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Dairy Focus APRIL, 2015

The McDonalds and their shorthorn girls 

Pages 3-6 Photo Tetsuro Mitomo

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Farming Dairy Focus




Veehof puts bovine body language under the spotlight 


Farming Mums’ Chanelle O’Sullivan discusses social media 


Murray Hollings explains quick chill systems 


Grant Davies looks at the stock market 


Matt Jones takes immigration policy makers to task 


Nils MacFarlene clarifies the labour market test 


Madeleine Henderson talks about employee contract 


Rural real estate still strong 


CONTACTS We appreciate your feedback. Editor Email your comments to michelle.n@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7971.

Advertising Email emma.j@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7936. Post Ashburton Guardian, PO Box 77, Ashburton.

Last month’s edition of Dairy Focus generated some interesting comment from readers. Our regular columnist Matt Jones’ wrote about sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace and raised some good points. We don’t live in a world where it is acceptable to harass or bully a work colleague, or people we meet in our professional or public lives. It goes without saying the same standards apply at home and within friendships. Matt’s article focused on men harassing women, however a reader came back with a valid response. He said men also face a barrage of sexual harassment in the workplace, but are often unwilling to complain for fear of ridicule. There’s no doubt some people, probably other men, would mock a colleague who complained about unwanted attention from a woman – but I suspect these same people would be more supportive if the complaint related to a same-sex perpetrator. What may start as a seemingly inoffensive remark or action can escalate into something far more serious, as we have recently seen with a certain incident of pony-tail tugging in Auckland. Just where you sit on this particular

Michelle Nelson


act of “horsing around” will probably depend on your political affiliations; those who like Prime Minister John Key will opt for the party line; those who don’t will be critical. It is noteworthy that the young woman concerned was a waitress – we didn’t see him run Kate Middleton’s silky tresses through his fingers. Surely the leader of the nation should have thought about the consequences of his “bit of fun”. What if the boot was on the other foot and the waitress was ruffling the Prime Minister’s receding locks? The point is there is no room for sexual harassment or bullying in the workplace and that applies to everyone. Healthy workplaces come about in a culture of respect and communication and it is a manager’s job to stamp out subversive behaviour. Thanks for raising the issue Keith!


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PUBLICATION Tuesday, May 26




Shorthorns prove their worth Michelle Nelson


In a district in which black and white cows dominate the rural landscape, a red herd is an unusual sight. Set against the backdrop of Mt Hutt, Mark and Jenny McDonald’s milking shorthorns graze peacefully. While other breeds of dairy cattle are often leery of strangers, the McDonald’s cows are inquisitive about the photographer in their midst – and are no respecters of personal space. Mark appears to know most of the cows cozying up for a scratch. “That one over there,” he said, pointing, “has a daughter who is almost too friendly – sometimes she charges right up behind you, it’s not so good!” Red Cow Farm is situated on the Ashburton River Road, near Methven. On the tail end of a very dry season, 580 cows are still on twice-daily milking, through a 50-bail rotary shed. The herd is predominantly red, with a few blue-roan Holstein crossbreds and a handful of black and whites, to provide a comparison, Mark said. His love affair with the breed began when he was 11 or 12 years old, and was given a red shorthorn calf. “I’ve liked the shorthorns since I was a boy – there are only about five or six thousand in the country, but they were one of the first breeds used for milking in New Zealand.” These days even his staff prefer the temperament of the

Mark McDonald’s milking shorthorns are always ready for a scratch behind the ears.

red cows over other breeds. The original shorthorns were a dual purpose meat and milk breed, but that’s no longer the case. Since the 1960s, genetics have been refined to create a straight milking cow. Mark says the shorthorns are low-input cows. “They look after themselves, they are a lot easier to manage

than black and whites. “Black feet are a characteristic of the breed, they tend to be harder, so lameness is not a big issue.” The shorthorn breed’s brown teats are less prone to cracking, and therefore to infections likely to cause mastitis. “The red cows also have better fertility, with only 7.5

per cent of the herd empty at 10 weeks, compared to 33 per cent of friesain/kiwi-cross cows.” Mark and Jenny’s philosophy is to get back to basics in their farming systems, with animal welfare high on the agenda. The herd is predominantly grass-fed, on clover-based pasture.


“I think a lot of farmers have lost the art of growing clover – although there is more awareness now than there was 10 years ago. It’s good for production, it’s good for cows, and it’s good for fixing nitrogen.” Nitrogen is strategically applied at low rates. continued over page

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Farming Dairy Focus

from P3 “We are not big users of nitrogen, we use less than 100 units a year,” Mark said. Irrigation water comes from the Ashburton Lyndhurst scheme, and is dispensed through two Rotarainer units. A shallow well on the lower part of the farm provides water for a centre pivot. The annual rainfall is around the 700-800ml mark. The couple are not big fans of supplementary feeding. “The cows get a little bit of barley in the shed on the shoulders of the season, but otherwise they are grass fed. “That’s important in a year like this – we knew the payout would be down so we pared things back as much as we could.” Palm kernel is also off the menu on Red Cow Farm. “Palm kernel scares me, I think it’s very risky to feed cattle stuff manufactured in countries that have serious diseases. There’s not enough control over the processes, it could be contaminated with anything.” Mark said. The breeding programme is also pared back. “We don’t use CIDRs (controlled internal drug release) treatments, only tail paint as a heat detector.”

After a six-week artificial breeding programme, the cows run with shorthorn bulls – bred on the property. The bulls are all DNA profiled so any calves retained for replacement can be tested against the bulls. Semen from Denmark, Norway and Australia brings genetic diversity into the herd. When it comes to calving Mark says the shorthorns “just spit them out.” “The heifers are all mated to shorthorn bulls and still have no problems calving – we don’t bother with dexters or any smaller breeds,” he said. “In a feed pinch like we’ve seen this year, friesian cattle will still grow a calf (in utero), at the expense of her own body condition, but shorthorns will usually produce a smaller calf, and emerge in better condition. “The downside is there’s not many opportunities to teach new staff how to deal with a tricky calving.” There is always strong demand for surplus calves. “Surplus heifer calves sell well – some people just want a bit of colour in their herd, and there is always a good demand for bull calves. They grow out well to two – two-and-half years old.” The breed is well suited to

www.guardianonline.co.nz farming in Canterbury’s large herds – a useful third cross, because of their hard feet, and good legs, Mark said. The red cows average 420kg/MS a year on the very low input system, at a stocking rate of about 3.4 cows/ha. As they are still growing as two-year-olds, the best production is usually achieved in the third and fourth lactations. “They produce about 10kg (MS) less than a friesian, but I reckon the lower costs make up for that, especially in terms of animal health.” A leased runoff block in the nearby Anama district enables the McDonald’s to keep a close eye on their stock. “We like having total control over them from the time they are born all the way through,” Mark said. This year about 600 head of cattle will be wintered over on kale, grass and straw. Mark is cagey about using fodderbeet, preferring to stick to more traditional winterfeed crops. “There’s still not enough information about fodderbeet to convince me yet. We know how kales works, we’ve been feeding it for years.” continued next page

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Left – There are no stressed cows in this yard.

from P4 Three full-time staff are employed on the dairy farm, joined by the occasional backpacker – adding cultural diversity to the team. “They are usually hard workers, they want to earn some money for a few weeks then carry on with their travels.” While both Mark and Jenny grew up on farms, they were latecomers to the industry. Jenny was working as an accountant and Mark a writer/graphic artist, living on a 10 acre lifestyle block in Taranaki, when they were lured into taking up a 50:50 sharemilking position on another Ashburton Forks property in 1993. Mark had milked a few shorthorns through a twobail walk-through shed, raising calves and pigs with the milk, and some of these were shipped south, including the couple’s favourite cow Clementine. Retired from milking at 15 years of age, Clementine retained her position as

the boss of the herd, until arthritis got the better of her. She was put to rest two years later and buried on the property. Another cow has also earned a burial plot. Count Astra was bred on the West Coast, where the McDonald’s bought her at a clearing sale. “She was a very good cow – a great producer who produced mostly bull calves.” Astra was three-time champion shorthorn at the Christchurch A&P Show – but she was no fan of the ‘cow-walk’, once showing her displeasure by bunting the president of the Royal Agricultural Society as he attempted to tie the champion’s ribbon around her neck. The 230-strong herd which the aspiring sharemilkers purchased from the farm owner was predominately black and white. Over the years cow numbers increased to 540.

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Farming Dairy Focus

2 6


from P5 The McDonalds shelved plans to return to Taranaki, and in 2000 they bought Red Cow Farm and set about converting the traditional mixed cropping property to dairying. For several years they continued sharemilking, with managers running their own business. “We got sick of running two farms and the runoff, so we moved over here.” The friesian herd was sold off, leaving the McDonalds to concentrate on building up the shorthorn herd. These days with the dairy platform in good hands, Mark is free to spend more time indulging in his passion. A spring-fed stream, aptly named Spring Creek, running through the farm has been fenced, planted and restored to pristine beauty, a perfect habitat for trout, eels and native fish. “I love natives – I’ve been buying them in, but some of the plantings are now at the stage that they are selfseeding. “I dig the small plants up 18X2 COL Ashburton River, the farm and move them, and split up(74X180MM) is protected to some extent flaxes. from the howling winds Tucked along the banks blowing out of the gorge, but of the upper branch of the

Left – Shorthorn cows are curious and friendly, as Guardian photographer Tetsuro Mitomo found out when asking them to smile and say “cheese” recently.  170415-TM-074

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Up side to low pay-out Low dairy prices will benefit the New Zealand dairy industry in the long term, Lincoln University Agribusiness and Food Marketing Programme Director Nic Lees said. “The low prices are the best thing that can happen as it will limit the European expansion.” He said a cost war is going on between New Zealand and Europe at the moment. “Quotas have come off production in Europe so they are expanding production. This is similar to what is happening in oil with expanding production due to shale gas,” Mr Lees said. “Ireland, for example, is planning to increase milk production by 50 per cent.” He says New Zealand is the Saudi Arabia of milk – “We can be the lowest cost producer, but need to focus on grass based production to weather the storm.” “Grass will always be the lowest cost source of feed and New Zealand has the most efficient grass-based dairy system in the world. “Ireland can grow grass too

but currently they utilise less than half what they grow. “The large housed dairy operations in Europe are also only profitable at high milk prices,’’ Mr Lees said.

“We need to focus on what we are good at, which is grass.” The halcyon days may be gone for a while though. “We are unlikely to see high

prices again soon. “It is going to be a slow recovery of price and dairy farmers need to be able to be profitable at $5/kgMS or they won’t survive.”

He said the average milk price over the last 10 years was around $5.50/kgMS. “It is likely that this will be similar over the next decade as well. “What we are seeing though is greater volatility. This is going to continue, so farmers need to have systems that are still profitable when the price is low. “The most resilient system is the low-input grass-based system.” As an economy we also need to see the opportunities in other areas, he adds. “For example there have been record high returns for beef in the first six months of this season, with the average per tonne value up 28 per cent. Beef is a great story with China needing to increase its beef imports by up to 20 per cent per year for the next five years to meet its surging demand for protein.” Lamb also has good prospects, Mr Lees says, and there are other opportunities, such as those that can be seen with the growing sheep dairy industry.


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Farming Dairy Focus


Learn to listen to your cows Why do some farmers have major lameness issues, where they may have 100-plus cows in their lameness mob, while their neighbour may only have five for the whole year? What can cause so much disparity between farms, when they seem to be operated in much the same way, with no obvious differences between the farms? This is not an easy question to answer as there are so many different factors at play. Nevertheless, there are many things that we can do to minimise the problem if we know what the underlying issues are. Often the cow will actually tell you what those issues are – if you are willing to listen to her and understand her body language. To help you with that we are running four seminars in the conference room at Veehof head office on 154 Coplands Road, Dromore on the April 30, and May 1. We have invited Marloes Levelink of Cows101 to speak to farmers about the body language of cows in their own environment. Marloes

Cow signals master Marloes Levelink.

is formally trained in reading animal signs, by Netherlandsbased cow signals training company founder, Joep Driessen, and is a certified cow signals master. She is often surprised at just how many signals cows can give and how many farmers


don’t know. “It’s all about being aware and observant,” she said. As these signals are different for a housed cow than for a pasture-based cow, we will run separate seminars for the respective farming systems so every attendee will get the

most out of the seminars. I will also be speaking to the group, addressing some of the different factors that are at play in the lameness story. Why is it so important to understand all these things? This is what makes the difference between a good

farmer and an excellent farmer. Look at it this way - your job is to convert a low value product like grass into a high value product, being milk. The more milk you can send away from the same amount of grass, the more money you will make, and the fewer cows you can farm to convert that grass, the more economical your operation, to a point. There is a bit of a fine line between having too many cows and not enough. One way to work out where that line is, is to understand the body language of your cows. The cow will tell you when she is not functioning well. Being in tune with their body language will help you to make effective changes in your farming style and become more profitable. There are limited places available on the seminars so contact us as soon as possible if you want to take up this great opportunity and equip yourself with the knowledge to take your farm to the next level in productivity!



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Is consultancy worth the money? By Dairy Business Centre (nZ) LimiteD Consultancy costs money, and depending on the services of the specific consultancy firm, the cost can be from $7,000 to as high as $10,000 per year. Having that number in front of your face will always raise doubts in people’s minds about the necessity of consultancy. It is a large amount and quite often the conclusion, whether right or wrong, is that you can do without consultancy and save the cost of it. When budgeting or reviewing expenditure, consultancy can be viewed as non-essential, and easily culled from the budget. However, what is the potential production that you are missing out on by not including a farm consultant? One particular farmer explained in a single sentence how he found our service; “costing him $9,000 was well worth it!!!”. He then explained”that $7,000 converts at a $5.00 pay-out per milk solid to 1800 kilo milk solids. One or two mistakes in feeding, management or stocking rate and you have easily lost that!” The value of our service include being a second pair of eyes, objectively monitoring the farms’ productivity, profitability and making the most milk out of the pasture, through efficient conversion and optimum utilisation. Through regular contact and monitoring, we stay in touch with milk production and pasture growth so we can intervene early, preventing large productivity drops. The profitability assessment through the year allows for the

comfort of the management strategy. It will help to explain why you do what you do and optimises the results. Our software allows us to accurately model scenarios at the kitchen table and

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The value of our service include being a second pair of eyes, objectively monitoring the farms’ productivity, profitability and making the most milk out of the pasture, through efficient conversion and optimum utilisation.

calculates the bottom line over and over again, clearly showing what the effects are when supplement prices go up, pasture growth is down, stocking rate increases and milk price drops. This way you as a client and us as

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Dairy Focus


Social media influencing farming How many of you are fluent in the ways of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest? Last week I had a presentation to do in Wellington at the Dynamic Leaders Course held by Rural Women – 45-60 minutes long! I broke this into thirds, with the brief first part on myself and my history (the easy part) followed by Farming Mums NZ and its values, structure and how it came about. Now I have eight days until I have to present it and I am overwhelmed with the final third which covers social media as a whole – how and why these sites work, followed by why these forms of social media could help the perception and positive coverage for farming. No pressure, right? So, to help me (and to potentially help you), I’ve listed them super-simply below so I can elaborate on them. Facebook: The ideal way to socialise with friends and family from afar with the benefits of photos and videos,

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(farming wise especially) as it is matter-of-fact, straight to the point and only 140 characters to express your opinion (naturally I struggle with just 140). It’s great for business interaction and discussing the key topics within the industry. (#agchatnz is an example). Instagram: Take a picture, put a filter on it, use some key hash-tags, eg #lookatthatcow #beautudder #shearingwin and post it to the world! You can search similar images through hash-tags and ‘follow’ people that interest you such as celebrities, chefs, clothing chains with new styles, as well as your friends. It is not widely used within the New Zealand farming community but it could be a fun way of getting word of our products out to the world. LinkedIn: Now this one is a valuable creation! Professional social media. Online networking; a great way to search out potential employees or employers, new businesses, worldwide agricultural discussion (“How can we increase crop yield of coffee


posting and commenting. Great for businesses to build popularity and team up with other businesses and work together in social media marketing (super underutilised!) Great for interactive forums – Farming Mums NZ is a prime example of this – ‘supporting-connectinginspiring’, visual but casual and potential world-wide exposure. Twitter: This is one I have only just got back into, as I find the format a little uncomfortable, but I’m getting there. While I find Facebook is a little more women-orientated in the fact of personal/familybased posting, Twitter has a balance, but I personally find more men utilising this

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beans in Ghana?” and shared relevant articles based on who and what you are “connected” with. It’s really great in opening up your eyes to issues outside of New Zealand and to connect with people that interest you. Pinterest: Not overly relevant to farming issues but a

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great bit of time wasting fun (think recipes, redecoration and kids’ holiday activities). Sorry that this is ridiculously brief but I’m happy to chat with anyone wanting to know more! – Next step, finish this bloody presentation!

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Empowering young women Timaru Girls’ High School has a proud 135 year history of educating South Canterbury’s young women. Today, the school combines traditional values, modern facilities and effective teaching methods that empower young women to pursue a positive and productive future. Our motto, Scientia Potestas Est (knowledge is power) is as true today as it was when the first Girls’ High girl walked through the school gates in 1880. We work with young women to build their knowledge and self-esteem so that they can become lifelong learners who are prepared to face the challenges of the 21st century. Students have room to learn and grow in our excellent classroom facilities and spacious park-like grounds. Up-to-date technology, including a fast fibre network, allows students quick access to the information and ideas that are so important to today’s educational curriculum. This curriculum is facilitated by a skilled and enthusiastic staff who work with students

to ensure that they have every opportunity to excel academically, athletically, and culturally. Due to our long history and strong values, Timaru Girls’ High School has an exceptional culture. Students interact, compete, and make lifelong friends within the school’s house groups.

Students are encouraged to challenge themselves by participating in co-curricular activities ranging from netball to stage challenge. Our strong ties to schools throughout the South Canterbury region, and to sister schools in Christchurch, Oamaru, and Japan, add to our competitive, social and cultural traditions.

Boarding facilities situated in the park-like grounds of the school “The House” offers a safe and comfortable environment for students from around New Zealand and the world. Students are encouraged to focus on their studies, discover and explore new opportunities and have fun while they are doing it.

Students have room to learn and grow in our excellent classroom facilities and spacious parklike grounds

We do everything possible to ensure the girls’ academic, co-curricular and social interactions are rewarding, productive and enjoyable experiences. “The House” helps foster good habits and enables boarders to become selfmotivated and responsible learners who have respect for themselves and for others. Open Day – Wednesday, May 6 2015 We welcome you to come and visit Timaru Girls’ High School, educating South Canterbury’s young women since 1880. www.timarugirls.school.nz Advertising feature

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Learning styles designed specifically for girls, an extensive curriculum, and a warm, engaging environment to grow in.

Enrolling now for 2016

OPEN DAY 6th MAY 2015 Join us for a tour of the school and hostel at 9am and 11am



principal@timarugirls.school.nz Cain Street, Timaru | 03 688 1122



Innovative Instigator

THE MAINTENANCE MASTER BARRY WHITTAKER Removing the build up on the edge of Dairy Lanes, allowing stock to move easier, faster & lanes no longer contribute to health & feet issues. Fill can be used for: • Around water troughs • Farm track & driveway ruts • Filling trenches • Erosion around irrigation ponds

RUT MASTER | INSTIGATOR | HEDGE CUTTING P: 03 302 3888 M: 0274 803 380 E: b.jwhittaker@xtra.co.nz

Digger also available

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Farming Dairy Focus


Snapchill Icebank system Murray Hollings


There are two main types of snapchilling designed to cool milk to storage temperature prior to the milk entering the milk silo: The demand type where the chiller only runs during milkings, or the storage type where a smaller chiller runs between milkings. The selection of the most suitable type will depend of the individual farm circumstances and today we will investigate one of the newly developed storage system types – the Icebank. The Snapchill Icebank storage system is a New Zealand designed and manufactured product and is particularly suitable for farms requiring milk snapchilling where they are unable to use more electricity during

milkings due to power supply constraints. This icebank system is principally designed for the chiller to run between milkings (although it is able to run during to increase

the capacity), storing a large quantity of energy as ice in the tank for cooling the milk during milking. The tank is filled with copper tubing designed to hold ice during the charging

phase and release the energy by melting the ice progressively during milking via circulated water which is then pumped through a second stage plate cooler thereby cooling the milk.

Hot water at over 80 degrees C. is also produced for the farm wash operations at a very low cost by utilising innovative technologies in the heat exchanger design and controls. This sets a new standard in efficient low cost hot water production, and is capable of producing many thousands of litres of hot water daily (far more than what is ever required). To summarise - the Snapchill Icebank system is very effective and efficient in operation and the design simplicity ensures minimal ongoing maintenance is required. Electronic bells and whistles have been deliberately excluded from the design as these are susceptible to power fluctuations and moisture and detract from the reliability of the product. As always the efficient reliable cooling of the milk is the No 1 priority. Murray Hollings is the owner of Dairycool

SOMETHING SEPTIC? Well, if it’s not your wife we can help. We provide a fast and efficient service to Mid Canterbury • • • • • • •

Septic tank cleaning all systems Portaloos Dairy saucers and sumps Grease traps Swimming pools Drain cleaning truck 24 hours a day 7 days a week - on call Locally owned and operated

Phone Darryl Burrowes on 03 308 5293 or 0274 333 563


Dairy Feed Systems





Herringbone Feed Dispensers

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Herringbone Inline Mineral Dispenser

Accurate feed drops • Minimum feed rate 0.50kg per cow • Free from blockages


ibr V o Sil

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• Feed dispenser for high accuracy feeding or simple cross auger system • Auto miss empty bales and cow doing double rotations


ing g id

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Fairfax Media makes every effort to create advertisements to meet your specific needs. Please note in some instances we may be unable to supply additional proofs due to complexity of the request or deadline constraints

2 14

Farming Dairy Focus


Synlait supplier achieves best practice Lance and Wendy Main have become the first Gold Elite certified suppliers in Synlait Milk’s Lead With Pride programme. Lead With Pride recognises and financially rewards Synlait suppliers who achieve dairy farming best practice across four operational pillars of milk quality, animal health and welfare, environment and social responsibility. “Lance and Wendy have always demonstrated an outstanding commitment to maintaining high standards and improvements on their farm,” Synlait’s Lead With Pride manager Mark Wren said. “They were one of our first suppliers who expressed an interest in Lead With Pride and setting their sights on achieving Gold Elite certification shows they genuinely believe the programme adds to their bottom line as a business,” he said. There are two tiers of certification in Lead With Pride above the Gold standard - Gold Plus (best practice) and

Synlait’s Lead With Pride manager Mark Wren, with Lance and Wendy Main.

Gold Elite (leading practice). “While all Synlait suppliers currently meet the Gold standard, many are working through their Gold Plus certification and seeing Lance and Wendy attain Gold Elite is inspiring for everyone involved,” Mr Wren said. To attain Gold Elite certification, a supplier must maintain their Gold Plus

certification for 12 months and then meet additional criteria in each of the four pillars. “Our suppliers are demonstrating industry leadership in food safety and sustainability, which is something Synlait supports both for the benefit of the Canterbury region but also for our customers and their


consumers around the world.” Lead With Pride is Australasia’s first internationally accredited IEC/ISO 17065 dairy farm assurance system and is recognised by Environment Canterbury as a farm planning template that meets the criteria of the Canterbury Regional Land and Water Plan.

Independent auditing by AsureQuality ensures each certified supplier has met the relevant criteria for each of the four pillars on their farm. “There is a lot of planning and effort that goes into each audit. “Documenting best practice in a complex business like a dairy farm can be challenging, but that’s why a number of staff in the milk supply team actively support suppliers working through their certification,” Mr Wren said. “Whether it’s one of our environmental advisors or myself drawing on my veterinary background, we have the expertise to facilitate farms through the certification process.” “The financial rewards per kilogram of milksolids (kgMS) at the Gold Plus and Gold Elite levels make a difference to the bottom line. “An additional benefit is the improved performance that is typical for dairy farms with good systems and documentation in place, both of which Lead With Pride delivers.”


Super Circle feeder

Steel Trough with drainage holes drilled in each corner. 1370mm w x 1360mm h 3050mm (10’0’’) l 26 feed spaces

Heavy duty Bolts together 2135mm (7’0’’) diameter 1450mm h x 670mm d 20 feed spaces



bale feeder Sheep or yearlings feeder Ideal for hay or baleage Portable Supplied flat packed Weight limit of 450kg

$695 High Density feeder

Heavy duty tombstone feeder

This high density feeder has an open bottom ideal for large square bales. It has two corner clamps for extra support so the feeder cannot flex out of shape. It is bolted on all four corners in three separate places. Comes as a flat pack so is easily transported. 24 feed spaces. Measurements: 3050mm long, 1520 mm wide and 1450 mm high.

This Heavy duty tombstone feeder is perfect for feeding out to larger beef animals, bulls or horned cattle. It comes in 3 sections, is open bottomed and weighs around 150 kg. Measurements: 2285 mm (7’6”) diameter, 670 mm high welded sheet metal base, 1150 mm high and has 12 feed spaces.


$895 All prices are GST exclusive

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Dairy Focus



Profit from People Expo is bringing together some of New Zealand’s leading specialists to give some clarity to people management.

Focus on people management at expo Employment law, dairy farm health, safety and compliance are just some of the hot people management topics to be covered at next month’s Profit from People Expo, to be held in Ashburton. These issues can seem pretty daunting for many dairy farmers, according to DairyNZ regional leader Virginia Serra, especially when it comes to keeping up with changing legislation. “We’re bringing together

some of New Zealand’s leading specialists in response to farmer demand for clarity on these topics, and farmers will have the opportunity to get their specific questions answered by our expert panel. “We think this four-hour session will be the best investment of time farmers can make this season, potentially saving themselves a lot of time and stress. “We’d like to think this event will help make people

management on our dairy farms more enjoyable for everyone. It’s certainly a big step towards their people management ‘warrant of fitness’ and we’re anticipating a lot of interest from dairy farmers in the region,” Ms Serra said. Farmers attending the event will choose to attend two of the three workshops available: Joan Baker (author and business consultant) –

Compliance is the baseline; improved productivity is the finish line. Janet Copeland (employment law specialist) – One hour with an employment lawyer. Melissa Vining (farmer and agri-HR consultant) – Health and safety, what does it mean for your farm? The event will close with a panel discussion involving all the expert speakers, and farmers will be given

the opportunity to submit questions for the panel and be part of the discussion. DairyNZ’s Profit from People Expo will be held in Ashburton on Tuesday, May 12, from 9.45am until 2pm and lunch is provided. The cost of the event is covered by the milksolids levy but registration by May 7 is essential. For more information and to register, visit www.dairynz. co.nz/peopleexpo

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2 16

Farming Dairy Focus

Gypsy Day feature


Gypsy Day is coming your way


around the road network are: •Where cows are crossing sealed surfaces, a suitable mat is required, along with appropriate signs warning of the stock crossing the road. •Baleage required for winter feed is not to be stored on the


The last weekend in May is Gypsy Day, which is when farmers spend the weekend moving household goods, farm machinery and stock to new farms. In preparation for the move, council contracts manager, Brian Fauth, is advising farmers to carry out their Gypsy Day activities responsibly and safely in order to help minimise any impact on the travelling public and the network itself. “It can be a stressful time as herds are transported between farms, so we are urging farmers to plan ahead, transport or move stock in manageable units and move at times that will ensure minimum disruption to the travelling public,” he said. “Farmers also need to think about the safest time and place to cross.” Residents are also advised to keep accessways, gates etc, suitably closed to prevent possible property damage. Other issues that dairy farmers should be aware of that will assist in maintaining a safe travelling environment

roadside berm as this has the potential to create a muddy, slippery road surface once feeding-out is in operation. It can also limit driver visibility if stored close to intersections. With irrigation season

almost over, the council would like to take this opportunity to commend all farmers who have taken the initiative to keep irrigators off rural roads. “Overall, Ashburton District farmers are responsible, but some farmers’ poor farming

practices continue to bring down the quality of our roads. “When water from irrigators falls on to our rural roads, it becomes a safety hazard for motorists. “Motorists are caught off guard when their vehicles are bombarded by jets of water while travelling on the road and this becomes dangerous to them and others nearby,” he said. Water from irrigators can also damage the quality of rural roads, particularly unsealed roads. With declining government subsidies for maintaining our roads and increasing heavy traffic volumes on our roading network, the council’s roading team is struggling to keep up with unsealed road maintenance, made worse by water damage from irrigators. “We hope that farmers will be more considerate this year about the safety of others and quality of our rural roads,” said Mr Fauth. He asks motorists to be patient and considerate over Gypsy Day weekend. Advertising feature




Gypsy Day is coming your SAFER way. Keep an eye out for stock on our roads. If you are driving stock, please do it responsibly.











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Phone 307-5830 - Cnr East St & Walnut Ave, Ashburton w w w.ashbur tondc .gov t .nz

A/H Richard Burns 027 486 7546 – Eden Kirk-Williams 027 450 7544


Gypsy Day feature



Don’t worry about the cleaning On your list of things to do for Gypsy Day, cleaning the house is probably down the bottom in order of interest. Are we right? Instead of shuddering at the thought of picking up the cleaning cloth, how about letting our team of experienced, skilled cleaners do the work for you? Before you know it your place will look even better than the day you moved in and, you haven’t even had to touch a single cloth! We are a family focused business, owned by husband and wife team Sonya and Martin Hyde. Operating two shifts allows us to have adequate family time while running this successful busy business. We pride ourselves on “cleaning to a standard, not a price” – we are extremely proud of working to high standards and exceeding customer expectations. Cleaning jobs are tailored to customers’ specific requirements, and no job is too big or too small. We have a number of rural clients on our books, particularly in the dairy

TESTIMONIAL “Being located on a high traffic corner, the Electraserve building is constantly subjected to dust, dirt and road film.

industry where hours are long and some employers provide a weekly or fortnightly house cleaning for their staff as a benefit. We also prefer to use environmentally friendly chemicals and sell the products we use so that our customers can enjoy the

products in between cleans. If you are after a prompt, efficient and thorough cleaning job for your farm house then give us a call. We only have a small handful of bookings available for Gypsy Day so call us now! Advertising feature

So you can imagine how thankful our team are when the Ashburton Cleaning Services van arrives to clean the Electraserve windows. Ashburton Cleaning Services work efficiently and quickly, leaving behind an incredible finish to our windows everytime. Customers then see that we are respectful and care for their property, like we do our own premises. We would not hesitate to recommend our local cleaning specialists from Ashburton Cleaning Services.” Blair Watson, General Manager Electraserve

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PREMIUM MULCH AVAILABLE FOR CALF BEDDING Our mulch is chipped/mulched from our slabwood. It is 100% untreated wood/bark.

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We personally guarantee there will be no contamination.

Adams Sawmilling Co Ltd - Your local timber and firewood merchants -

Malcolm McDowell Drive, Ashburton Ph (03) 308 3595 Fax (03) 308 5649

18 2

Farming Dairy Focus

Gypsy Day feature


Machinery manufacturer going strong supplying spare parts for LYCO Wool Presses as well as manufacturing their own ICS Dominator wool press. After spending the past 25 years, both selling and servicing Lyco wool presses, Ian Cowan (Director of ICS) has all the knowledge and experience required to manufacture the Dominator, so along with the increase in local sales as well as export of wool presses and the Supply of Hydraulic Cylinders, Valves, re-sealing cylinders and other hydraulics products available in the shop - ICS at Flaxton Road is a hive of activity. With the continued growth happening at ICS the team still pride themselves on being able to offer customer flexibility, and are driven by the ability to supply and design to the highest standards to ensure that all customers are satisfied with equipment, quality components, workmanship and their friendly efficient service. For any manufacturing and engineering needs call the team at ICS Farm Machinery on 0800 641 146. Advertising feature

ICS Dominator Wool Presses making huge inroads on the International Market.



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ICS Manufacturing Limited trading as ICS Farm Machinery, operates from a modern purpose built factory at 303 Flaxton Road, Rangiora alongside their two other divisions, CanAm North Canterbury and Hydraulink North Canterbury. New Zealand owned and operated, ICS Farm Machinery not only designs and builds quality agricultural machinery such as tipping trailers, log splitters, the ‘Rollamaster” lamb docking chutes, ‘Stephens’ Bale Feeders, Loader Attachments and the popular ‘Rutbuster,’ it also offers general engineering. In order to “make hard work easier” ICS offers flexibility for any customer requirements, from wider tyres, a different paint colour right through to a complete rebuild or design via ICS’s on-site CAD drawers and engineers. Full design and build options are available for those who have a “No. 8 Wire” idea or for those who need a modification to suit. ICS Farm Machinery are still actively servicing and



Are your Muck offtrees looking shady? the roads


Trees can roads and footpaths causing winter. Make sureshade your tractor or truck doesn’t bring ice mudinonto the road. Makemakes sure your are not making the road unsafe. Mud the trees road slippery and dangerous. STEPHENS Bale Feeders • 4 models available • 3pt linkage & trailed Units



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John Deere announce 2.49% finance on 6 series tractor and loader package


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CHRISTCHURCH Quintin Boyd 027 4867 792 John Murgatroyd 027 4355 900 Murray Chesterman 027 2664 222

ASHBURTON Baden McDowell 027 4387 555 Mark Symes 027 4441 706 Reece Trotter 027 4867 733

*Conditions apply. Finance available through John Deere Financial Limited to approved commercial applicants only. Valid on new John Deere 6D Series Utility Tractors, 6MC/6RC Series Tractors, 6M (6105M to 6150M only), 6R (6105R to 6150R only) and Loaders that fit eligible equipment. Offer is based on 20% deposit, GST back and 36 months term. Fees and charges apply. If not amended or withdrawn earlier, the promotion expires on 31/05/2015. Other terms and rates are available. Available for new units in stock at participating New Zealand John Deere dealers.

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2 20

Farming Dairy Focus


Help to use water more efficiently Precision VRI has helped South Wairarapa dairy farmers Brian and Jo Bosch use their water more efficiently, save electricity, track maintenance and reduce the number of lame cows in their herd. The couple, who have 1150 cows, producing 400,000kg MS annually off their 320ha milking platform, have three centre pivots irrigating 210ha, one of which has VRI installed. The VRI system was installed in 2008 by Precision Irrigation, now known as Lindsay NZ. “The reason I was keen on getting into it was, we were having issues when the pivots crossed the tracks. We’d have a nice crowned track and water would run off into the water table, causing bad pivot ruts,” Brian said. Not only did this hinder the performance of the pivots but it meant high track maintenance costs and increased numbers of lame cows. With the VRI installed, Brian is able to turn the pivot

Brian Bosch has plenty to smile about as the Precision VRI system has been working a treat since being installed back in 2008. It has resulted in significant savings in track maintenance costs, reduced cow lameness issues and the ability to spread his irrigation water further. PHOTO COURTESY OF REBECCA HARPER

off as it goes over the tracks. “Now the tracks are dry and we have no damage. There’s no damage to the cows’ feet.”

The Boschs also have a large pond under the pivot and a number of open drains. They are able to turn the pivot off

SIX YEARS ON AND BRIAN IS STILL SEEING GREEN The Growsmart® Precision VRI system installed on Brian and Jo Bosch’s dairy farm in the South Wairarapa has been saving them precious water and dollars since it was first installed in 2008. The couple use the intelligent system to avoid watering the tracks, ponds and drains underneath their Zimmatic™ centre-pivot. The water saved by avoiding these areas is diverted to other areas of the farm, increasing their irrigated land area by approximately 10%. And after over six years of using the technology he’s pretty happy about the low maintenance requirements of the system hardware, “It’s just worked!” The Bosch’s are not alone in the great results achieved using variable rate irrigation. Trials show savings of up to 27% on dairy and cropping farms are realistically achievable. Why? Because Precision VRI controls every individual sprinkler allowing you to irrigate where it is needed. Find out how you could achieve great results like Brian and Jo by talking to your Zimmatic by Lindsay dealer today or by visiting growsmartprecisionvri.co.nz

when it is over these as well, meaning the water is not pumped to waste. “I worked out that the

tracks, pond and drains probably add up to 10 per cent of the land under that pivot, so we can go and irrigate 10 per cent more productive land now. It actually costs us to irrigate the track because we get more lame cows and do more track maintenance.” “They (Lindsay NZ) put the programme in and I haven’t fiddled with it too much. I recently started upgrading to the latest version and they provide training for that. “There’s been no maintenance, this upgrade is the first money I’ve spent on it since installation – it’s just the software that needs upgrading, the hardware is fine. It’s just worked.” Installing VRI has been a worthwhile exercise, Brian said, and he can see the future benefits too. “Going forward with the council, and for your own peace of mind, you can show you are using water efficiently on your farm and prove to council you’re not wasting water.” Advertising feature

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Dairy Focus



Anybody remember us? Matt Jones


While Queenstown employers are getting a helping hand to more easily recruit seasonal staff in the tourism industry, what about those of us who are hurting in the rural contracting sector? Businesses who are hiring seasonal staff in our adventure capital are soon to be off the hook, at least temporarily, from providing Immigration New Zealand evidence that they’ve tried to recruit nationally for their tourism roles. This new initiative will be implemented from now until June this year, exempt will be jobs that may be able to be filled from Work and Income New Zealand. A similar arrangement is sorely missing in the rural contracting sector, we’ve been asking but why is noone listening?! While it’s fitting that the tourism sector requires this allowance - what about similar provisions for the agricultural industry who are just as deserving? There is a real chasm here where the rural contracting sector just cannot realistically source well-trained and experienced agricultural machinery operators from the WINZ unemployment pool. The rules around employing temporary, skilled people from overseas who are prepared to work a set period each year need to be made less complex. Also the regulations restricting people who have previously worked in New Zealand over past seasons who are returning to work here warrant the same

attention. Steve Levet president of Rural Contractors New Zealand says despite many attempts to achieve similar initiatives that Queenstown tourism employers are now enjoying, the Government and bureaucrats still aren’t registering the needs of the rural contracting sector. “Contracting is a seasonal business and one that uses sophisticated machinery that requires technical skill to operate productively,” he said. “Part of this shortfall

is met by bringing in skilled operators from overseas.” This uncomfortable local shortage of suitable agricultural machinery operators means our rural contractors rely on employing skilled people from abroad via a temporary arrangement. We’ve continued to carry on this pattern every season and have traditionally done so for years, just like the skifields do, but we aren’t being acknowledged under these new immigration rules. Unfortunately when

it comes to skilled and extremely competent farm staff WINZ is very limited to address this dire shortage, so we carry on with the same old problem. When operating highly technical, dangerous and valuable machinery it just isn’t wise to expect unemployed people take up these positions. Farming employers also have seasonal requirements to cater for and also seek the right staff for a set few months each year so why don’t we have a

streamlined immigration process also? While RCNZ will continue to lobby the Government for changes to recruiting overseas seasonal workers, perhaps all of us in the rural sector need to draw this matter to attention via our MPs. As an industry why don’t we at least attempt to get some much-needed immigration changes too, it will make our agricultural recruitment process much easier. Matt Jones is managing director of Agstaff

Book your factory and dairy staff now for the new season Specialising in sourcing skilled high quality farm employees to enhance your farming business. NO RESULTS NO FEE GUARANTEED The official recruitment partner of the Crusaders



2 22

Farming Dairy Focus

Feed feature


Accreditation awarded to Advanced Feed by

AmAndA Wright

The classic idiom “you are what you eat” applies just as well to cows as it does to humans, and when those cows are being bred to produce meat and dairy, ultimately we are what the cow eats. New Zealand animal feed producers now have an industry quality standard to ensure that only top quality feed is being produced and sold. Leading the charge locally is Methven-based feed company, Advanced Feed. It is one of the first animal feed producers in the South Island to have been awarded FeedSafe NZ accreditation from the New Zealand Feed Manufacturers Association (NZFMA). The aim of the industry standard is to provide safe feed for animals, thus protecting the safety of human food, and is awarded after a rigorous independent auditing process. To obtain FeedSafeNZ accreditation, stockfeed producers are required to undergo annual site audits,

which are conducted by the independent third party auditor, AsureQuality. The audits cover a large range of minimum standards which must be met, from the

source of the food, to the plant and machinery, down to administration records and hygiene standards. In time this accreditation will become compulsory for

all members of the NZFMA, and Advanced Feeds general manager, Peter Westaway, supports the decision. “Ensuring that animal feed is fit for purpose is key to the

performance of our industry. “The farmers we supply our feed to, need to know that it is of high enough quality to ensure the productivity of their herd. The accreditation gives them that peace of mind. “By achieving this industry standard early, we believe we are a step ahead in what will one day become a standard being demanded by the dairy industry and a compulsory requirement in terms of contract supply. “We encourage everyone to get on board to continue the fine reputation New Zealand has for producing quality animal feed. There’s no room in the industry for cowboys who don’t meet the standard,” Peter said. NZFMA executive director, Michael Brooks says: “New Zealand has an enviable reputation when it comes to locally manufactured feed, and with this endorsement, farmers can be even more reassured that the feed they are purchasing is of the highest possible standard.” Advertising feature

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Feed feature



Winter feed nutritional management James & Son stockfeed are now proud to announce a new product line of stock feed and mineral blocks. Our blocks are designed to complement your winter feeding options or to be used throughout lactation. We saw a need, especially in winter feeding, for a mineralised feed block which can be used when feeding the likes of kale or fodder beet. Our fodder beet block has been designed to offer the highest levels of phosphorus which is essential when feeding fodder beet to dry cows. Likewise our kale blocks are designed to offer the optimum mineral levels for feeding this type of crop. We all know that minerals and vitamins are vital for the growth and development of animals and the James & Son team have worked hard to develop a block which can offer these. Animals will consume around 100g per day of the blocks and this is optimal to provide the daily mineral and vitamin levels for growing calves, wearers

or dry/lactating cows. The blocks are available in 20 and 250kg blocks in a biodegradable edible box. James & Son are also able to offer our complete line of silo blends. These are all designed to work in with your farming

systems and can be customised to meet your nutritional requirements throughout the milking season. We can also include mineral and vitamin packs in the feed to ensure your getting the best for your animals on a daily basis.

Our key focus here is to offer a cost effective feed option which is nutritionally balanced and can most importantly be designed to compliment your individual farm. Our team are happy to run you through our large range

of dry blends and other feed options and can also update you on our other new products, like our whole milk calf milk replacer and our famous James & Son Choc Calf pellets. Advertising feature

24 2

Farming Dairy Focus

Feed feature


Rearing to keep or rearing to go? Talked about for the last 20 years, yet the industry still has issues with replacements exiting the herd after one lactation. Registered Nutrition Consultant Nigel van Dorsser points the finger at target liveweights for weaning, six and nine months, and believes they are all set too low. He says the targets “accommodate” a period of low growth rate after weaning as being acceptable yet growth missed is seldom caught up. While it is easy to blame the grazier, Nigel argues that the calf ’s “lane draw” – how well the calf is set up – is decided while on concentrates. Differences in outcome from pre-weaning growth rate, concentrate intake and rumen development while in rearing facilities are accentuated once out on pasture. As a nutritionist you get trained in least cost formulation spreadsheets. While this can be good for the feed mill trying to compete in the price driven world, so often these calf pellets end up with mediocre intake rates

that result in ordinary growth rates – costing the farmer more in the end. Instead of following this least cost formulating approach Nigel now focuses on greatest intake formulating. This focuses on raw materials, format and presentation designed to maximise voluntary intake. The obvious considerations include smell and taste but something seldom considered is the rate of fermentation of the material and hence the rate of acid production. Of course acids are the by-product of fermentation and promote rumen papillae (fingers) development. So we want them but at the same time we don’t want the pH of the developing rumen to drop too low, too quickly or for too long. Low pH signals to the brain to reduce intake. So this poses a challenge; how to maximise intake of fermentable feed while preventing troughs in rumen pH. Based on this work Nigel has developed a Generation II calf feed based on lightly

rolled grains suitable for young calves, and an F3 Transition product that includes lucerne haylage (but is still predominantly grain

and soyabean based) that bridges the change to pellets, baleage and pasture. If you would like to know more please contact Essential

Nutrition on 0800 367 365 or call Golden Stockfoods on 03 308 4388. Advertising feature

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Clarifying the immigration test When it comes to getting a visa for a farm worker, one of the biggest challenges is to show that the labour market test has been met. Immigration will make sure that any New Zealander who is willing and able to fill a vacancy would get priority over someone from another country. Although New Zealanders have top priority, there will always be a need for foreign workers to fill the gaps. If an applicant is applying under the essential skills instructions then they will be subject to a labour market test. This test can be satisfied in two ways. The first possibility is if the position has been listed on one of Immigration New Zealand’s Essential Skills in Demand Lists. There are three lists which are the Immediate Skill Shortage List, Long Term Skill Shortage List and the Canterbury Skill Shortage List. Both the immediate list and long-term list are reviewed twice a year, while the Canterbury skill shortage

Nils Macfarlane

and not just your local newspaper. If the job vacancy is in the Canterbury region and not on one of the above lists the employer would also have to have a listing with the Skills and Employment Hub. Once this labour market test has been met the applicant must be able to show that they have the required experience and/or qualifications for the position. They will also have to show that they meet Immigration New Zealand’s health and character requirements. The labour market test is a crucial step in the immigration process and often applications can be declined on this basis. It is essential to make sure this step has been covered and if the job position is not one that is on the skilled list, make sure the employer has made a reasonable effort to satisfy this.


list is reviewed every three months. If the job vacancy is not on one of these lists then the applicant would have to show Immigration New Zealand that there are no New Zealanders who can do, or be readily trained to do the job offered. The employer therefore needs to ensure that they have genuinely searched for suitably qualified and experienced New Zealand workers. To establish if this has been met, Immigration New Zealand will consult with Work and Income to see if there are suitable candidates, so it is a good idea for an employer to have listed the position with Work and Income. Immigration would

also require evidence of advertising and the more that is provided with the

application the better. It is good to advertise across a broad medium of advertising

Nils Macfarlane is an adviser with Heartland Immigration, a team of immigration advisers who also come from a legal background

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2 26

Farming Dairy Focus


Employment agreements – casual or Employing staff is a fundamental aspect of running an efficient and profitable dairy farming operation. There are three categories of employment and we find that many dairy farmers employ staff in all three categories. The different categories of employment have different rights and obligations, which can result in unforeseen consequences, unless the nature of the relationship is established from the outset. If your “casual” employees are working regular days, times and/or hours in any given week, they may well be considered permanent parttime employees, regardless of what their employment agreement says. If this is the case, then there are more stringent obligations on an employer in terms of terminating the employment relationship and in respect of statutory entitlements to annual and sick leave. The first category of staff is employees employed on a permanent basis. Permanent employees are engaged on an ongoing basis

Madeleine Henderson


until either party terminates the employment relationship. The second category of staff is those employees on fixedterm agreements. This is particularly important where, for example, sharemilkers are on a one, two, or three-year contract with a specified end date. Difficulties can arise in situations where you employ a permanent staff member, but your contract as a sharemilker is only for a fixed-term period. With fixed-term agreements, there must be a genuine reason for the contract to be fixed term and that reason must be set out in the employment agreement. The third category of staff is those on casual contracts. These may include employees who carry out tasks such as

calf rearing, relief milking or provide extra assistance on an on-call basis during the busy calving season. There are two key legal aspects to a casual employment relationship that differ from a permanent or fixed-term employment arrangement. The first is that a genuinely casual employee cannot pursue a personal grievance for unjustified dismissal when they are not offered further work by the employer. Of course, if the employment relationship has become an ongoing one, despite what the agreement says, then an employee will have a right to raise a personal grievance. This is one reason why it is important to determine the nature of the employment relationship from the outset, or alternatively review the nature of the employment from time to time. The second difference is in respect of statutory entitlements, particularly in respect of holidays. Only casual employees, or employees on a fixed-term contract of less than 12

months, can receive holiday pay at the same time as their regular pay in accordance with the provisions of the Holidays Act 2003. The employee must agree to this holiday pay arrangement in their employment agreement, and such holiday pay must be listed as a separately identifiable component of the

employee’s pay. The basis for casual employees to receive holiday pay on a “pay as you go” basis is that the work is irregular and inconsistent. Further, it is often impractical for an employer to provide a casual employee with annual holidays when, in practice, the employee is able to decline an

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part-time employees?

offer to work on any given occasion or that work may not be there a lot of the time. Casual contracts in particular are subject to different requirements compared to those where employees are on permanent or fixed-term contracts, and the nature of the role in practice must be considered rather than

merely what the employment agreement states. There is no statutory definition of a casual employee, however, there are certain characteristics of a casual employment relationship when compared to other types of employment. There is no guarantee of work from one week to the next, as a casual employee is employed on an “as and when needed” basis. As a result, a casual employee must not have any particular expectation of continuing employment, nor will they have a regular work pattern. Casual employees are often engaged for short periods of time for specific purposes, for example calf rearing. Calf rearers may be employed to assist with tasks such as feeding, tagging, ensuring the welfare of bobby calves and recognising unwell calves. This may be at certain times of the day and, due to the seasonal nature of the role, is not a permanent role. Further, work is dependent on its availability. A casual relief milker may

only be required when other staff are on leave or away sick, and are there to provide cover to ensure that farming operations continue without interruption or adverse effects as a result of such absences, however they may not be working every week. With a casual employment relationship, there is no obligation on the employer to offer ongoing employment. Likewise, there is no obligation on the employee’s part to accept work that is offered. It is important, however, to be aware of circumstances in which a casual employee may actually be a permanent parttime employee. For example, while an employment agreement may say that an employee is employed on a casual hourly basis and that there is no guarantee of work, if in practice that employee is working consistently, extensively, is allocated shifts on a roster and has a predictable pattern of work then that employee’s role would most likely be considered permanent.


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That is because the employee may be entitled to rely on an expectation of ongoing employment. In that case, the written casual employment agreement becomes replaced by a permanent employment agreement mutually agreed by the parties due to their actions. Other factors that may be taken into account when assessing whether an employee is genuinely casual or whether they are a permanent staff member include whether notice is required for any absences from work or for any proposed period of leave, and whether the employee has consistent starting and finishing times. If you wish to terminate a casual employment agreement, you must notify the employee that no more work is available in the foreseeable future (or other such reason) and, as a result, their employment agreement is terminated. Often there will be no outstanding statutory entitlements like holiday pay owed, if this is paid on a payas-you-go basis in conjunction with the employee’s normal pay.

Terminating the employment of an employee who may have started working for the business as a casual employee, but has become a permanent staff member, will be a lot more complex. Genuine reasons for the dismissal must exist, such as a genuine redundancy or for disciplinary reasons. It is important to determine whether an employee is in fact casual to establish the rights and obligations of both parties to the employment relationship, including the method of payment for annual holidays. If a regular pattern of work develops, a new employment agreement should be agreed, which better reflects the real nature of the employment relationship. This article is necessarily brief and general in nature. You should seek guidance from your legal advisor before taking any action related to the matters raised in this article. Madeleine Henderson is a Solicitor in the Ashburton office of Tavendale and Partners, a leading agribusiness and commercial law firm.

28 2

Farming Dairy Focus


Unravelling energisers and earthing When effective stock control is important a mains-powered energiser is the most costeffective, reliable way to power a permanent electric fence. Often energisers are advertised with various codes, numbers and distance claims. These can be confusing so choosing the right energiser for your farming needs can be a challenge. To evaluate which energiser is the right one for the job it is best to compare them on the same basis. For example, it is recommended to look at the Maximum Output Energy (measured in joules). The Maximum Output Energy will be lower than stored energy but will give you the most reliable indication of the true power output to the fence which the energiser is capable of producing. Tru-Test Group’s range of mains energisers under the Stafix, Speedrite and PEL brands consist of a 36 joule output model powering up to 200ha/500 acres and a 63 joule model powering up to 350ha/850 acres. These feature Cyclic Wave™

fixed in minimal time and the fence back on immediately. Remote capability is also a handy safety feature allowing power to be disconnected in an instant if an animal or person is caught. It is worth noting an energiser’s performance is only as good as the earth set up. It is not uncommon for older energisers to be upgraded with new larger

“ technology which maximises the energy travelling along the fence line with a clear, powerful pulse and the Load Response feature means the output is controlled to match the conditions. These are

also remote capable and with a pre-programmed remote/ fault finder to detect faults and turn fences on or off from anywhere on the farm where there is a powered fence. Faults can be found and

unintended consequence of this is stock breakouts. The less obvious consequence is stray voltage. Shocks off metal sheds, bails and gates in the cow shed, ticking on the phone are all likely occurrences resulting from a poor energiser earth system. To maximise the performance of any electric fence look for a good quality earth kit with solid galvanised

It is worth noting an energiser’s performance is only as good as the earth set up.

units but the earth system is not addressed. For an energiser to shock properly it requires a well set up earth system matching the energiser output so there is no point spending $1000 to $2000 on an energiser for reliable stock containment if the earth system isn’t matched. A poorly set up earth system can result in a much weaker shock on the fence line than desired. The obvious

steel rods and clamps to ensure a clean, rust-free connection between energiser and earth system. Testing is easy enough. The last earth rod farthest from the energiser should be checked for voltage using a digital volt meter when the fence line is shorted out. If working properly the volt meter reading should be no more than 300v or 0.3Kv. Advertising feature

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Sl dairy property values remain solid Various factors are restraining the South Island dairy property market, though underlying confidence remains strong, say two of PGG Wrightson Real Estate’s leading South Island salespeople. Southland sales manager for the company Andrew Patterson said the market in his part of the country has not been significantly affected by uncertain dairy returns. “Although the reduced forecast is making some vendors wary, plenty of buyers remain active and demand for good property still exceeds supply. “For the nine month period to March 2015, 63 Southland farms greater than 40 hectares sold, of which 18 were dairy farms, compared to 114 farms, including 34 dairy, for the same period the previous year. “Although the volume of transactions is lower, these sales indicate that values are holding at $43,000 to $47,000 per hectare for better quality properties and $33,000 to $37,000 per hectare for the second tier, which is within

This 202-hectare eastern Southland property is listed for sale by PGG Wrightson Real Estate, and PHOTO SUPPLIED marketed as ideal for dairy conversion. 

five per cent of prices during the autumn 2014 market peak. “Availability of bank funding and downward pressure on longer-term interest rates helped keep buyers confident, sustaining prices.

Although fewer farms in total have sold over the past nine months than occurred last year, this is largely due to a shortage of listings. However, a number of dairy listings in the 100 to 250

hectare range have come to the market in the autumn and these are attracting genuine interest,” he said. Meanwhile in Canterbury dairy sales and farm listings are scarcer still, says PGG

Wrightson Real Estate Mid Canterbury sales manager Robin Ford. “On the east coast the climate has been the main concern recently. With unirrigated land suffering acute soil-moisture deficit, and irrigation schemes rationing water, farms are not at their best, so farmers are reluctant to list. “That said, for those who do go to the market, values remain firm, between $54,000 and $56,000 per hectare for well-irrigated farms with good infrastructure. “While it has been a seller’s market for a prolonged period, during the next three months the balance could change as current values prompt more vendors to list property, particularly given the uncertainty the industry faces over the next 12 months. “Astute purchasers recognise that the long-term outlook for New Zealand’s dairy industry remains solid, which is why property values are holding steady. Those seeking to sell dairy farms will benefit from that,” Mr Ford said.

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2 30

Farming Dairy Focus


Prize bull joins hall of fame An elite artificial breeding bull will forever be recognised as one of the best after being inducted into LIC’s prestigious Hall of Fame last week. Fairmont Mint-Edition, a Holstein-Friesian sire bred by Barry and Linda Old of Morrinsville, is the 53rd animal to be recognised on the Hall of Fame in more than 50 years of artificial breeding in New Zealand. In a special presentation to the breeders last week, Mint-Edition was praised for “well and truly living up to his name,” since debuting on the co-op’s Premier Sires team in 2009. “Mint-Edition very quickly took his place at the top of the team and proved very popular with farmers who consistently told us he is the best bull they have ever used,” LIC bull acquisition manager, Simon Worth said. “Over four consecutive years as a premier sire, MintEdition averaged nearly 155,000 inseminations each season, and will go on record with a truly impressive lifetime tally of just under

Mint-Edition has been honoured as one of the country’s top dairy PHOTO SUPPLIED bulls.

800,000 inseminations. “Currently, Mint-Edition has more than 71,000 herd-tested daughters in New Zealand, and they will be joined in the coming seasons by more of his later-born progeny. Daughters can also be found across the globe, in some of LIC’s major export markets. “Mint-Edition’s contribution to this industry has been

immense, and will continue to be. “His legacy will be seen on farms for generations to come,” Mr Worth said. The bull’s superiority also made him an obvious choice as a sire of future sons for the industry, with plenty in the sire proving pipeline and some already taking their place on the DairyNZ Ranking of


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Active Sires (RAS) list, Mr Worth said. One such son, San Ray Beamer, is currently the number one bull on the RAS list across all breeds, with 318 BW. “For Mint-Edition to not only lead the team for his four years, and then go on to sire such an extreme son, and more in the pipeline, that has

to be the pinnacle in any bull’s career. “There is no doubt that Mint-Edition has rightfully earned his place on the LIC Hall of Fame. I congratulate Barry and Linda for their exceptional breeding skills and for supplying this legend of a bull to LIC, for us to share with our farmers,” Mr Worth said. LIC’s Hall of Fame, located at its Newstead headquarters, is exclusively reserved for animals whose achievements have had, and will continue to have, a profound influence on the profitability of New Zealand’s dairy farmers and in-turn, the economy. The criteria for the Hall of Fame are demanding, and the merits of potential candidates are carefully assessed. Prior to Mint-Edition, the last animal to be inducted into the Hall of Fame was Jersey sire Shepherds Noontime, in 2010. Mint-Edition was inducted into LIC’s Hall of Fame as part of the co-op’s annual Breeders’ Day event in Hamilton last week.


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More bang for buck in Aust

Investors will also need to consider the tax implications, as Stockland is a stapled security and therefore subject to the Foreign Investment Fund tax regime

The residential development extends to being a top three retirement living operator in Australia with over 8000 units and 3000 more in the pipeline. The residential development division of the company is expected to be the main driver of earnings growth in the near term as the company benefits from surging demand for residential housing in Australia. Interest rates are expected to stay lower for longer across the ditch. The low interest rate environment

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has had the double impact of raising demand for property, due to cheap lending, and making Stockland and other AREITs more attractive as yield investments to income strapped investors. If interest rates start to rise in Australia, the tailwinds pushing up the ARIETs will reverse, crimping margins and decreasing the demand for AREITs from income investors. The high level of residential development being undertaken by Stockland does increase its risk relative to its peers. This area is expected to drive earnings growth, however, if we see a pullback in demand for houses (due to higher interest rates or a faltering economy) then Stockland could be left carrying unwanted properties. NZ investors can currently benefit from record high NZD relative to the Australian, meaning they can get more bang for their buck in Australia. Investors will also need to consider the tax implications, as Stockland is a stapled security and therefore subject to the Foreign Investment Fund tax regime. Written by Grant Davies, Investment Advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene Limited. This article represents general information provided by Hamilton Hindin Greene, who may hold an interest in the security. It does not constitute investment advice. Disclosure documents are available by request and free of charge through www. hhg.co.nz.


Stockland is an Australian listed AREIT (Australian Real Estate Investment Trust), offering investors diversified property exposure across the Tasman. AREIT is a massive investment market in Australia, with the 16 companies on the S&P/ASX 200 AREIT index boasting a combined value of $109 billion (dwarfing the NZX 50, excluding the two big Aussie banks, which comes in at $83 billion). Stockland is one of the larger AREITs on the ASX, with 41 retail centres, 21 industrial properties and 10 office buildings on their books, as well as being the largest developer of residential property in Australia.


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Michael Gallagher (Ashburton)

$34,400 Greg Risk (Ashburton)



• 9200L (11,000L/PM pump) • 6” self fill boom and pot • Hydraulic jack • 28.1 x 26 tyres • Recessed tank • Spare 4 bolt flange plate Standard: • Mudguards • Wide angle PTO shaft • 20” suction hose • Sprung Draw Bar • Brakes

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Nathan Bagrie (Timaru)


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Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Ashburton guardian, dairy focus, april 28, 2015  

Ashburton Guardian, Dairy Focus, April, 2015

Ashburton guardian, dairy focus, april 28, 2015  

Ashburton Guardian, Dairy Focus, April, 2015