Page 1

An Ashburton Guardian Advertising Supplement

dairy FOCUS Issue 26. July 20, 2010. $2.00

The key to keeping cows contented P3

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Contents Page 3

The key to contented cows

Page 6-9

Milking systems feature

Page 4 Page 5

Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20

Biggest spring clean under way White line theories challenged

Improve your risk management

MAF prepared for quick response Opting for in-house child care Get on the front foot Calving feature

Nutrition and feeding

Being correct with credit

Coverage the key in teat spraying FarmRight feature Market overview The big unwind

dairy FOCUS

An advertising supplement of the Ashburton Guardian Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Ashburton Guardian Publication date: Next issue:

July 20, 2010 August 17, 2010

Meet up in Methven Methven Farm Systems Discussion Group Region: Canterbury/North Otago Date: July 26, 2010 Time: 1pm – 4pm Location: The Blue Pub, 1 Barkers Road, Methven Get off farm for a social afternoon with your fellow farmers… Come along to the Blue Pub to have a chin wag with your mates before the craziness of calving begins. • Pre calving catch up - getting the feed, the cows and the team ready! • Wintering systems – are your cows getting enough to meet their targets? Contact: Leighton Parker Phone: 021 242 5907 Email:

We welcome any correspondence to either: Anna Money, phone 307-7936 email: or Lance Isbister, phone 307-7953 email:

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Keeping cows contented When Greg Meadows converted a farm at the foot of Mount Hutt to dairying three years ago, Herd Homes were part of the package. Mr Meadows had the Herd Homes built to promote better health among his herd of 800 cows, so they would not need to use as much of their own energy in keeping warm. “Our main motivations for building the Herd Homes were based on animal welfare, not pro�itability.” Mr Meadows said they use the Herd Homes to shelter the cows in the winter months from April through to October. He �irst saw the concept for the Herd Homes in a publication before he converted the farm more than three years ago, however the shelters he read about were originally designed to keep cows covered from the heat and humidity as opposed to the cold. Because the company is based in Northland the shelters were originally designed to lower cows’ body temperature in the hot and humid atmosphere of Northland. Before he made the decision to build the Herd Homes Mr Meadows travelled to Northland to look through the shelters on four dairy farms. He was impressed with their versatility and could see the cows had good ventilation while being under cover as the shelters do not feature side panels.

Lance Isbister Rural Reporter, Ashburton Guardian

Despite the omitted side panels Mr Meadows said the shelters were so well designed that the elements did not enter from the sides. Mr Meadows considers himself a traditional farmer, but saw the innovative shelters as an opportunity to protect their pastures from pugging as the farm can get as much as 1500mm of rain annually. He said although many people around Canterbury see the Herd Homes as unnecessary, he thought it was a good idea being so close to the foothills where temperatures can plummet to -7 to -8 degrees in winter. “The cows seem a lot more compliant and content in the Herd Homes, it’s very relaxing to walk through them.” Mr Meadows invested $500,000 in the two Herd Homes, which also feature ef�luent storage bunkers that can contain 500 cubic metres of waste under the slatted pads through which the cows trample dung down. The transparent design of the Herd Homes roofs allows the sun to shine through and break down the dung in the bunkers, where it dries out and can be used as fertiliser by farmers in the summer months. Mr Meadows said the cows tended to gather in anticipation of being herded back to the shelters where they knew it was warm, which con�irmed he had made a good investment.


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Biggest spring clean under way The nation’s largest spring clean is under way.

Five thousand operations staff, 2000 local contractors, 2000 bearings to be replaced, 2000 vats to be flushed and 60,000 kilometres of piping to be checked - that’s what it takes to get 26 dairy manufacturing sites in ‘peak’ condition for the new dairy season, Fonterra’s New Zealand manufacturing head Brent Taylor says. “When we hit the flush of the season, we’ve got 14 million litres of milk each day arriving from the farms of our 10,500 farmer shareholders. “Our site teams need to be able to hit the ground running, with the aim of processing all that milk into product as efficiently as possible without losing a drop.”

Mr Taylor says each winter, when milk flows have slowed and many of the co-operative’s manufacturing plants have stopped production for the season, site teams use the time to upgrade manufacturing technology and get their equipment in top working order. “This could be anything from

building a new drier to initiatives to improve our quality and yields performance – maximising the value we get for our farmers’ milk. Or it could be an upgrade to our manufacturing capability to produce a new product for one of our customers in 140 markets.”

“At Stirling in Southern Otago, for example, we’re putting in some new gear that will allow us to make a wider range of cheeses to better meet customer needs in export markets, such as Japan.” Mr Taylor says the co-operative is known around the world for the quality of its product, and a lot of effort goes into continually improving its operations and ensuring the best product quality on a day-to-day basis.

LEFT: Fonterra’s general manager New Zealand manufacturing Brent Taylor inspects the drive system of one of Clandeboye’s milk homogenisers during winter maintenance.

“This ‘down-time’ over winter is our chance to tackle some of those jobs that we can’t get to when it’s all hands on deck during the peak of the season.”

“Like our farmers make the most of the season to catch up on farm repairs and maintenance, we make the most of this time to ensure our sites are in the best shape to turn our farmers’ milk into product as effectively as we can.”


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White line theories challenged Fred Hoekstra Veehof Dairy Services

White line disease is one of the most common hoof problems we see in New Zealand.

Apparently, according to some hoof care gurus, white line disease occurs when a cow is turning on concrete, when cows back off the platform or when they turn around on the yard. It also happens when they are being pushed by the backing gate.

The white line is the weakest part of the hoof and, therefore, the easiest part of the hoof to get damaged. Stones penetrate into that part of the hoof the easiest. This theory is widely accepted by farmers and veterinarians. Let’s think about this theory for a minute. If we only look at the evidence that has been presented so far then, perhaps, it is fair enough to come up with an explanation such as the above. The biggest problem I have with this theory is that it has never been proven. I want to give you some more facts to think about and challenge you to consider them the next time you trim cows’ feet.

Often you find the exact same symptoms in the opposite foot. It is almost the same foot but in mirror image. It may not be quite as severe but it is there. In 99.9% of the cases white line is in the outer back foot.

White line always, without fail, goes up on an angle towards the heel of the foot. It never goes straight up or on an angle forward. What conclusions can we draw from this extra information? If white line occurs because the cow twists her foot on concrete, then you would find a lot more cows that have white line problems on only one foot as the platform in the cow shed is turning the same way every day. If the problem happens because the wall is torn away from the sole and the laminae, then there should be a wide gap torn away and not a tiny little canal, which is often no bigger than a needle.

The theory that a sharp stone is being pushed up in the white line doesn’t make much sense to me either. What pushes the stone up higher when the bottom of the stone gets above the bottom of the sole? Cows get white line problems because

An example of white line disease. In most cases it occurs in the outer back foot. of laminitis. The problem starts up at the top of the wall. With laminitis, the live tissue along the laminae produces a lesser quality horn. Evidence of this is when you see some small blood stains in the white line. They often are as small as pin heads and you have to look carefully not to miss them. This lower quality horn may, in fact, have tiny little cracks, just big enough for bacteria to travel up towards the live tissue. When the bacteria get to the top, it aggravates the laminae even more, so the crack growing down becomes bigger.

If this carries on for a while, the cracks become big enough for dirt and, later, stones to travel up there. The reason white line is more often in the outer claw than the inner claw is because it is the bigger claw. The bigger claw carries more weight.

Checking for lameness in dairy cattle.

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If the cow suffers from laminitis, then the claw with the extra weight stress will suffer more than the claw that doesn’t carry as much weight. Of course, if your cows have a white line crack and you make them twist their feet on concrete, it could aggravate the problem but that does not mean that the twisting on concrete causes the problem. Look on our website for some more articles 



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The Future

Of Milking Systems Ashburton Guardian Advertising Feature

When you need plant reliability – 1 delivers

For the past 30 years New Zealand dairy farmers have grown to trust the reliability and value offered by installing Waikato Milking Systems products. A down to earth approach and working directly with dairy farmers to achieve successful project outcomes has established Waikato Milking Systems as the market leader in N.Z and a brand sought after in key dairying markets around the globe. Waikato Milking Systems develops, designs, manufactures and markets a comprehensive array of milking systems and components. The Smart Electronic Cup Remover is sophisticated and versatile. Designed primarily for rotary application, Smart Electronic Cup Remover offers value solutions to issues typically associated with rotary operation and usually resolved only with expensive high-end automation. The processing power of a Smart Electronic Cup Remover system allows you total control over such things as BailGate function, Cluster drop/lift, Kick off alert and maximum unit on time. Totally programmable, totally flexible and so advanced, Smart Electronic Cup Remover is definitely at the front of the pack. SmartD-Tect – the smartest way to find mastitis Scientifically proven to reliably identify 80% of your clinical mastitis cases (quarters with visible clots), Smart D-Tect is innovative product designed to help identify the onset of this disease in dairy cattle. The result…. 4 out of every 5 clinical mastitis cases are flagged automatically. SmartD-Tect analyses the milk from every quarter of every cow at every milking. Farmers using the system report the best and most consistent control

of mastitis derived from a system that needs no user intervention. Smart D-Tect can now be linked to Protrack Vantage via a remote wireless Smart-Link controller, further enhancing its operational capability. Using alert signals produced from each cow during milking the system can automatically draft animals in preparation for physical checks and load information into a database for future reference. SmartSpray automatic teat spraying system. Developed by Waikato Milking Systems, SmartSpray is an automatic teat spraying system for use on all rotary platforms. Using deck mounted spray modules called S-Bullets, teat spray compound is directed upward and onto the teats applying chemical in an even well controlled way. SmartSpray ensures that the teats are sprayed immediately after milking at a time when the teat orifice is open and most vulnerable to infection. Building rotary platforms is our business... A Waikato Rotary platform is a premium product in every way. From its build quality to its overall performance, a Waikato Rotary platform is very hard to beat. Deeper foundation profiles allow for an underpass if required and a 3m concrete deck incorporating a drench walkway protects the milking equipment and automation components. Factory engineered and meticulously built platform kits are continuously scrutinised through production to installation. Care is taken to ensure the best quality product is delivered to your farm. Waikato Rotary platforms are built to the highest standards WMS-RPNZProd&SerFlyerAug09_p 04/09/2009 AM40 PageMPA 1 using a combination of galvanised steel9:27 and reinforced concrete.

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The Future

Of Milking Systems Ashburton Guardian Advertising Feature

GLYCOL SNAP CHILLING SYSTEMS are the future of milk cooling

Glycol systems are now available to instantly cool milk to 4°C before leaving the plate cooler. Milk cooled in this manner has negligible bug growth and the quality is superb. Milk is always at 5°C and ready for collection any time of the day or night SO WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF GLYCOL SNAP CHILLERS? • Superb Milk Quality virtually eliminates the possibility of expensive milk quality downgrades • Lower running costs due to more efficient fluid heat transfer and hot water heat recovery systems Single large cooling unit means: • Lower maintenance costs • Robust industrial refrigeration system Cools milk in silos by running Glycol through silo refrigeration pads • No additional refrigeration equipment is required for milk silos • No additional chiller capacity required for additional cows or milk silo’s • Reduces stress on the milk silo refrigeration pads • Microprocessor control systems allow alarms to alert the farmer in the unlikely event of ineffective milk cooling These technologies have been well proven both here and overseas Dairy company policies now dictate using snap chilling for larger and dual milk silo farms and it is in farmer’s interests to install the correct cooling equipment to ensure they are future proofed into the future. Milk is ready for collection any time of the day or night Robust industrial design ensures superior reliability to conventional refrigeration systems DAIRYCOOL ARE AN ASHBURTON BASED DAIRY FARM REFRIGERATION SPECIALIST COMPANY

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The Future

Of Milking Systems Ashburton Guardian Advertising Feature


Tim Lovett Farm Owner Ashburton, (1020 cows) “Mastitis detection has been the ELJJHVW EHQHÂżW IRU XV 7KHUHÂśV no need to strip the whole heard anymore, just the cows the system UDQNVDVKLJKULVN´ Âł7KH V\VWHP NHHSV JHWWLQJ EHWWHU all the time with new options being DGGHGOLNHZHLJKVFDOHVDQGIHHGHUV , GRQÂśW NQRZ KRZ SHRSOH PDQDJH ZLWKRXWLW´


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“Success for us at MilkHub is when our farmers are using the system to its full potential,â€? Moonyeen Greathead, technical support ofďŹ cer for MilkHub, says. “Selling the system is just the start of the process. We work hard with our farmers to explain how to use it at the important times of the dairy season.â€? MilkHub has been working with our farmers to develop processes to make sure it is used for maximum beneďŹ t throughout the whole dairy season. At this time of the year, key issues are capturing calving data, using the system for early season mastitis and looking for signs of poor health through alerts from yield and weight trends. As always, the system keeps track of how well the plant is milking and cleaning. As part of the strong farmer support MilkHub has developed a range of easy to use resources. These include video tutorials, help notes and a seasonal planner. These resources have been well received and posted around the shed to help staff quickly take actions to manage their cows. “We have a very powerful system that can make a real difference to the farmer. But, you can sell the best technology there is and if the farmer doesn’t turn it on or hasn’t been helped on how to get the best out of it, it’s of no beneďŹ t,â€? MilkHub managing director Ross Nilson, says. “We realised this early on and have put a huge effort into our customer training and support.â€? MilkHub is a comprehensive dairy decision support system, supported by a motivated local team. For more information contact 0800 MILKHUB (6455482) or visit


The Future

Of Milking Systems Ashburton Guardian Advertising Feature

ACL Readymix Concrete are currently supplying their quality ready-mixed concrete to Dairy Sheds all over Mid-Canterbury. Their team of experienced drivers go out of their way to ensure a quality concrete experience every load

Cementing your future in the dairy industry

A dairy farm is no longer the “shedâ€?. It’s a major investment for the dairy farm business; a milking facility that has to be extremely well designed to accommodate larger herds while improving efďŹ ciency in cow ow and hygienic milking processes. When strength and durability are important to your dairy structure, ďŹ rst and foremost you should think ACL Readymix Concrete. We specialise in providing high performance concrete for any dairy shed structure, whether it be rotary or herringbone platforms, waiting pads or laneways. We understand that areas in and around the dairy shed need adequate grip, strength and durability to minimise losses and to provide grip for stock, heavy vehicles, tractors and people. Not only is the concrete mixed to the highest of standards, it is also certiďŹ ed for strength by the New Zealand readymixed concrete association. Our plant engineer has the knowledge and experience to design a mix to speciďŹ cally meet your needs. We have the largest eet of readymix concrete trucks in Mid-Canterbury, meaning we are dedicated to handling any job quickly, we always strive to provide fast response times to job inquiries, while adhering to the highest industry standards. Concrete structures reduce the chances of lameness in stock and create better working conditions for your team. If you are considering concrete additions to your farm, give us a call to see how we can help. We can tailor make a solution to best suit your farming requirements and budget.

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Improve your risk management The past three seasons have seen farmers experience greater volatility.

Key contributors to this higher level of uncertainty include global dairy commodity, feed and fertiliser prices and climatic conditions.

This dynamic environment has exposed dairy businesses to greater risk than in the past. These circumstances have focused attention on the cash flow of dairy businesses. The two key areas to focus on are farm working expenses and interest payments. High indebtedness reduces a business’ ability to buffer volatility in milk prices and the cost of farm inputs. As a result, some highly leveraged farms have not survived.

With more volatility and uncertainty, farm businesses need to focus on improving their risk management. One way of achieving this is to lower debt gearing and tighten cost control. Farmers with low gearing (<40% debt) and low operating cost structures (<$2.50 to 3.50/kgMS) generally are the most profitable irrespective of the operating environment.

While weather conditions have been challenging in many areas throughout New Zealand, Canterbury farmers, particularly those with reliable irrigation, have had one of the best seasons in memory.

When the low payout of $4.55/kg MS was announced at the start of last season, dairy farmers were forced to analyse the cost effectiveness of their businesses and trim costs to remain viable.

As the season progressed the milk price was increased to $6.10 /kg MS plus the dividend. Now, rather than making a loss or breaking even, many Canterbury dairy farmers have made substantial cash surpluses. They have a great opportunity to reduce the exposure of their businesses to external risks. Some key considerations for developing a more robust business in uncertain times include:

â&#x20AC;˘ Planning â&#x20AC;&#x201C; develop a clear direction, a detailed budget for the next season and scenarios for a range of milk prices over the next few years.

Leighton Parker DairyNZ Consulting Officer Mid Canterbury

areas have more risk than those with reliable rainfall or irrigation (financial risk = price risk x production risk).

â&#x20AC;˘ Maximise the use of pasture â&#x20AC;&#x201C; pasture is the cheapest feed source and its use should be maximised. However, this does not mean opportunities to buyin supplements should not be taken-up if a rigorous financial analysis supports their purchase. â&#x20AC;˘ Farms with low fixed costs tend to be profitable irrespective of changes in payout and expenditure items.

â&#x20AC;˘ Monitoring and control - be disciplined and consistent in monitoring financial performance against budget; adjustments made early provide the greatest scope for managing price and production volatility.

â&#x20AC;˘ Debt consolidation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; higher debt levels reduce the businesses ability to buffer against volatility. Set a debt target to suit the circumstances of your business and your personal preference. Those in drought-prone

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MAF prepared for quick response MAF Biosecurity New Zealand (MAFBNZ) has extended its contract with a French manufacturer of Foot and Mouth (FMD) disease antigen and vaccine. MAFBNZ director post border, Peter Thomson, said the contract renewed for a further five years an agreement MAFBNZ has had in place since 2005 to hold antigens in a UK-based facility from which a vaccine could be rapidly produced, should FMD be detected in New Zealand.

The renewal of the contract reaffirms the longstanding policy within MAFBNZ that a Foot and Mouth Vaccine Bank is a critical part of preparedness for an FMD outbreak, Mr Thomson said.

“Vaccination is one of a range of tools that could be used to control FMD and help ensure New Zealand could quickly contain an outbreak of FMD while reducing the impact of control efforts, such as slaughter and depopulation of animals, if an outbreak of the disease occurred here,” he said. FMD is a highly communicable disease found almost exclusively in cloven-footed, domesticated and wild animals, and all developed nations maintained vaccine banks to ensure they had the means to combat FMD occurring within their borders.

Foot and mouth disease is highly communicable and should it occur in New Zealand there would be profound effects on our economy.

While New Zealand had never had an outbreak of FMD and remains free of the disease, it is endemic in a number of countries with numerous outbreaks occurring throughout the world each year, especially in Asia

and South America. “Given that Reserve Bank estimates put the impact of FMD on New Zealand’s GDP at more than $6 billion in the first year of infection and around $10 billion in the second, it is essential we have the ability to quickly respond to the disease,” Mr Thomson said.

The presence of FMD in New Zealand would have a profound effect on our primary industries and our overall economy.

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Opting for in-home child care PORSE In-Home Childcare and Educator Training

Finding the right person to care for their two farm-loving boys was an important decision for Flemington 50/50 sharemilkers Kate and Richard Spicer.

Kate handles administration and payroll for the dairy farm business, however she also works off-farm for two days a week and needed a special person to care for sons Harry, 3, and Jack, 15 months. Kate says that in-home care and education was the obvious answer for Harry and Jack, ensuring they received personalised care with a low child-to-carer ratio. “It was important we found an educator that Richard and I and the boys were comfortable with,” Kate says.

She says they needed someone who could understand and develop the boys’ current passion for tractors, trucks and harvesters. “We did have the option of other educators but, in the end, the best fit for us was Porse home educator Aimee Cooke.

“The boys adore Aimee, she’s like extended family, and she really does encourage their love of vehicles, taking them to the truck section at the library – even taking a drive past the agricultural machinery business on the way home from Tuesday Porse The farm-loving Spicer boys – Harry, 3, and Jack, 15 months – are fascinated by everything that has wheels. care is a big advantage for the Spicer family - especially it would have meant most of that income was lost on Playschools.” with calving on the way. childcare – not an ideal situation for anyone.” Aimee lives at Tinwald so it’s an easy drop off point “Calving is a really busy time and, if need be, it’s good on the way into town for Kate and the boys. Now, the boys have the best of both worlds as they to know we can call Aimee and make changes so that make friends with the other children in care with them, the boys have an extra day with her or whatever we Kate is also considering the possibility of Harry while also having the comfort and security of a home need.” attending additional time at kindergarten with Aimee’s environment – with the trucks they love. help. Kate says the Government subsidies they have been “They’re also socialising in a community sense at able to access have made it possible for the boys to be “She lives close to the kindergarten so she may be the Porse Playschools they attend with Aimee, which with a home educator. able to help with kindy drop off and pick-up, meaning is great, especially for Harry as he is at an age where Harry’s routine won’t be disrupted at all.” he is ready for more and more interaction with other “Working off farm has meant we are able to children.” supplement our income but, without the subsidies, Kate says the convenience and flexibility of in-home

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Get on the front foot Willy Leferink Vice president Fed Farm Dairy

The busy season is approaching and we hope that you had a good break. As you are now getting the farm ready for a new season, with its own opportunities and challenges by preparing a check list of the activities for the next few months, doing your feed and farm budgets and informing and refreshing yourself and your staff on new and existing regulations on effluent distribution and animal welfare can prevent an opportunity turning into a disaster. Just a few pointers below for your attention.


Dairy farmers should have received a letter from their vet about inductions. Please read it as it may well affect you. If you are contemplating using inductions, you will have to let your vet know now how many cows will be affected. You cannot call them in at the last minute to get this job done as they will not be able to do it for you.

Animal welfare

Animal welfare is of great concern to the public and the public are quick to file a complaint with the MAF Animal Welfare team. The risk to you, should this happen, is that an inspection by the MAF Animal Welfare team may turn your farm upside down as they inspect the whole farm.

Things that concern the public are seeing dead cows and downer cows in the front paddock and bobby calves and slinks waiting for collection. Be aware, too, that your idea of cow condition may be different from someone elseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x201C; be confident by checking the DairyNZ Cow Condition Scoring booklet, found at http://www. Scoring Both MAF and regional council staff are legally able to enter your farm to carry out inspections. Federated Farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; advice for you when these people come on farm is to say nothing, as anything you do say can be used against you if a prosecution occurs and you are taken to court. Call for help from your local Federated Farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; representative â&#x20AC;&#x201C; found at â&#x20AC;&#x201C; or a trusted friend. The following is a checklist to assist you to get through the busy season:

Welfare issues

â&#x20AC;˘ Make sure downer cows are offered food and water, remove them from the front paddock if possible and get them under cover in adverse weather conditions.

â&#x20AC;˘ Remove dead cows from the front paddock and dispose of them as soon as possible. â&#x20AC;˘ Have you thought about what to do with bobby calves? Have you got a sheltered place for these calves when they are ready for collection, out of sight from the public, but easily accessed by the bobby calf truck? Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget these calves must be no younger than four

Slinks awaiting collection need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

days old, have been fed at least half of that dayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ration of colostrum or milk, not more than two hours before transportation. They must also be able to stand and bear weight on all four limbs and be fit and healthy for transportation. (Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare 2010). It may be your choice not to struggle with weak or small calves. You may well feel the most humane option is to euthanise them early rather than rearing them for four days, then have them endure a long truck trip to meet the same fate. If so, that is ultimately the farm ownerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s decision and they need to make sure that the task is done by themselves or a staff member who is competent and willing to do the job. Federated Farmers Dairy encourages farmers to either use a rifle or captive bolt gun. See here: animal-welfare/codes/emergency-slaughter/index.htm for the full Code of Recommendation on the emergency slaughter of animals. Please leave slinks out of sight of the public, too.

On Dairy Effluent Disposal

We had a much improved season on compliance in

this area last season, which you will probably know by the time you read this. This does not mean that we cannot improve any further as we are still way off the mark. There is no room for â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be rightâ&#x20AC;? in this area as it may turn you or your staff member into a â&#x20AC;&#x153;criminalâ&#x20AC;? and, the next time you want to go overseas, you can explain yourself at a foreign embassy that you are not a criminal in their interpretation of the word. So, make sure your staff member is up to speed with the Effluent Management Plan and that you meet the conditions of your consent.

Useful references pageid/2145838449 for DairyNZâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;InCalfâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; programme Dairy Cattle for the Animal Welfare (Dairy Cattle) Code of Welfare 2010. codes/transport/index.htm for Code of Recommendations and Minimum Standards for the Welfare of Animals Transported within New Zealand. codes/emergency-slaughter/index.htm for the Code of Recommendation on Emergency Slaughter of Animals.


Grafton Irrigation (2005) Ltd 0HONE 63 Racecourse Road PO Box 2072 Washdyke Timaru 7941


Calving time Ian Hodge, BVSc. MACVSc. Riverside Veterinary Services Ltd

Calving time is almost upon us again for another year. The winter period has presented its fair share of health issues for dairy cows, but generally speaking cow condition looks pretty good.

Some preparation for calving is a good idea, because it can highlight any areas that need attention and avoids sudden and unexpected calamities.

Firstly you should arrange to have a pre calving discussion with your vet. This discussion will highlight many aspects of animal health associated with the calving period. Remember that there are some legal implications as well.

If you are inducing cows you need to prepare an induction plan in close consultation with your vet. This year, a maximum of 15% of the total herd will be permitted to be induced. In future years, this will reduce, so you need to plan ahead to reduce the numbers of cows you are inducing. The dairy industry and major stakeholders have decided that induction reduction to very low levels over the next three seasons, with a review planned in 2013, is necessary. They have also decided that the procedural details of induction should be tightened. If you have no information or evidence about the accurate calving date of some of your cows, be prepared to not be able to induce them. Antibiotic and other drug residues in milk to be used for human consumption is an absolute no-no. This means, when supplying milk or colostrums, you need to be absolutely sure the product is drug free. Pay particular attention to the dry cow therapy treatment to calving intervals and the meat withholding periods and know the status of any cows that calve unexpectedly early. Also be aware of three quarter cows if the non functional quarter was treated with dry cow therapy. Calves destined for the bobby market must also be drug free. This means they must be born AFTER the treatment to calving intervals and the meat withholding periods for any drugs that the parent cow has received. If the cow calves within the meat withholding period, the calf cannot be presented as a bobby until the cowâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s meat withholding period has elapsed and the calf must

Some farmers bed calving pens with deep sand in the belief this helps to keep cows cleaner and therefore improve hygiene at calving. It is said that benefits include fewer cows developing mastitis and a reduction in calves picking up navel infections. receive milk suitable for bobby calves for seven days prior to slaughter. If the cow calves within the treatment to calving interval, the bobby calf must be fed milk suitable for bobby calves for seven days prior to slaughter.

When treating sick animals, be sure to make a permanent record of the animal ID, the drug used, route of administration withholding periods and dosage. This is a legal requirement and can be extremely useful if there is need for trace back. Calving time can be very busy and present many challenges. Your vet will be available to help you in most situations if necessary. Remember to treat sick animals promptly - the response to treatments will be much better.

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Nutrition and feeding

Part 1 – basics

Dr Clive Dalton

What’s the main aim?

drive all these systems and this is called “maintenance”.

The aim is very simple. We have to provide a diet for the animal that will meet all its nutritional needs. From that diet, the animal must extract all the nutrients available from digestion. What is not digested is voided as waste products in dung and urine.

The needs of maintenance are worked out using the animal’s liveweight. So generally for a dry cow in mid pregnancy we calculate that maintenance needs in terms of Dry Matter work out at about 1.2 to 1.3 % of liveweight.

So why does feeding appear complicated? There are usually three reasons: The main feed available in New Zealand ie “Pasture”, varies greatly in quantity and quality over the season. Think of the changes that occur in a pasture plant from the juicy spring flush, to the mature plant long past the flowering stage.

A maintenance ration will result in a nil liveweight gain. So knowing the accurate liveweight of animals is now of increasing importance if we want to feed them correctly. More and more farmers will have scales in future.


We have a very limited range of supplements to feed stock in NZ because of the high costs in relation to the low world prices we receive. Our supplements are restricted to conserved pasture and some crops. We don’t feed large amounts of grain to cattle as happens in Europe and USA. The needs of the animal we’re feeding are always changing - eg. as pregnancy advances, lactation progresses, or as a young animal grows.

Maintenance & production

The first concept to understand is that of “Maintenance” and “Production”. These two things are what the animal does with the nutrients it eats.

These are nutrients needed over and above maintenance. Examples are milk production, growth, maintaining a foetus in pregnancy, and extra nutrients needed for work such as a long walk to the dairy. In other species there are the needs of wool growth, antler velvet, eggs and speed on the racetrack. So as the cow advances in pregnancy, and we start to have to consider the needs of a calf growing inside her, we increase the percentage of liveweight to 1.5% or 1.6%.

Knowing the accurate liveweight of animals is of increasing importance. Maintenance This is the amount of nutrients needed to maintain the animal - to allow for healthy functioning of all the body

The heifer has the greatest challenge - she is still growing and at the same time is producing so her feeding needs special care.

systems - such things as maintaining temperature, movement, the digestive process, blood flow, action of the glands and excretion. Nutrients are needed to


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Being correct with credit Ray Mayne Ray Mayne Hose and Fittings Limited

I have been lucky enough recently to have been wined and dined by some of our major suppliers both in Ashburton and Sydney.

I attended the Australian Irrigation Conference in Darling Harbour, Sydney in mid-June. This conference is held every two years in various places around Australia. Two years ago the conference and exhibition was in Melbourne and in 2012 it will be held in Adelaide. Numbers attending, exhibitors and delegates were slightly fewer this time around as the slight downturn is also being noticed in Australia. It was quite noticeable that there were significantly fewer New Zealanders present in Sydney than in previous years.

With the use of credit cards being scrutinised in the media recently I have been observing how some of the business people I am involved with handle this scenario. No issues at all â&#x20AC;&#x201C; everything is as it should be. We, in New Zealand, operate business credit card transactions differently from some overseas companies â&#x20AC;&#x201C; especially companies from the United States.

My American hosts are no different from most other US companies. Company representatives use pretty much their own â&#x20AC;&#x153;personalâ&#x20AC;? credit card. The company

then reimburses the employeeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s credit card, by the due date of course, when all necessary receipts and relevant paper work has been completed. However ALL receipts etc. MUST be complete and an expense report sheet completed prior to the credit card being

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I actually have no problem with that system. It works very well. When our host received the tab for our night out, he actually checked the tab, relatively thoroughly, to ensure everything was in order. I asked him if this was a hassle and he looked at me rather curiously and said no, this is the way he has always operated and does not have any problems with it at all.

This particular person spends six months travelling each year to most countries of the world and he does this form of checking with all of his expenses! We really should have the same system here in New Zealand. There would be no abuse of credit cards.

Imagine if our MPs and other civil servants operated like this. This system will not happen in New Zealand as the perpetrators who use credit cards would never allow it to happen! I use my credit card like any other business â&#x20AC;&#x201C; for work related items only. If I am travelling by air, I prefer to pay for air fares etc. online, via internet, long

before I leave. Much safer and much easier.

Business credit cards should only be used for the actual costs of incidentals whilst on a business trip - meals, taxis, car parking at airports, etc.

Credit cards should not be used for â&#x20AC;&#x153;large ticket itemsâ&#x20AC;? like air fares, etc. Every item on a business credit card should have an itemised receipt, even a cup of coffee should be itemised.

I dare anyone to question me on that. It is important that any person who is responsible for an expense account is absolutely squeaky clean! Anyone who is in that position should automatically be thinking like that without being asked. I heard, recently, that an MP got a taxi from Palmerston North through to Wellington to attend a meeting â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the cost, apparently, was about $600 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ridiculous system rip off.

There is absolutely no issue with people using business credit cards, providing they are used correctly and with the necessary paperwork being completed. If it is a genuine business reason to be using a credit card then, by all means, use one.

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Coverage the key in teat spraying WETiT Teat Sprayers

Many studies have shown that teat spraying reduces mastitis by 50-60%.

around eight minutes, others up to 1½ hours.

However, it must be also done well to be effective.

According to Dr Graeme Mein, all teats experience at least one longitudinal contraction just as the cups are removed at the end of milking. This teat contraction induces refolding and immediate closure of the teat canal. It is easy to see that the teat canal must have closed immediately after milking. If it didn’t close, then a small amount of stripping milk would continue to dribble out. Although the canal is closed, it cannot reseal immediately because tiny ‘puddles’ of milk remain trapped in the crevices and folds of the keratin lining. These milk residues are removed by re-absorption and by drying at the external orifice. This process is more rapid in conditions of low humidity and moderate temperatures, much slower in cold wet climates. The teat canal never returns to its pre-milking sealed condition if the teat-ends are kept wet.

“Good coverage of the teat barrel, using a good teat spray that stays in suspension and spraying twice a day are all important factors and have trials to prove that it is of benefit to mastitis prevention,” Fox, Eden & Associates farm dairy specialist Mel Eden says.

It is recommended that you should teat spray every time cows go through the dairy, and ensure that the whole surface of the teat is being sprayed. Good coverage on the back of the teats is very important, as this area is exposed to the weather. A good spray will use up to 20ml per cow. When aiming for good teat condition, it is a good idea to use teat spray with emollient added – up to 15% is recommended at times of the year when the weather could lead to skin damage. Why? Because maintaining good skin condition is a key factor in keeping new infection rates low.

Good coverage is important to control the growth of bacteria, which can be responsible for an increased number of new infections at calving.

Teat spraying, for this purpose alone, should be done twice a day and for every milking of every cow for the full lactation.

Good coverage when teat spraying has been found to be effective in reducing the incidence of udder infections such as mastitis. There is some suggestion that it is the removal of bacteria on the skin that is important rather than the timing. Studies done in New Zealand on the prevention of Streptococcus uberis by teat spraying before calving resulted in a reduction in new infections by 40% - an amazing result. Theoretically, the teats at this time are closed.

The question is often raised regarding the timing of teat spraying in relation to how long the teat canal remains open after cup removal. There is evidence that teats do not shut tight for several minutes after cluster removal at milking time. The information varies about the actual time taken for the teat canal to reseal completely – some reports indicate

Dr Mein concludes: “Given that this post-milking process of drying and natural resealing may take 30-90 minutes, it is difficult to believe that the timing of post-milking teat disinfection has any significant practical influence on mastitis incidence over a range of, say, one second to five minutes after teat cups are removed. Therefore, my advice is to concentrate on doing the job really well rather than interrupting a milking routine to get it done at the instant of teat cup removal.”

Did you know that Electricity Ashburton is more than just your energy distributor? We are also a specialist team, here to handle all your power requirements, from electric fence earths to dairy conversions. Designing and implementing solutions for: s Supplying and installing all types of high and low volt cable (incorporating all design aspects) s New subdivisions s Design and install street lighting s Dairy Conversions s Line Maintenance s New Connections s Inspections s Stray voltage testing for dairy units s Fibre optic connections s Tree maintenance, removal s FREE QUOTES! You know you can entrust your most complicated job to the team that knows the network. It’s not what we don’t do, it’s how can we help you!

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Farm Right Your success our focus FarmRight Limited is a well established dairy farm investment and management company that has been operating in New Zealand for almost 10 years. The company has recently extended its scope to supply industry-relevant Human Resources (HR) consultancy services to dairy business outside their existing portfolio of managed farms. Debs McKenzie, HR Consultant for FarmRight Ltd, explains: “We have developed some highly effective processes and tools – tried, tested and tuned on our own managed farms - that can help other dairy businesses increase their productivity through better use of their human resources. Coupled with the provision of specialist HR advice and expertise our custom support packages promise a great return on investment. “The vast majority of employee-related issues can be avoided through the adoption of a robust recruitment process, well defined lines of responsibility and honest and regular communication.” The dairy industry, in general terms, has a high staff turnover rate - has the recent economic downturn affected this trend? “We are seeing staff stay in their positions longer and there are noticeably more applicants for our vacancies”, Debs, who has 15 years experience in HR, says. “Nevertheless, recruiting and retaining honest, reliable employees is still a struggle in some areas”. So, what’s the solution and will this change? “As we move out of recession the situation is likely to reverse as employees start looking for new opportunities with the promise of better conditions and support. We will also start to see less choice with fewer quality applicants coming forward as vacancies

Debs McKenzie

Human Resources Manager & Consultant FarmRight Ltd

become available. Good farm managers will be looking to future-proof their businesses by ensuring they have sound HR practices in place well ahead of this. Employees are likely to stay with employers who can offer good quality housing, are flexible, set realistic goals, define clear lines of responsibility and provide development opportunities.” FarmRight’s unique three-in-one solution comprises a position description, training/ development plan and performance review, and is called the Performance and Development Journal (PDJ©). The PDJ provides managers and employees with a practical, on-farm tool that is simple to use, structured, and promotes ownership and accountability. The PDJ contains a number of role-specific skills matrices ranging from dairy farm assistant through to operations manager that show employees how they can progress in their current role and appreciate the skills and attributes required of more senior positions to help them plan their career development. “We have received fantastic feedback from our clients who have purchased and implemented our PDJ. We have been using it on FarmRight managed farms for the past three seasons and over that time it has been refined, evolving into a highly effective tool. FarmRight recognises that the quality, motivation and performance of employees are the key factors in achieving business success and the PDJ is a straightforward and practical tool to ensure performance is monitored, reviewed, and development plans are created” Debs says. FarmRight HR consultancy services can help dairy farm managers and owners develop an on-farm culture that promotes employee involvement, open communication, teamwork and collaboration.

FarmRight Ltd’s human resources manager and consultant Debs McKenzie discussing management solutions.

FarmRight are pleased to announce the expansion of it’s services. In addition to managed farms, FarmRight Ltd can provide expert HR consultancy services specific to the dairy industry in the following areas:


Market overview John Begg Sales and Marketing Manager Synlait Milk Ltd We currently live in a world of much uncertainty and volatility. This situation is dif�icult for all businesses and the dairy industry is no exception with plenty of challenges for both sellers and buyers around the world. Market sentiment can swing markedly in a short space of time and seemingly with little reason. While dairy prices have been at what are historically high levels, there has been a signi�icant decline in prices in the last few weeks.

This was perhaps most graphically portrayed in the most recent Fonterra Global Dairy Trade auction. Prices were down across the board for all products on offer and being Internet based everyone in the industry knows almost instantly. Demand is still brittle with international buyers continuing to be concerned about consumer con�idence, access to capital to fund purchases, their own pro�itability, changing exchange rates and so on. Buyers tread a �ine line, as do sellers. Hence seemingly small factors can lead to quite big changes in market sentiment.

However while the short term situation is volatile, the longer term picture remains very positive. Prices remain at historically high levels and the global demand for food is forecast to be strong over time. This will especially be the case for high quality, safe, reliable and consistent foods which is New Zealand’s speciality and the focus for Synlait and the dairy industry in general. In the meantime it is challenging for all involved navigating the path on a day-to-day basis.

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The great unwind

photo lance isbister 080710-li-009

Federated Farmers and the Dairy Business Centre sponsored Canterbury dairy farmers on a bus trip earlier in the month so they could to take time off the farm to have a punt and a good time at the Addington Races. (From left) Aaron Berry, Tash Rankin, Chris Atkinson, John Irish and Colin and Michelle Weaver.

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Dairy Focus July  

Ashburton Guardian - Dairy Focus July