock resource we have, because it is Southland’s best. You put a lot of effort into your farming operation, and we into our lime products. So if you want Southland’s best quality lime; we have it for you.
“Get the Basics Right” with ABLime
There have been a common themes in my letters about this next point; the increasing level of activity within the fertiliser industry. There appears to be an ever increasing number of small companies selling fertiliser products, and trying to tap into the big cost item in any farming enterprise.
My previous letters have stated that:-
“I was alarmed by the outrageous claims that these companies make about the efficacy of their products. There does not appear to be any kind of control about the claims that you are able to make about how effective a fertiliser product is!
Here at ABLime we like to see scientific evidence proving any claims products make before recommending anything, and some of the companies approaching us about selling their products have been somewhat silent after us requesting to see this evidence.”
I was therefore interested and excited to read on the Stuff website, an article written by Doug Edmeades about this exact thing. He wrote: -
“Under the new legislation such claims will need to be soundly based before they are asserted in the marketplace. Such claims while readily made are very, very difficult to prove unequivocally without the need for expensive, robust, sound science.
So now the proprietors have to face the music. Crudely - put up (your scientific data) or shut up (don't make claims that cannot be substantiated).
Knowing as I do the havoc that the "muck and mystery boys" have created in New Zealand over the years, by wasting farmers' hard-earned dollars or undermining their confidence, I can feel crocodile tears welling up.”
My point is the same as the sergeants on episodes of Hill Street Blues (if you remember the programme) - “Let’s be careful out there”.
Finally, as normal, I have enclosed our annual price list and a wall planner with our contact details. I hope you find them useful.
Rae also wanted me to mention that anyone who will purchase more than 500 tonnes of lime from ABLime in a single season qualifies for our bulk discount price. Importantly you need to ring us first though, so please ensure that you do.
All the best with the coming year and if there is anything we can help you with, please do not hesitate to give us a call.
ABLime - General Manager