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An Ashburton Guardian Supplement

May 2013

Gypsy Day Pages 9-10

Ask about our savings on Skellerup rubberware

Visit your local FarmCentre


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Dairy Focus May 2013

Nitrates level a Linda Clarke,

Rural reporter, Ashburton Guardian

M An advertising supplement of the Ashburton Guardian. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Ashburton Guardian. Publication date: May 21, 2013 Next issue: June 18, 2013 We welcome correspondence to either: Linda Clarke, phone 307-7971 email: linda.c@theguardian.co.nz Desme Daniels, phone 307-7974 email: desme.d@theguardian.co.nz

id Canterbury rural families not on community drinking water supplies should have their household water tested for nitrate and E. coli, says the Canterbury District Health Board. Drinking water assessor Denise Tully said high nitrate levels can cause blue baby syndrome (methaemoglobinaemia) in very young infants fed formula made with water from the tap. It could also be a risk to the foetus in pregnant women. She said while only one death had ever been confirmed in New Zealand from blue baby syndrome, there were concerns it was under-diagnosed and some sudden infant death cases could be attributed to it. “The important thing is we need to be aware of it.” Ms Tully spoke to farmers at Hinds earlier this month about the effects of nitrates

in drinking water. Farmers are under the gun to reduce nitrate leaching into groundwater and waterways, and water quality limits are about to be introduced by Environment Canterbury. Farmers are doing their best to reduce leaching, using science and technology to monitor and measure what they do. Dairy cows urinating on pasture are a major problem, especially during the winter when ground is already saturated. Ms Tully said the Health Board and ECan were working together on an information package about nitrates and bottle-fed babies that would be distributed by maternity caregivers, like doctors and midwives. Babies are at risk up to six months of age. One farmer said the focus needed to continue on educating mothers-to-be. “You are spending a huge amount of time and effort trying to get farmers to reduce nitrate leaching. More babies are probably at risk by people putting drink down their throats than from nitrates.” Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers water

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Dairy Focus May 2013

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big concern spokesman Ian Mackenzie said more information was also needed about the level at which nitrates were a problem. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has set the maximum acceptable value (MAV) of nitrates in drinking water at 50mg/litre or 11.3mg/litre nitrate nitrogen. WHO says intensive farming due to the use of manure and fertiliser causes levels to rise and while blue baby syndrome is rare in most industrial countries, it is a risk in developing countries where drinking water is from shallow wells in farming areas. Boiling water does not remove nitrate. Ms Tully said the Ministry of Health had adopted WHO’s maximum acceptable values for New Zealand and recommended high-risk groups use an alternative source of water if their potable supply exceeded the MAV. She said nitrates varied from place to place and from season to season, and could be accompanied by other things like E. coli. “There are some communities out there where it is over half the MAV. At that point we make councils monitor monthly.”

The Ashburton District Council already monitors its community supplies monthly, though there are no issues with nitrates. But what if you are not on a council supply? You must know the quality of your water, not only its nitrate level but E. coli, says Ms Tully. Crown Public Health is working with ECan to produce brochures for anyone bottle feeding babies. The Health Board’s website will soon contain information about where to have water tested and how to read the results. “The key thing is we are trying to target anyone on their own supply at the moment who might be at risk because there are potentially areas over the MAV. We know the statistics of community supplies, it is everyone else that could be a problem. If you don’t know what the water quality is, get it tested and check the E. coli as well.” She said while only one blue baby death had been confirmed in New Zealand, the Health Board did not want to wait for another.

Farming with nutrient limits is the subject of a big seminar being run by Mid Canterbury Federated Farmers in Ashburton today. The farmer organisation has been appealing to farmers to learn as much as they can about the topic as water quality and quantity limits will affect their farming operations. Government has asked them to double agricultural exports yet they must farm within nutrient limits that will affect the way they irrigate and how many stock units can be run. Federated Farmers have a line-up of speakers today who will help farmers consider the regulatory process, the science behind proposed regulation and the practical implementation of nutrient caps. Members of the Ashburton Zone Water Committee will

also be at the seminar. The committee is currently consulting with farmers in the Hinds Plains (Hinds river and south) area about nutrient limits and gauging their feedback on possible ways to improve water quality and quantity in the area. An environment-focused solution released last week was rejected by farmers, who said they would become peasants and their communities die off. The plan was based around restoring the Hinds River and drains, but would also result in about 250 jobs being lost and the townships of Hinds and Mayfield shriveling up. Another solution, aimed at increasing irrigated farmland by 30,000ha, would encourage more dairy conversions and boost incomes. The seminar is being held at the Hotel Ashburton, starting 1pm.

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Dairy Focus May 2013

Country life has its rewards A

n industry-backed trip to Asia has given Otago farmers Blair and Jane Smith a deeper understanding of the challenges facing marketers of New Zealand meat and dairy products. National winners of the 2012 Ballance Farm Environment Awards, the Smiths recently returned from South Korea, China, Taiwan and Singapore, where they visited a number of key markets for New Zealand sheep, beef and dairy products. The purpose of the 16-day trip was to learn more about offshore markets, exchange views on topics of crucial interest to New Zealand farmers and to showcase New Zealand’s stance on agricultural sustainability. Jane Smith says the trip, which was undertaken in late April and early May, opened their eyes to the scale and diversity of Asian markets. “Each country we visited was completely different in terms of consumer tastes and requirements, and that really made us appreciate some of the challenges the marketers of our products face.” “In South Korea, for example, there is a strong preference for grain-fed beef. So we saw how marketers of New Zealand beef in South Korea and Taiwan are successfully changing consumer perceptions by highlighting the natural and healthy aspects of our grass-fed beef.” In China the Smiths noted the importance

of strong relationships with resellers of New Zealand products. “The Chinese want to build long-term relationships with their suppliers and they want a secure and consistent supply. If we are going to develop more business in China, we have to have a very good understanding of their markets.” Blair Smith says a highlight of the trip was a visit to the Grand Farm company – one of China’s biggest importers of New Zealand lamb. In Taiwan the Smiths were impressed by the exceptional standards in country-oforigin food labelling. “Go to any supermarket or restaurant and they can tell you exactly where their meat came from and, in the case of ground product, exactly what is in it. As in the other Asian markets we visited, food safety is a paramount concern for consumers.” Mrs Smith says they were impressed with the approach Beef+Lamb New Zealand and Fonterra have taken to developing markets in Asia. “It’s clear they have made great efforts to understand the needs of consumers within each specific market.” This knowledge is crucial. “As New Zealand farmers, it’s important that we know what we can do to ensure our produce meets the demands of our global customers. We know we have great products

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but we also have to help consumers understand why they should pay a premium for them.” She says while food safety is a foremost concern for Asian consumers, they also want products to be produced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable. Mr Smith says he and Jane met a huge range of marketers, consumers, politicians and industry representatives during the trip. “Most of the people we talked to had a very good perception of New Zealand and

our agriculture. That made us proud.” They agree the trip was an important part of the “great personal development journey” they have been on since winning the environment awards. The Smiths, who run a North Otago sheep, beef, forestry and dairy support operation, are looking forward to sharing what they have learnt with other farmers. They will also make a special presentation of their findings at the New Zealand Farm Environment Trust’s National Showcase in Hamilton in June.

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Dairy Focus May 2013

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The end of the season is nigh works. The trace elements of interest are copper, selenium and cobalt. Zinc is also tested occasionally especially if it has not been supplemented through the season. Winter grazing (brassica) can put pressure on trace element availability, so supplementing pre-winter with appropriate products is a very good idea. You may need to supplement again pre-calving, especially with selenium, to help prevent retained placenta issues. Don’t forget to blood test and supplement the young stock if indicated. 2. Dry cow therapy. In an ideal world all milking cows will receive dry cow antibiotics at dry off. These antibiotics treat the majority of existing mastitis infections at dry off and prevent new infections occurring during the dry period. Dry cow antibiotics reduce the prevalence of mastitis in the herd and so limit the number of new infections seen during the calving period. The key to good mastitis control is to reduce the number of new infections and to reduce the duration of infections. Dry cow therapy ticks both these boxes. Teat sealants are becoming increasingly popular because they are now proven to consistently

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As this season comes to a close there are certain things to consider so that the winter period does not limit the on-going production and reproduction potential of your cows. 1. Trace element status. By now you should have a good idea of the trace element status of your herd and young stock. It is not too late to take liver biopsies from keeper cows or liver samples from culled cows at the

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high up and low down on plants and choose plants from all over the paddock. Test regularly to detect changes. We generally recommend a good source of fibre is fed with kale. 5. Lame cows are common during winter. The skin between the toes can become very soft and vulnerable to splitting and damage by kale stalks etc. There are very high numbers of lameness causing bacteria in wet muddy conditions, and hoof horn may have become thin during the season. Be vigilant to lameness and treat promptly. 6. Finally make sure you have. An accurate record of the calving pattern of your cows so you can manage pre-calving cows correctly. Cows that calve on kale or in high environmental challenge situations are at increased risk of mastitis at or after calving. An increased incidence of mastitis at calving can contribute to on-going spread of mastitis throughout the whole season. 7. Make sure you take a well-earned break over winter. Remember your batteries need recharging as well!

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reduce mastitis significantly at calving. You must talk to your Vet if you are considering using teat sealants. 3. Lice infestations almost always occur during winter. The colder the weather the more lice we see. Don’t be tempted to treat too early as you will get re-infestation problems. We generally recommend treating cows in June when it is getting colder, and if there are significant numbers of lice on the cattle. If you do need to retreat you may need to consider milk withholding periods of products used. 4. Kale crops can be very dangerous. They can be high in nitrates, and SMCO which causes red water and anaemia. In some cases cows can get rumen issues such as acidosis and non- frothy bloat on kale. It is also possible for cows to lose weight and condition on kale. It is common to underfeed kale through poor crop utilization. Nitrate levels will increase whilst soil temperatures are still warm and skies are cloudy. Frost will stress plants and this will slow the rate at which nitrates are dealt with by the plants, so they can still be dangerous after frosts. When testing for nitrate test

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Dairy Focus May 2013

An Ashburton Guardian Advertising feature

t’s been an extra tough week. Your new farm hand crashed your brand new ute into a water tank which will need replacing, and your best dog had a trip to the vet. It seems like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. Thank goodness it’s Friday. You can almost taste the cold beer already. There’s a rugby game on tonight, Crusaders and the Chiefs. This will be a goodie. You just hope the kids give you five minutes of peace and quiet so you can concentrate on the game. You step in the door and sure enough the kids are running amok, arguing and chasing each other around the house. You go and give your good lady a kiss and ask what’s for tea. “Polenta and a herb salad,” she replies. What even is that? It doesn’t sound anything like wedges with bacon and cheese, which is what you’d really like while watching the game. You head toward the fridge, and you guessed it, there’s no cold beer. Blow this, load the kids in the car and give your wife a night off from cooking. Tonight treat yourself and the family to a dinner at Speight’s, where an ice cold beer is served with a smile, to wash down your hearty dinner. Now this is the way to end the day. Speights is more than just a great family

chilli sauce are perfect to munch on while watching the rugby, or try an Alehouse hot platter with your mates and chomp on some chicken nuggets, corn bites, salt and pepper calamari, crumbed onion rings, mini hot dogs and fries. To satisfy a bigger hunger, try an old favourite from the farm, Grandma’s lambs fry and bacon, served up with a big helping of creamy mash and sweet caramelised onions, smothered in a deliciously rich Speight’s Ale gravy. If that doesn’t have the taste buds screaming, then how about indulging in something a little fancier with their new Beef Wellington. Fillet steak surrounded in creamy Speight’s paté, wrapped in puffed golden pastry served with a tangy red wine jus, tender gourmet potatoes and seasonal vegetables. If you’re looking for more excuses to head to Speight’s to try some of their scrumptious new menu items, then head on in on a Wednesday night at 7pm and join their quiz night. Entry is free, and you can win some fantastic prizes while having a laugh with your mates. Great food, exceptional beer, good game of footy, Speight’s has everything you need under one roof for a great night out.

Feed your man-sized hunger I

restaurant, it’s a place where you’re made to feel welcome in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere, where a robust meal and a cold ale go side by side, and the kids are kept entertained with delicious dishes for the wee ones. Sport comes alive at Speight’s on the big screen television, setting the ideal atmosphere for you and your mates to holler at your favourite footy team while enjoying

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Dairy Focus May 2013

Exceptional character

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t 134 years old, Timaru Girls’ High School is one of the oldest secondary schools in the country, and remains in tune with the core values instilled within its founding. Our motto “Scientia Potestas Est”, “knowledge is power” is as true when the first school building was erected in 1880 as it is today. We have a proud history of educating and empowering young women, building the knowledge and selfesteem necessary to help them realise their ambitions. The school possesses excellent facilities, with an emphasis on modernity seemingly at odds with the beautiful buildings and park-like surroundings. Classrooms are fitted with up-to-date technology, and computer terminals dotted around the school ensure that students can find a place to work and study at any time. Our modern and well-resourced facilities are combined with a skilled and enthusiastic staff, which means that students enjoy every opportunity to excel academically, athletically and culturally.

Due to its strong history and values, Timaru Girls’ High School has an exceptional culture, with students interacting, making friends and competing within house groups at all year levels. Students are encouraged to discover more about themselves by joining in with the many cocurricular opportunities available. We also possess strong ties to several other schools in the Timaru region. The boarding house provides a safe and rewarding environment, fostering good habits in not only becoming self-motivated and responsible learners, but also in terms of respect for themselves and others. Students have many chances to enjoy themselves as well, relaxing and having fun with new friends. Girls also get a private, well-appointed room to themselves. We welcome you to come and visit Timaru Girls’ High School, educating South Canterbury’s young women since 1880. Please visit our website www.timarugirls. school.nz for our latest newsletter and www.ero.govt.nz for our 2012 Education Review Office report.

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Waihi School - A boy’s education for life

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or over one hundred years boys have enjoyed a remarkable education here in the heart of beautiful South Canterbury. The boys of today are no different, living, growing and learning in our very special school. The sign over the gate claims that Waihi is “A Boy’s Education for Life”, and it is indeed the big picture that we look at when designing an experience that will help the Waihi Boy to grow and develop. The formative years of your son’s education are extremely important. The experiences, values and challenges presented to him at this stage are fundamental in helping to shape and determine his views, attitudes, dispositions and ultimate success for his future years. Waihi has high expectations of the boys in terms of academic achievement. Small class sizes, together with high quality, committed staff, many of whom are residential, ensure that we know our boys extremely well and they receive close attention and care. Whilst achievement in the classroom is crucial, the education the boys receive is broad, balanced and we seek to find exactly what presses the buttons of every boy, allowing them to discover their talents and fulfill their potential. We introduce boys to a wide range of opportunities. In particular, there is a strong emphasis on sports, music, drama, and technology. The rule is that every boy tries everything be it swimming, learning French, singing or giving a speech! We understand how boys, think and learn. They are presented with opportunities

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Dairy Focus May 2013

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Dairy Focus May 2013

AgRural By Grant Mehrtens, General Manager, AgRural Ltd

A

gRural, formerly Anderson and Rooney Eng Co, has a long history with milking systems and clients throughout North Otago and Canterbury. Since 1973 more than 450 rotary platforms and plants have been installed along with many herringbone plants. Naturally today the milking systems are much larger at an average of 60 bails and now many of the early installations have been replaced, with clients taking the opportunity to install automation to make life easier Today many of the rotary sheds are operated by one person for most of the season, with advances in true kick-off detection, grain feed control, milk flow recording, retractable teat spray systems, all contributing to reducing labour inputs. Two years ago DeLaval installed the world’s first fully Automatic Milking Rotary (AMR) platform in Tasmania, which has five robotic arms on the inside of the platform, four for teat washing and fitting milking cups while the last one is for teat spraying. Cup removers are also fitted, along with other automation which operated steadily with no human input other than for servicing. This is small unit

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Gypsy Day of 24 bails milking 80 cows per hour. Several Canterbury farmers have expressed interest as they look to reducing workload for their staff. We are now seeing a trend towards cow barns, which have proven returns from better managed inputs, higher production, less pasture damage, 100% effluent capture, less water used for milking and washdown while cows are warm, healthy and well looked after, this is a win win situation for cows and owners. Being able to capture 100% of the effluent and to manage its application to the land at appropriate times is a huge management advantage. There are several robotic milking farms operating today as people become more comfortable with them and realise there are better ways to increase milk production while maintaining the environment. At AgRural we can offer you a very wide range of solutions from herringbone or rotary dairy sheds through to robotic milking either pasture or barn based. We can provide structural steel, all yards, gates, plumbing, effluent systems, cow barns including mattresses, stalling, swinging cow brushes, lighting, effluent scrapers and much more. Call us on 0800 00 11 33 for further advice.

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id Canterbury Federated Farmers dairy section chairman Hamish Davidson is reminding farmers to take care if moving stock on Gypsy Day.

He says he receives several calls a year about a select few farmers who think they own the road. “It is another opportunity we have to show

our neighbours and communities that we respect their properties and we can all carry out our business within the community with consideration for others.”

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Dairy Focus May 2013

Setting up to shift stock this Gypsy Day D

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airy farmers planning to shift stock in the next few weeks should pay particular attention to the cows’ fitness for transport and their feed requirements. The next few weeks is a busy time for farmers and transport companies nationwide, shifting stock between farms, to wintering or as cull cows, as part of the industry’s annual Gypsy Day (June 1) move. DairyNZ animal husbandry team leader, Nita Harding, says preparing cows for transport should cover off a range of areas, from the cow’s fitness for transport through to ensuring the truck is in good order. “Preparing stock for transport should begin several weeks out – from booking the transport provider to ensuring the cows’ feed requirements are met throughout the transition from one farm to the other,” says Ms Harding. “A good place to start is with diet requirements.” A feed transition plan should be in place for cows going onto

a new feed, to ensure the cows adjust to it over seven to 10 days before. If you have crop on the milking platform that was planted for transitioning, allocate one to two hours of crop each day, while grazing pasture, feeding silage and still milking. Regardless of feed type, all cows should receive a diet containing 12-20g of dietary magnesium per day for three days either side of transport – if dusting CausMag, this equates to 80-100g/cow/day. “Stress during transport does cause blood magnesium levels to significantly drop. Dusting pasture with an appropriate supplement the week before will build blood levels. Magnesium bullets should be considered for cows in late pregnancy, as they are particularly at risk.” On the day of transport, stand cows off green feed for four to 12 hours before the journey. They should have access to good quality hay, baleage or dry feed and water. Ms Harding advises to use a grazed out paddock or stand-

off pad, rather than concrete. A grazed out paddock is often best, as it gives cows plenty of space to lie down. If in doubt about an animal’s fitness for transport, contact your vet. Have a team member who is skilled in transporting animals supervise the process on the day. “Pregnant cows are worth looking after well, they are a valuable asset.” Regulation changes have also reduced the weight allowance for general access vehicles, such as stock trucks, so farmers may need to allow for slightly reduced stock numbers being loaded. The DairyNZ website has further information and resources, including a Checklist for Transporting Cows. Visit dairynz. co.nz/transportingstock for more information. Farmers are also encouraged to ensure their NAIT requirements are met, including tags, registration and recording movement of cows – visit www.nait.co.nz to find out more.

Shifting stock The main things farmers should consider when moving any stock, are: • people preparing and transporting cows should have the experience and knowledge to manage the cows’ welfare on the journey • cows should be fit, healthy and strong, and able to bear weight on all legs • cows need to have a body condition score (BCS) of three or more to be in good condition to travel. Any animal with a BCS less than three needs immediate attention • cows should receive a diet containing 12-20g of dietary magnesium per day for three days either side of transport – if dusting CausMag, this equates to 80-100g/cow/day (transport stress generally causes a significant drop in magnesium levels) • cows in their last three months of pregnancy should be treated with patience and care • a feed transition plan will help the cows adjust their metabolism to winter grazing and protect their health • stock should be moved off green feed for at least four hours and no more than 12 hours prior to transport to reduce effluent production – remember to provide water and hay, baleage or dry feed during this time • feed and water should be immediately available to the animals when they arrive at their destination.

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Dairy Focus May 2013

Pond course builds expertise A

course being run nationwide is giving contractors and designers of farm dairy effluent ponds a chance to build their expertise and stay up-to-date on industry developments. DairyNZ, in conjunction with InfraTrain New Zealand and New Zealand Water and Environment Training Academy Consultants (NZWETA), established the Farm Dairy Effluent Pond Design and Construction Course last year. The course, developed by industry professionals led by Opus International Consultants, is being held in Hamilton, Taupo, Oamaru, Palmerston North and Christchurch. The Christchurch course is July 23-25 and companies can still register at nzweta.org.nz. Representatives from more than 70 companies have already completed the course. DairyNZ sustainability team leader Theresa Wilson says dairy farmers benefit from having highly skilled people building their ponds and is urging companies to sign-up. “Companies are really stepping up to the plate by attending these courses. These are specifically designed to help them meet the standards for the design and construction of

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ponds, outlined in the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) Practice Note 21,” she said. “The entire process of constructing an effluent pond is covered by this pond design and construction course, from planning through to testing and commissioning. Everyone in the construction process has an important part to play and will benefit from familiarising themselves with the standards.” Hugh Ratsey from Opus says the companies are put through their paces during the course. “Dairy farmers can be confident that those who have completed this course have the knowledge to provide an effluent pond built to industry good practice,” he said. “The course includes a series of workshops with emphasis on practical learning.” InfraTrain chief executive Philip Aldridge is looking forward to more companies taking up the opportunity to attend the three-day course. “Effluent management has been a priority for the dairy industry over the last few years. These courses acknowledge that by including information on new developments, regulations and research that result in better management of effluent.”

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An Ashburton Guardian Advertising feature

Dairy Focus May 2013

Book a room, you’ll want to stay for more M

any hotels offer on-location dining options, but few can boast the gourmet variety of experiences on offer at Hotel Ashburton, including fully customisable conference cuisine options. Start your dining experience amongst the modern and chic atmosphere of the Clearwater Poolside Restaurant, with views over the pool and gardens. Begin with tempting offerings such as warm pork belly terrine with apple chutney and toasted sour dough, followed by a modern twist on the classic steak and chips, a char grilled Angus beef fillet served with pinot onion rings, Portobello mushrooms and Agria shoestrings, accompanied by your choice of sauce. Indulge in a delicious ending with a chocolate parfait, pinot poached pears with a hazelnut praline crumble. These dishes are just a taste of what is on offer from early June, when Clearwater launches its sumptuous new winter menu. Hotel Ashburton’s executive chef, Paul Condron, has created a fusion of flavours to create a seamless transition between every course. The food now provides, not just a

reason to visit but a reason to return. Artful and inventive, Paul’s new menu reflects his extensive international and national experience with a mix of European and local flavours. Here you can enjoy an exceptional menu, offering refreshing takes on classic signature dishes and modern evolutions, all indulging in Mid Canterbury’s renowned local produce. Paul and his team of chefs champion the finest local ingredients and create distinctive, memorable dishes which satisfy and delight. Clearwater Restaurant is open to the public for dining from 6pm until 9pm, Monday to Saturday, and is open seven days a week for in-house guests to enjoy a delicious poolside breakfast or dinner. A Hotel Ash favourite, the sumptuous Sunday buffet lunch and dinner is still available, providing the classic dishes that generations of locals love, enjoyed with good cheer and fabulous service. Planning a larger event? Hotel Ashburton is superbly positioned to host any occasion, from four people up to 450 guests. Large conference rooms, excellent technical facilities, high speed internet, board rooms, multiple dining options and 250 free off-road

parking spaces are only a few of the benefits of hosting your event with Hotel Ashburton. Centrally located in the South Island, Hotel Ashburton is less than a one hour drive from Christchurch International Airport, where your guests and dignitaries can enjoy glorious views of the lush Mid Canterbury landscape and majestic Southern Alps as they travel to the conference destination. Fully customisable menu plans for your event feature quality local produce and superb personal service, with Hotel Ashburton’s in-house event planner ensuring every detail is executed to perfection. Choose from a range of buffet or a la carte dishes, or create your own BBQ and canapé menu. Our executive chef understands the value of fresh seasonal ingredients, using them in an array of what he calls “modern classic” dishes, sure to be a success at your event. The team of chefs are well trained to deliver consistently excellent dishes, executed and displayed with finesse. Taste the difference for yourself at Hotel Ashburton, a treat for the senses, and indulgent for the soul.

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Dairy Focus May 2013

13

Dairy feed systems now available at PMR P

MR is pleased to welcome Dave Shaw to the team. Dave will be responsible for the development of the dairy feed side of the business, many of our existing customers knowing Dave from his previous job working with irrigation systems. Dave brings a lot of dairy knowledge to PMR, and has been taken on to oversee the new dairy feed systems that the business now offers. The GSI system is suited to both rotary and herringbone dairy sheds and takes feed efficiently from the silo to the feed trough. The system includes storage silo, auger, roller mill and coreless auger; it can

be installed into grain storage silos from 5 to 40 tons. Grain storage silos ranging in capacities from 75 to 500 tons are also available. The dairy feed system is the latest product offered by PMR, which has been operating from purpose-built facilities at Hinds for the past two years, previously PMR operated from Geraldine. The company can supply all types of grain handling and storage equipment, for both dairy and cropping farmers, from a range of top suppliers. PMR can organise the whole system, from consultation and design, through to engineering, installation and repair. PMR

holds a large stock of spares ready on the shelves and have three service vans operating in the area. New Zealand dairy farmers use a variety of supplements to improve cow condition and milk production, and feed systems are designed for varying feeds and delivery methods. Owner Paul Whitbread says “systems can be customised to fit dairy shed configurations and PMR’s team of experts can visit to ascertain requirements and make recommendations”. “Once equipment has been delivered,

we have a fully experienced and trained installation team who are able to install a full range of products. PMR offers a full commissioning service from set-up to operation”. “PMR can cater for small orders, such as a single elevator or conveyor replacement, to the construction and development of new storage and milling complexes. Everything is designed to the requirements of the customer from tonnage per hour to total storage capacity.” PMR can also provide drying floors, continuous Flow dryers, aeration silos and humidity burners.

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The range of products include bulk storage silos, hopper bottom silos, roller mills, flex flo coreless augers and grain augers. WAKELY ROLLER MILLS PMR are pleased to be able to supply the Wakely Roller Mill. Wakely Engineering have been manufacturing Roller Mills for the last 30 years and manufacture mills from 1.5tph through to 30tph plus.

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14 14

Dairy Focus May 2013

DIA field day T

he country’s best sharemilkers, equity farmers, farm managers and dairy trainees gather in Wellington at the weekend for the national Dairy Industry Award. Mid Canterbury will be well represented with farm manager Richard Pearse and dairy trainee Adam Caldwell flying the flag for the Canterbury-North Otago region. The 12 regional dairy trainee winners are in Mid Canterbury this week as part of a three-day study tour prior to the big awards. They will go on farm visits to Rob and Debbie Mackle’s Lauriston farm, Winslow Ltd’s robotic dairy at Mayfield and Mark and Julie Cressey’s farm at Dorie; they will also hear from guest speakers about the different pathways available to progress in the industry, and about the growth of dairying in Canterbury. Both Richard and Adam were in the limelight recently during a winner’s field day on the Hinds farm where they both work.

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Dairy Focus May 2013

15

Trials show there’s a lot to love about molasses Contributed by Ballance

A

further round of farm trials in the Waikato has reconfirmed the value of Crystalyx Dry Cow dehydrated molasses blocks as a dry cow winter management tool. The results were shared at a farm open day in Putaruru, in March, with Jackie Aveling, Animal Nutrition Manager at Altum, saying the good turnout reflected farmers’ interest. “Overseas trials over some 20 years have onsistently confirmed the performance of dehydrated molasses blocks. Farmers want to know if the same results can be achieved in New Zealand. Our trial work with Crystalyx, which is specifically formulated for local conditions, gives them the facts they need to support its performance.” The repeated trial work done by Dr Mark Oliver, science director of the Liggins Institute’s Ngapouri Farm research station near Rotorua, which saw a control herd supplemented

with magnesium and trace elements following current best practice guidelines, and the other Crystalyx Dry Cow. In the first year the control cows recorded a significantly higher incidence of retained placentas (11 per cent compared to 2.6 per cent in the Crystalyx group (p<0.01)), while mastitis incidence also tended to be higher (9.0% vs. 3.9%, p=0.051). Mrs Aveling says the initial trial indicated a clear link between nutrients, vitamins and reproduction and lactation. The repeat of the initial trial, on Mark Newton and Sarah Manders’ property in Tokoroa, achieved outcomes similar to the first year. Both herds had similar low metabolic incidence with lower mastitis recorded in the l herd fed Crystalyx Dry Cow than the control herd. The Altum product was further put to the test on Hugh Chisholm’s farm in Putaruru, where 497 Friesian cross cows were wintered on

swedes and silage at his Tokoroa run off. The cows were randomly assigned to a control mob and a Crystalyx mob. The control mob received supplementation through magnesium dusting on crops and trace elements through the water trough. Both Mr Chisholm and Mr Newton were impressed by the results, and intend to continue to use the product now that the trials have concluded. “I can honestly say the cows were quieter when they were on Crystalyx. The product really does work,” said Mr Chisholm. Mr Newton also noticed a change in his Crystalyx mob, with the cows becoming a lot quieter, which was reaffirmed when a vet visiting the farm commented that the herd had calmed down. “We also noticed that the cows settled into milking well early in spring, and ‘fired up’ for lactation almost immediately. Based on my experience it worked extremely

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well,” said Mr Newton. “It’ so much easier than dusting, you just put the tubs out in advance and the cows just take what they want. “Over the two years we noticed consumption was pretty consistent, so that means you are able to forecast use and budget accordingly. “We will definitely continue to use Crystalyx now that the trial is over.” Crystalyx Dry Cow dehydrated molasses block contains a range of valuable micro and macro nutrients contained in the molasses base, critical in aiding the transition through the stressful calving-early spring period. The production process for the block ensures a 98% dehydrated product that stock can only lick, not eat, limiting their uptake to around 200 g per head a day. This “little and often” product intake provides an even intake profile through the animal’s grazing day, but is also invaluable in feeding the rumen’s microbial population.

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16

Dairy Focus May 2013

Ups and downs of swaps I

nterest rate swaps have become a hot topic with a Commerce Commission investigation and an inquiry by Parliament’s Primary Production Select Committee What is a swap? An interest rate swap is a financial derivative that lets borrowers manage interest rate exposure on their borrowing. Until about 2005 they were used mainly by corporate and institutional customers. After that, various banks offered swaps to rural and commercial clients with high “corporate” levels of debt, but without the corporates’ sophisticated financial expertise. How do swaps work? Parties exchange, or swap, interest rate payments with each other. The most common swap is where a borrower pays a fixed interest rate - the swap rate - to the bank, while receiving a floating rate indexed to a reference rate. Each party has their own priorities and requirements, so these exchanges can help both parties. Borrowers can use swaps to hedge against interest rate volatility. How do they compare? A fixed-term loan is simpler than a swap, but the idea is the same; to hedge against volatility. Banks sell fixed-term loans to borrowers at a set interest rate for a set period,

such as 6 per cent a year for 24 months. The issues Swaps seemed to work quite well for borrowers until late 2008. In that high interest rate environment, some farmers were getting money from banks and there were not many complaints. But floating interest rates fell dramatically from late 2008 and a huge gap opened between the fixed swap rate and the floating reference rate. Farmers were locked in at very high cost, with many not realising they had that risk. They couldn’t escape their swaps without high break fees. What has Federated Farmers done? Federated Farmers has always said farmers need to be very careful when signing up to swaps. We advise people get professional independent advice on how swaps work and the pros and cons. The federation believes in individual responsibility, but is concerned swaps are not mis-sold. Since 2008: Meetings with senior bank executives urging banks to pass on interest rate cuts and treat their customers fairly. Swaps have been discussed at these meetings. August 2009: Submission to the Opposition’s banking inquiry, which discussed the federation’s swap concerns. March 2010: Submission to the banking

ombudsman seeking an increase in the financial limit for compensation and enabling the ombudsman to investigate complaints about a bank’s “commercial judgment” or its interest rate policies. December 2010 and February 2011: Submissions to the NZ Bankers Association’s Review of the Code of Banking Practice, which discussed swaps. November 2012: Letter to the Commerce Commission encouraging it to investigate allegations of mis-selling. What do the banks tell us? Banks have assured Federated Farmers issues with swaps have been, or are being, worked through and settlements or new arrangements have been made where it was alleged that swaps were mis-sold or where there were genuine misunderstandings. Banks seem to have learned lessons. Although swaps are still being sold to farmers, their use is not as widespread as between 2006 and 2008 and more care is being taken to ensure people know the benefits and risks. Banks deny that rewards or incentives are being used to sell swaps. Are all farmers unhappy with swaps? No, we get calls from farmers happy with swaps who find them a useful hedge against volatility. They do not want farmers denied swaps.

What happened in Britain? A number of commentators have drawn a link between Britain and New Zealand. Many British farmers felt banks mis-sold the swaps, typically between 2006 and 2008 when swaps were frequently sold as conditions of loans. Farmers complained bank staff were heavily incentivised to sell swaps with no warnings about downsides. In July last year four major British banks agreed a settlement with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) over “serious failings” in the sale of interest rate swaps to small businesses, including many farmers. What could happen here? The Commerce Commission is investigating; primarily considering whether customers were misled about swaps’ true risk, nature and suitability. Businesses found guilty of breaching the Fair Trading At may be fined up to $200,000 for each charge. Only the courts can decide if a representation breached the act. What should I do? Federated Farmers encourages farmers with allegations of mis-selling of swaps, or other poor treatment from their bank in relation to swaps, to make a complaint to the Commerce Commission, phone 0800 94 3600, or call Federated Farmers with your concerns, 0800 327 646.

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17

Dairy Focus May 2013

Opportunities for Westland in China Contributed by Westland

T

he increasing demand throughout China for safe, high quality food creates significant opportunities for Westland Milk Products, says chief executive Rod Quin. Mr Quin has recently returned from China as part of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s tour with business and political delegates to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the fifth anniversary of the New ZealandChina Free Trade Agreement. “China has an immense drive to source protein and safe food for its increasingly urbanising population,” Mr Quin said. “During the tour it was clear that New Zealand is recognised as a world-leading producer of high quality agricultural products. “One of the things that gelled particularly with the way Westland likes to do business in China was the strong emphasis on the importance of people-to-people links. Our marketing strategy is based on having direct and mutually beneficial relationships with our customers, rather than working through agencies or other ‘middle men’. The message we got from Chinese leadership was this was an appreciated and effective way of doing business in China.” Mr Quin said that the delegation noted the growing prospects for New Zealand

exporters as the Chinese population increasingly becomes more urban, wealthy and educated. “This is good news for China’s economy, and good news for us as producers of the quality food products and ingredients this growing and affluent middle class want to buy. ”Half of all New Zealand export growth in the last five years has come from increased exports to China. The potential for even more growth is enormous and would be transformational for New Zealand. Food exports will have a big role to play in that growth. “Together the New Zealand and Chinese governments have committed to doubling the two-way trade between our nations to $20 billion by 2015.” Mr Quin said the most exciting prospects for Westland were in its new nutritionals production, especially infant milk formula where the demand was huge and growing. “We’ve successfully completed our first commercial season of the new nutritionals plant and now have proven product to take to the Chinese market. Our unique approach to sharing technology and developing product together with our customers is designed to maximise benefit and return for both parties. This is a powerful story to take into the Chinese market during our off season.”

Another important benefit from participating in the Prime Minister’s tour, Mr Quin said, was the relationships he was able to foster. “This was an excellent opportunity not only to engage with industry and government contacts in China, but also build our relationship with key players in allied industries and government agencies here in New Zealand. We were able to raise the profile of Westland Milk Products with high level players and influencers in the export industry generally, which has real potential benefits for us, particularly our marketing outreach.” In summary, Mr Quin said, the visit to China in the company of such a powerful delegation was very worthwhile. “The knowledge will go directly into our marketing efforts, inform the way we do business in China, expand our options for making key contacts, and help direct our focus on achieving a substantial share of the growing potential of the Chinese requirement for food. “Just as important, it confirmed Westland has a role in this market, and can be even more of a contributor to the innovation and thinking that goes on behind ‘New Zealand Inc’. The trip certainly helped raise our profile among industry and political leaders whose decisions influence the markets and the economic climates of the areas we produce in and export to.”

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Dairy Focus May 2013

Irrigation guide T

he Great Irrigation Challenge in Ashburton this week marks two professional milestones for the irrigation industry, says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis. Alongside two days of workshops for irrigators and industry, IrrigationNZ’s user group guide and irrigation installation contract will be launched. Both represent advances in industry practice and demonstrate the professionalism of irrigators and their support industries, says Mr Curtis. The user group guide is the result of several months of interviews with irrigation user groups around New Zealand. Freely available on IrrigationNZ’s website www. irrigationnz.co.nz, the guide provides a ‘how to’ for setting up a user group, alongside information about the advantages of co-ordinated action. IrrigationNZ project manager Paul Reese says the guide aims to improve relationships between irrigators, regulators and communities through effective communication and strong governance. “User groups add enormous value once established because they provide

a structure for irrigators to work together in a co-ordinated way. One of the most significant benefits is that the user group can act collectively on their behalf when working with regulatory authorities, responding to community concerns or dealing with the media.” Representatives from the Ellesmere and Ashburton user groups will attend the launch, along with Federated Farmers, Landcare Research, DairyNZ and Ministry of Primary Industries staff. Contracts expert David Goodman, who helped draft the installation contract, says “the template is designed as a balanced and user friendly contract for farmers and irrigation companies designed for on-farm irrigation. It provides the parties with certainty and reduces the possibility of dispute”. Copies are freely available to IrrigationNZ members and Mr Curtis is expecting strong uptake. “The contract has been put together in such a way that it doesn’t favour either party, while avoiding legal jargon. It’s long overdue and IrrigationNZ is pleased to finally deliver a template that irrigators can adapt and use for their individual needs,” he said.

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ollowing on from the South Island Field days Timbercore has brought together all of the products they can offer New Zealand Farmers. From wintering sheds and dairy sheds through to housing for owners, managers and farm workers, to pump sheds and machinery sheds and the hangar for the toys. Our buildings, structurally, are based on locally grown and manfactured engineered timber. “Timber is farmed in New Zealand. Timber is produced from the land the same as sheep, beef, dairy, deer, grapes and grain. These products are the backbone of our economy. Our farming community is at the forefront of technology and innovation in all aspects of agriculture and now we are applying the latest engineering and technology to Timbercore Buildings,

“ says Kevin Barron, owner of Timbercore. Timbercore has been developing engineered timber structural buildings for the past five years. We now have the experience and products. We can span 9 to 90 plus metres. Most people do not realise what can be done using timber. Timbercore buildings are different. They are quieter, warmer, and pleasing to look at. No ledges for birds and a cleaner less cluttered look than other systems. New Zealand owned. Locally grown & manufactured. No importing. Supporting NZ . Grant McKenzie General Manager Timbercore Phone: 03 347 7079 Email: grant@timbercore.co.nz

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19

Dairy Focus May 2013

Is your farm cow-friendly? Fred Hoekstra

Veehof Dairy Sevices

T

he summer is long gone. Not too many hot days left any more and there is much more rain instead – to the relief of many around the country. I can’t believe the season is nearly over. Cows seem to be more convinced than I am on this point! The end of the season is certainly putting more stress on them. They are becoming lethargic, walking to and from the cow shed seems a big task for them. This is one of the stresses that have a big impact on the hoof health of your animals. Ask any farmer who has moved to a 16-hour milking programme and they will tell you how the cows change. They have more energy and they are livelier. That is just a clear sign that cows are not machines and that they function differently under different circumstances. To me, it seems that we often farm in a way where we make the cows work with us and they often have to put up with whatever situation we put them in, rather than us trying to change things to work with the cows. When I go out to a farm for a consultancy visit,

I am very interested in the cow comfort aspect of farming. I look at things like walking time and milking time. It is very important to treat the cows correctly when handled. Pushing cows is not the right way, we all know that. Why do some farmers have problems with cows being pushed too hard? But what if cows just don’t want to walk? You have to push them just to get them moving. It seems like the more we push our cows, the more they work against us. It is much better to get a cow walking by “dangling a carrot” in front of them instead of using a whip. Is there much difference in the amount of physical force between the two ways of doing it? The difference will be very minimal, certainly not enough to cause the damage that we see in the hooves. The stress levels, however, are much higher when cows are being pushed. So, when we want to minimise lameness we need to minimise stress on the cows. What can we do to make our farms and management styles more cow friendly? I guess, in order to answer that question, we need to know what a cow-friendly environment looks like. I think that when a cow is spending 21 hours a day in a paddock with a well-balanced diet, and a plentiful supply thereof, we are making a good start.

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Dairy Focus May 2013

20

Countdown course

Y

oung Mid Canterbury farmers, graziers, station managers, students and agronomists are encouraged to apply for one of 24 places offered as part of an agriculture business scholarship programme run by Countdown’s parent company Woolworths. In its sixth year, the Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship Programme is an industry supported course aimed at bringing new ideas into the sector and boosting career prospects for New Zealand and Australian farmers. Run in conjunction with industry experts, the 12-day course combines a paddock-to-plate view of the agriculture sector with an insider’s look into the retailing sector. Applications for the course, held at Woolworths national support office in Sydney, close on May 31 with the successful candidates’ course fees, accommodation and transport being covered by the retailer. Countdown managing director Dave Chambers says the course arms young people with the tools they need to build a successful and rewarding career in agriculture.

“The programme gives young people who are just starting out in agriculture, an extraordinary insight into how food gets from the farmer to the consumer, with a focus on business strategy, leadership skills, sustainability and the role of government,” Mr Chambers said. “It’s this insight, combined with the candidates’ passion for agriculture, which will prove invaluable when it comes to their ongoing career development. “At Countdown we want to be part of the solution when it comes to growing our New Zealand agriculture industry. The Woolworths Agricultural Business Scholarship Programme is a great development opportunity to help build future careers and give a boost to an industry facing many challenges as a result of the recent droughts. It’s also a chance to meet other bright, committed young people like themselves.” New Zealand participants on the 2012 course were Kylie Faulkner, a farmer from Franklin, and Paul Olsen, a potato grower, cattle and dairy farmer from Opiki, south of Palmerston North. As a third generation fresh vegetables

producer from Bombay, Kylie’s family business grows broccoli, lettuce and silverbeet for other local businesses. “I’m a great believer in adapting and evolving with new technologies, and on the course, I was able to connect with likeminded young farmers on how we can best do this for the future, and take these insights back to my community groups,” she said. As chairman of New Zealand Young Farmers and a primary producer, Paul Olsen took the opportunity to learn more about the supply chain and how producers can further align themselves with suppliers and retailers. “The course was pivotal for me in promoting the growth of the industry as a whole – I was able to take back learnings to develop and encourage our next generation of farmers and producers.” The scholarship program gives participants a broad academic perspective of the business of agriculture from key academics, Woolworths business leaders and industry experts and includes tours of stores, fresh food markets and distribution centres, group work and presentations.

The course runs from August 26 to September 6 this year. •

Applicants must be 20-35 to apply work or study in the agricultural or horticultural field.

Full details and application forms can be found at woolworths.com.au.

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Dairy Focus - May 2013  

Ashburton Guardian - Dairy Focus

Dairy Focus - May 2013  

Ashburton Guardian - Dairy Focus