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An Ashburton Guardian Advertising Supplement

dairy FOCUS Issue 30. November 16, 2010. $2.00

Keen to share awards secrets P3


2

Contents Page 3

Award winners share success

Page 12

Alkagrain a new feed

Page 5

Fonterra milk price

Page 15

Summit a learning experience

Page 4 Page 6 Page 8 Page 9

Focusing on reproduction Milk �low peaks

Page 13 Page 16

Reducing inductions

Body appointed chair of DELG

Page 17 Page 20

Overseas ownership

Snap chilling the way to go

Preventative hoof trimming Cattle handling dangerous

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3

Keen to share awards secrets Leo and Kathryn van den Beuken are passing on what they have learned and gained from the Dairy Industry Awards since winning the national finals in 2005. The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards (NZDIA) are now open for entries, to find the best trainees, farm managers, sharemilker/equity farmers in New Zealand. The van den Beukens’ curiosity of the Dairy Industry Awards was first roused when they attended a field day run by the winners of the Taranaki regional competition in 1997.

“We were amazed how much they knew about their business and how little we knew about ours,” Mr van den Beuken said.

The following year the van den Beukens entered as 50:50 sharemilkers and although they didn’t receive a placing as the top three finalists, they had still learned a lot about their own business. In 1999 they had identified their strengths and worked on their weaknesses to come in second in the Taranaki regional finals. For the van den Beukens it was an indication of just how much they had stepped up their game from the year before.

After taking a year off from the competition the van den Beukens returned to compete in the NZDIA but came in third, which Mrs van den Beuken said was gut wrenching at the time, but saw it as a challenge to strive for first in the regionals the following year.

The van den Beukens saw NZDIA as an excellent opportunity to learn about the nuts and bolts as they made their way towards farm ownership.

Throughout the years they entered NZDIA, the van den Beukens honed their attention to detail which saw their herd size grow from 130 to 500 cows. As the opportunity to milk larger herds in Taranaki diminished the couple moved down to Mid Canterbury for the 2002 season to sharemilk 640 cows on Max and Adrienne Duncan’s farm in Dorie. The van den Beukens had no intention of entering the NZDIA, but Mr Duncan eventually convinced them to give it another go. They entered in the NZDIA Canterbury regional competition in 2005 for one final attempt to win the regional finals and become national finalists.

“We had unfinished business and we thought we would give it our best shot for the last time.”

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Although they were already very familiar with NZDIA, the van den Beukens were stepping into the unknown in a different regional competition, where they didn’t know any of the other competitors.

Lance Isbister Rural Reporter, Ashburton Guardian

“We felt we had the all-round package and knew the competition very well.” It was just as well they entered, as the couple went on to win the coveted national title of NZDIA Sharemilkers of the Year. After they won the van den Beukens both became involved on the NZDIA national management committee with Mrs van den Beuken being the national co-ordinator for the Dairy Trainee of the Year.

Mr van den Beuken Since the van den Beukens won the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards in 2005 they have had an open said one of the highgate policy towards showing other farmers how they lights of his role in NZDIA was judging the manage farms through several field days. Southland and West business by increasing our sharemilkCoast regional competition. ing position.” “It was hugely rewarding to see how The van den Beukens have had they farmed in other regions with such diverse land types, they have done well 11 employees work their way up the industry to farm managers and sharewith the resources they have.” milkers from their farming operations over the years and their Bankside farm The van den Beukens have since has become a great training ground to stood down from the national comget aspiring dairy farmers to the next petition but are still involved in the step. regional competition. “We help them create a career pathIn 2008 the van den Beukens bought way that gives them the confidence to move forward.” a farm in Winchmore where they have a lower order sharemilker who milks The van den Beukens are big advo530 cows. cates of NZDIA in giving aspiring dairy farmers that extra push to realise their They have chosen not to go into an equity partnership, but stay 50:50 sha- capabilities. remilking 1000 cows on the Duncans’ “NZDIA will help people achieve that farm in Brookside to reduce their debt next opportunity, it’s a powerful tool and generate capital to put back into which can raise one’s profile, farmers the farm. like to see people progressing and tak“We have grown our overall farming ing that next step themselves.”

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A focus on reproduction Kim Reid Dairy NZ Consulting Of�icer for Coastal Canterbury

Rick and Diane Bourke’s 710 cow, selfcontained, farm in Longbeach has a real focus on reproduction.

The farm is a family affair with Rick at the helm, Diane helping with the calves and the accounts and his daughter Stef and sonin-law Stu – with whom Sara, his wife, are in share ownership of the cows - rounding out the team. They plan to achieve low empty rates with a 10 week mating. To achieve this goal the overall aim is on making daily management of their system simple.

With their 8% empty rate from 10 weeks of mating, they run a no calving intervention system. Though they don’t get their pregnancies aged, the estimated sixweek in-calf rate from the InCalf Fertility Focus Report is 74%. Originally from Taranaki, the Bourkes converted their Windermere farm in 2007. One of the main criteria when putting together their herd was calving date – all the cows were due to calve within 10 weeks.

Culling decisions each season begin with empties as Rick says: “If a cow’s in milk one season and not the next, it doesn’t matter how good she is, but you can halve that one season’s production for the two years.” He �irmly believes that infertility is genetic and their breeding focus centres largely around culling it out.

The Bourkes believe another key component to their mating success is heat detection. Through the bulk of the

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season, their rotary shed installed with cup removers requires only one person milking. However, at mating time, during morning milkings they have a second person whose sole job it is to observe the cows on-heat and they view it as an important job that requires close observation and skill. Regular touching up of tail paint enables for greater ease in observing the cows on-heat. Cow health is closely monitored and this season all possible cows have been metrichecked and treated accordingly in addition to the cows being blood tested to assess mineral levels. Rick attributes their no deaths through calving to the cows being at optimal health. The herd is tail painted four weeks out prior to calving and any cows not cycling at calving receive a shot of prostaglandin (PG). Of those cows, generally half cycle and those that don’t are treated with an ov-sync programme and mated in the third week of AB. They run a high bull to cow ratio post AB and all bulls and heifers are BVD vaccinated. The heifers receive a PG shot and are run with jersey bulls starting the same date as the cows.

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The Bourkes’ farm is a self contained system with all young stock run on and they are able to closely monitor their replacement stock for health and condition. Traditionally pasture based, the Bourkes installed an in-shed grain feeder at the beginning of last season to allow more �lexibility through the spring and autumn at times of pasture de�icit. Supplement feeding for last season came to 420kgDM per cow.

Drying off is a critical time in the Bourkes’ system – they don’t stagger this but are �irm on their principle of not milking on for a few extra kilos of milksolids to sacri�ice a good cover going into the spring or cow condition going into the winter. A condition score of 5.5 is aimed at for the heifers and 5 for the cows at calving. The stock are generally wintered on Kale and straw. On the challenges that are generally perceived to go along with condensing the mating period, Rick says: “Make the decision, come up with your plan and just do it.”

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5

Fonterra’s milk price unchanged Fonterra recently con�irmed its forecast milk price for the 2010/11 season is remaining at $6.60 per kilogram of milksolids (kgMS).

The forecast Distributable Pro�it range for the 2011 �inancial year is also unchanged at 40-50 cents per share, as is the target dividend range of 25-35 cents per share. This means an average farmer who is 100 per cent shared up to milksolids production is forecast to receive a total of $6.85-$6.95 per kgMS in cash payments for 2010/11, with the balance of distributable pro�it being retained by the co-operative.

Fonterra chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said dairy market prices were holding up better than initially expected, leading the board to contemplate an increase in the forecast milk price. However, the recent strength of the New Zealand dollar against the US dollar meant it was not prudent to increase the forecast at this time. While the forecast was unchanged, the board has increased the Advance Rate schedule (the proportion of the milk price that is paid in advance to farmers during the season via monthly milk cheques).

The advance for the next payment in November is now $4.60 per kgMS, up from $4.30 per kgMS in the previous schedule. The higher advance rate was possible because as the season has progressed Fonterra has been able to �irm up on its contract rate and prices. The lift in the advance rate will assist farmer cash �lows over the coming months, Sir Henry said.

“When we issued the season’s opening forecast of $6.60 in late May, we indicated that then market prices could have suggested a much higher milk price – but that given volatile market conditions at that time we expected to see some softening in prices and we therefore forecast at a lower level.

“While market prices retreated sharply over the next few months before stabilising more recently, they have held up better than initially expected. However, we’ve also seen the New Zealand dollar strengthen signi�icantly against the US dollar, eroding the value of dairy export

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Sir Henry van der Heyden returns for our farmers, Sir Henry said.

“We should remain cautious as there’s still uncertainty and volatility in global markets and we remain vulnerable to adverse movements in dairy prices or exchange rates which could hit the milk price. There is always potential for both downside and upside in the forecast, so I would encourage all farmers to continue to take a conservative approach in their farm budgeting.”

Chief executive Andrew Ferrier said in recent months global dairy prices had levelled out higher than predicted in May, from the in�luence of a variety of supply and demand factors.

At the same time, the appreciating NZD/USD exchange rate is putting pressure on Fonterra’s export returns in New Zealand dollars. Although Fonterra’s hedging policies were continuing to shield farmers from the full brunt of the appreciating Kiwi dollar, the higher currency poses considerable challenges for the co-operative and many other exporters now and in the future, Mr Ferrier commented. “We are now at the spring peak of the New Zealand milk season and this is also a busy time for Fonterra’s global sales team, as we progressively secure contracts with customers for products made from this season’s milk. As each month goes by we can become more con�ident about the outlook for 2010/11,” Mr Ferrier said.

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6

Peak reached but growth continues By David Williams, Milk Supply Manager

Peak day was October 26 this season at Synlait Milk, so we are now the other side of the “hump” for the biggest collection day of the season. We ended up 1% under budget on peak day and we are pretty happy with this.

Earthquakes, a wet spring, and unseasonably low soil temperatures have all combined to make it quite a dif�icult season for many of our milk suppliers. But the outlook for the rest of the season is looking positive with good pasture covers and high quality feed being reported on most farms, and of course strong commodity prices meaning a good payout again this season for milk supplied. If you have driven past our site lately you will have noticed quite a lot of construction activity. We are currently building a new large milk powder drier which will be capable of manufacturing large

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we are looking to source all the milk we need for the next three seasons over the next few months. If you are interested in supplying milk to Synlait next season now is the time to contact us. quantities of nutritional products such as infant formula. It is a very exciting time for all of us here at Synlait Milk and in particular the milk supply team as we prepare for an increased milk intake next season. As part of this process we are actively sourcing more milk from local farmers. In the last two seasons our suppliers have been �inancially better off and we are �inding that there is a lot of interest. However, space is limited as nutritional products use a lot less milk than regular commodity driers. On this basis

We are also excited about a recent staff appointment we have made. Mark Burnside has recently joined the milk supply team. Mark has successfully worked with farmers all of his working career and brings a wealth of knowledge to our team. Bringing Mark into the team will ensure that our milk suppliers continue to get the high levels of service they are used to as our milk supply base continues to grow. Lastly, we have been attending many of the A&P shows lately to show our support for the local community. Look out for the Synlait signs and please feel free to come and see us at these shows.

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PLUCKS ENGINEERING RAKAIA

At the cutting edge The Latest in Effluent Travelling Irrigators has just been released by Plucks Engineering Rakaia (the company that invented the Enviro Saucer). Plucks Engineering have been in the effluent irrigation business for nearly 20 years and have spent the last 18 months to 2 years developing an effluent irrigator that has the most even and accurate wetted width rain cover of any irrigator in New Zealand and have the independent field tests to prove it. (testing done by Irricon Resource Solutions Ltd).

As farming has become more intensive, more cows per hectare, and therefore more cows to move and feed, the end result is an increase in waste, which for a while was treated as a liability. As farmers are rediscovering, the benefits to effectively spreading this waste save significant cost in fertilization, but making this process easier, less time consuming, and ensuring that the spreading leaves no visible footprint, is the key to making the effluent an asset. Plucks have achieved an effluent irrigator that has a flat rain curve right across the wetted width of 30 metres and will put on no more than 5mm if you want. What this does for the dairy farmer is, it doesn’t leave dark strips up and down the paddock, because it doesn’t have the standard travelling irrigator design fault of, putting most of the water on at the outside edges of the wetted width and very little in the middle area of every run. Also it will not create a doughnut like mark because of the evenness of the rain coming from the new boom design. Not to mention there is no ponding left behind after each run because the rain rate is too light and even. Most times it is very hard to see where the irrigator has been after each run. Plucks are famous for being at the cutting edge of effluent movement, and they have now developed an all inclusive system, which is the evolution of more than 10 years of continuous research, testing and development. Plucks have consolidated 5 key products, each ingenious in their own right, to create an all inclusive system that will require very little human input. They have patented a new boom design, with the full patent recently being granted. Plucks can’t quite show you the system in its entirety until the patent is 100% completed, but they are excited to be able to share it with you in December – so watch this space! What they can share with you at the moment, are some of the key parts of this system. Any of these items can be installed to work with any current system. Effluent Pond Stirrer Through continuous research, development and testing, Plucks have now developed the market leading design in effluent pond stirrers. This design gently and continuously stirs the effluent, making sure that a crust doesn’t form on the top of the pond, and there isn’t a thick layer of sludge settling at the bottom. Adequate stirring or mixing, to keep the pond’s content in suspension, is an important element. With mixing, incoming pollutants and waste water are better distributed throughout the entire pond volume. This

from this...

results in more uniform and efficient treatment. In addition, solids that settle are suspended by the mixing action and brought back into contact with the microbial population floating throughout the pond. Plucks have worked with an Auckland company who are specialists in mixing large volumes of liquid, and have learnt how to keep the effluent pond continuously moving, but at a very low horsepower. It would have been easy to create a powerful machine to do the job, but this would create a massive power bill. Making it as cost effective as possible for the farmer, was top priority in this design. Once the stirrer is first installed, it takes 3 months or slightly longer to fully blend the pond contents, but once this is achieved, there is a constant, rich effluent potion ready to be applied to paddocks, with no black sludge leaving black lines over the ground. Rotary Screen This is the completed version of 3 years testing and development. The screen will extract fibre and leftover feed from the effluent wash that comes out of the dairy shed. It is strong enough to cope with any manner of items that come out of dairy sheds – syringes, hoofs, rubber gloves, tail etc. Again it has been developed with the farmer in mind, running off a tiny 0.40kW of power, and it is maintenance free and self cleaning. Every 2 hours it washes itself for 3 minutes with fresh water. It is close to impossible to block, even with heavy trash moving through effluent. New model Effluent Irrigator LP35E Plucks are very proud of what they have achieved which took a lot of determination, perseverance, time, discussions, arguments (small ones of course), rebuilds, prototypes in the scrap bin and money to do, hence the cover of the NZ Patent 578084. They also have being making changes to their drive cam shape to speed up the irrigator even more, if farmers require even lighter rain rate. All the new mods can be fitted to any one of their LP 25 and 30 irrigators whether old or near new, just call your supplier and they will get this under way. They can also make the new changes to all similar makes of travelling irrigator if you would like, but again even this is covered by their patent so they must be involved or the person making the changes will be breaking the law. Please call 0800 PLUCKS for more info or to find a distributor in your area.

to this...

Above: Plucks Rotary Screen is one of the toughest on the market, capturing all manner of rubbish from hooves to tails, to ensure your irrigator pump won’t get clogged. Left: Plucks have now developed the market leading design in effluent pond stirrers. This design gently and continuously stirs the effluent, and uses a very small amount of power to run. Below: Neil Pluck with the latest in effluent travelling irrigators, showcasing the new boom design, which allows the irrigator to have the most even and accurate wetted width rain cover of any irrigator in New Zealand.

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8

Reducing inductions Ian Hodge, BVSc. MACVSc. Riverside Veterinary Services Ltd

Now is a good time to be thinking about reducing the number of cows you have to induce next spring. The dairy industry is actively looking at strategies to reduce inductions because the process is no longer considered to be in the best interests of dairy cattle health and welfare. Cows needing to be induced are usually those mated after Christmas. These animals can be expected to calve in October and November depending on when the bulls were removed from the herd.

In many herds natural calving continues for about 10 weeks. In these situations the latest calving cows have a reasonable voluntary waiting period before they have to return to oestrus. Also in these herds the three-week submission rates and �irst service conception rates are generally above average as long as other aspects of herd health and nutrition are well controlled.

Cows calving after this 10-week period need to be induced, and they have reduced reproductive performance and are increased risk of not becoming pregnant. Phantom cows are those that are mated, fail to return to oestrus at 1824 days yet remain empty. They may return to oestrus during January or even February to be late bull mated and consequently will need to be induced to calve early in the calving period.

Phantom cows are only detected by rectal ultrasound scanning combined with manual palpation at 35-42 days after the end of the week in which mating occurred. The prevalence of phantom cows in Mid Canterbury is about 12%. The risks of a cow becoming phantom include age,

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retained placenta, high and low milk protein percentage, ovarian disease (persistent dioestrus) and previous reproductive intervention.

Phantom cows are only detected by rectal ultrasound scanning combined with manual palpation at 35-42 days after the end of the week in which mating occurred. Those cows that are not pregnant at this stage are CIDR treated and will have a reasonable chance of pregnancy within 10 days of being detected. If the cows are not detected or treated they may well return to oestrus three weeks later which, at a minimum, will cost the farm two weeks lost days in milk for every phantom cow.

Undetected phantoms often remain empty despite returning to the bull and contribute to the empty percentage of the herd. These cows eventually have to be replaced at considerable cost.

Both trial work and extensive scanning in this practice has consistently shown

a high return on investment by early pregnancy scanning in weekly batches to detect phantoms. The method used is to simply colour code or electronically identify cows mated in each week of mating, draft them 35 days after the end of that week and scan those cows only. You can choose to do as many as four weeks of scanning. If you do four weeks’ worth you will create pregnancies in weeks 7, 8, 9 and 10 of mating.

You should consider phantom cow scanning if you have induced more than 10% of the herd, have CIDR treated more than 20% of the herd and have had a high incidence of retained placenta. Old cows are also more prone to becoming phantom.

Phantom cow scanning therefore reduces the number of January/February mated cows, and reduces the number of cows remaining empty, sometimes by as much as 6%.

For more information on this approach to pro- active reproductive management please call your vet.

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Body appointed chair of DELG DairyNZ director Alister Body has recently been appointed chair of the Dairy Environment Leadership Group (DELG) tasked with addressing environmental sustainability within the industry.

Lance Isbister Rural Reporter, Ashburton Guardian

Mr Body, who farms 480 Jersey cows near Methven, will take over the role from Sylait Milk CEO John Penno who steps down after four years, but will still remain a member of the group.

The leadership role will see Mr Body work to coordinate dairy industry stakeholders, such as MAF, Federated Farmers, ECan and regional councils in striving for the same goal of environmental sustainability. “We are there to represent the dairy industry and be advocates for it and the environment, what we all want is to be sustainable and grow our export earnings.”

One of Mr Body’s tasks will be to lead DELG in fostering a meaningful dialogue between the dairy industry and environmental groups, regarding sustainability. DairyNZ chair John Luxton welcomed Mr Body to the role. “Alister has a long history of leadership on dairy industry sustainability issues and will make an excellent chair for DELG.

“He understands the context as to how and why the dairy industry is addressing its environmental footprint and as a farmer he understands the best way for this to happen on-farm.”

Mr Body said one of the great challenges DELG faces is the continued growth of the dairy industry while working to protect the environment.

He said the role of DELG has changed from its incep-

Alister Body has recently been appointed chair of the Dairy Environment Leadership Group tasked with addressing environmental sustainability within the industry. tion when it co-ordinated research and development to environment. address environmental issues within the dairy industry. DELG is comprised of DairyNZ, the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Federated Farmers, FonWith that work up and running DELG has changed terra Shareholders Council, Beef and Lamb NZ, Federato a communication role to encourage understandtion of Maori Authorities, MAF, Science and Technology, ing of the issues relating to the dairy industry and the ECan and regional councils.


10

fertigation

Graeme Pile

Agri Specialist Ellesmere Road, Lincoln, Canterbury Phone 0276 246 750 www.fertigation.co.nz ashburton guardian advertising feature

Fertigation: The Hot New Market Category in Agriculture Today For farmers & growers, “If you’re going to irrigate, fertigate,” is the wisdom of the day, and for good reason. Fertigation, or applying fertiliser through irrigation, accomplishes these agricultural tasks better, faster, and cheaper than traditional methods. The concept of using existing irrigation systems to simultaneously apply both water and fertiliser has come a long way from its origins in the small agricultural

community of Yuma, Colorado, where in the late 60’s and early 70’s, Gary Newton started experimenting with fertigation systems at the urging of a friend. Little did he know that he was on to something that one day would lead to a new market category and the coining of a word that is now commonly used in agriculture. Because the agricultural technique injects targeted fertiliser through existing sprinkler systems via calibrated pumps for precise timing and application control, it’s the highest performance, most economical application method today. Through this fertiliser application method,

major nutrients such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus; minor nutrients such as sulphur, boron, and magnesium; and micronutrients such as manganese, zinc, and copper can be economically applied to a variety of crops and orchards. Though precisely controlled and timed injection rates, farmers can “spoon feed” crops with the right dose at the right time, while avoiding overlapping application and missed rows, excessive runoff, and the high cost of professional mechanical applicators. “With just the right amount of water, the agricultural technique can thoroughly incorporate fertiliser to the desired root depth,” adds Graeme Pile. “It reduces compaction and crop damage. It replaces costly, imprecise mechanical fertiliser and chemical

spreading methods – which are more unattractive given today’s fuel prices.” Fertigation also minimize operator, public, and environmental exposure to fertilisers since these are typically mixed once per field and applied in highly diluted form. “Growers can’t afford poor engineering anymore,” explains Graeme. “They need stateoftheart diaphragm pumps with precision micrometer adjustment. They just won’t get that with imprecise piston pumps or crude slipstick adjustments.” A new irrigation fertigation system from fertigation.co.nz, for instance, can provide a precise closed diaphragm pump with +1% accuracy. The improved accuracy prevents over or under application of fertiliser and provides significant cost savings per hectare.

Revolutionising liquid fertiliser Ravensdown is revolutionising liquid fertiliser and is saving farmers money in the process. Ravensdown has developed liquid fertiliser products that are applied through irrigators. “The added bonus is that our products are transported dry and mixed with water on-farm, eliminating the need for farmers to pay to transport significant quantities of water,” says Ravensdown Sales Manager John Hodgkin.

“Most liquid products are transported ready to use on-farm, but with around 80% of the mix being water farmers are paying to transport a lot of water. “Ravensdown’s Fertigation system is a cost effective and accurate way to apply nutrients and the nitrification inhibitor eco-n. Products are delivered solid and mixed on farm, avoiding costs associated with transporting water. The system has been

designed for future expansion into other products,” he says. Ravensdown and leading New Zealand irrigation company WaterForce researched and perfected the system for six years before its launch. “The system has positives environmentally, it’s efficient and cost effective,” says John. “You can apply your nutrients at the push of a button. You can apply smaller amounts

more often, and you can target applications to meet your crops’ requirements. The spread will be as even as your irrigator will allow and you can get the most out of your water by ensuring soil nutrient levels support grass growth – increasing your rate of investment from your irrigation.”

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11

FERTIGATION Irrigation = Water Fertigation = Water + Fertilisers Fertigation using true Liquid Fertilisers uses a more refined Liquid Fertiliser technology to produce concentrates of N.P.K and trace elements in a plant available form, which when applied using the accuracy of your Pivot irrigator or Broadacre Spray Boom are capable of more accuracy than most solid fertiliser spreader technology found in New Zealand. Applying fertiliser through pivots is a very efficient way of delivering nutrients to soil and pasture. You can easily adapt the amount and concentration of the applied nutrients to meet the actual nutritional requirement of the crop or pasture throughout the growing season. This saves money! The cost per kilo of Dry Matter on pastures grown is dramatically reduced.. It also lessens the potential of ground water pollution caused by the fertiliser leaching in the soil and reduces losses of soil carbon and the negative affect on calcium / pH.

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BioMax Yield Plus 5 - 4 - 11

AN NPK blend containing high levels of potassium and a full spectrum of chelated Trace Elements in a strong seaweed base. Ideal for brassica / lucerne crops and is particularly effective when added to BioMax N. Combined and applied to promote growth crop yield and quality at application.

BioMax Pasture Mix 10 - 7 - 5

An NPK balanced formulation containing high levels of chelated Trace Elements in a strong seaweed base. Used as an annual fertiliser dressing for pasture farmers to increase DM production and pasture quality and is compatible with most pasture spray chemicals.

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Strong liquid Boron for use on crops and pastures. Can be used to reduce deficiencies in crops by applying it at the ideal time when the crop requires the element.

Other products available are Humates, Sulphurs, High P and Blends.

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12

Alkagrain an efficient feed plan Livestock and arable farmers throughout Mid Canterbury will have a new option for processing and storing grain next season by way of a specialist mobile roller and bagging machine purchased by Winslow Contracting. The machine will enable up to 120 tonnes of rolled grain to be stored in a single bag on-farm or at blending sites. The process eliminates drying costs and the need for grain silos and no further processing is required before feeding. Winslow’s James Carr investigated the system during a visit to the UK earlier this year and was convinced it offered tangible bene�its for the New Zealand farmer.

“I was very impressed by the abilities of the K2000 crusher bagger and bene�its the processed grain offered farmers and livestock. Here in Canterbury wet harvests are not that common but we have many farmers looking for ways to take their production and fertility to the next level and we can grow some excellent grain crops,” Mr Carr said.

Having been battered by BSE and Foot & Mouth, UK farmers value traceability – they like to grow grain for their own stock or at least know where it comes from. They like to take grain straight off the combine and work out their feed budgets knowing what they have and how much it cost rather

Dr Rob Derrick Winslow Nutritionist

than being in�luenced by market price variations outside their control. “The crusher bagger system can be used to store rolled grain but for those farmers I met who are focused on rumen health, feed ef�iciency and production the idea of alkaline grain - Alkagrain - really struck a chord. The new crusher bagger will offer the �lexibility to produce whichever option the customer requests,” Mr Carr said.

Alkagrain is moist grain (typically 17-20% moisture) preserved using the same technique as Alkalage – through the addition of Home n’ Dry pellets. Even at this relatively high dry matter content the grain is noticeably softer than combine harvested grain (1314% moisture content) and produces less �ines when processed making it more appealing to cows and less troublesome for staff. The Home n’ Dry Pellets release ammonia into the grain. Ammonia eliminates moulds and other spoilage organisms which reduces waste and makes Alkagrain stable when removed from the bag provided it is kept dry. Whilst moist crimped grain is best used fresh from the bag and fed mixed with forage through a simple forage wagon or mixer wagon, the stability of Alkagrain lends itself to incorporation in dry blends. The ammonia also raises the pH of the grain to an alkaline level (pH

Alkagrain crop viewed by James Carr and Mark Shera of Winslow Contracting when visiting Liverpool University Vet School in June this year. typically 8 to 9) which makes Alkagrain blends safer than conventional rolled grain blends when fed in trailers or troughs. Palm kernel can be mixed with relatively low energy by-products like CMS from the fermentation industry but incorporating starch rich grain is more likely to improve animal production and condition. Alkagrain can be fed in dairy sheds through conventional augers.

Adding Home ‘n’ Dry Pellets (146% crude protein in the DM) increases the crude protein content of the grain which can be important when creating nutritionally balanced diets. The protein requirements of dairy cows and �inishing stock is becoming more important in Canterbury because lower protein supplements like maize silage (which may only contain 8% crude protein), whole crop (often a little over 10% crude protein) and cereal grains are being fed in increasing quantities.

Alkagrain typical analysis (will vary depending on the actual grain quality)

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13

Overseas ownership There has been much publicity recently about overseas owners of New Zealand farms. There are of course – as always, two different points of view. I really haven’t got too much of a problem for domiciled overseas people who wish to purchase New Zealand farms. The most important point to me is that the purchasers are seen to be �inancially responsible and have no “�inancial baggage”.

I am more than happy for people like Shania Twain to purchase her station at Wanaka. She is not adversely affecting anyone – in fact, her investment is helping the local community.

Where I do have a problem are the people like May Wang who most certainly have got some �inancial issues that need to be addressed before any more purchases are made – she and her associated companies have already purchased farms in the Central North Island. As I have said before in this column, businesses in Ashburton have already been affected through the Dynasty group with a failed business enterprise in Methven. The �irst thing May Wang should do is pay off her debts – whether or not it was with a different company, May Wang was still involved. The Dynasty Group went into liquidation owing $22 million.

Dynasty creditors are now being offered 6.5c in the dollar to prevent bankruptcy – which amounts to $1.43 million! May Wang has said she has no money and has lost “everything” in the Dynasty failure. She is now living in Hong Kong and is trying to raise funds for one of her other companies – Natural Dairy Ltd. (Natural Dairy Ltd has apparently raised more than $160 million).

The funds she is trying to raise is something in the order of $213.20 million for the purchase of around 9000 hectares of Crafar Farms which have been put into receivership – these �igures exclude stock and valuation. All up approximately $500 million is required to complete the purchase! All of this dealing now revolves around the Overseas Investment Of�ice to approve – or disprove, her application to purchase the Crafar farms. Until 2009 May Wang had little or no interest in farming or in dairy farming. This idea of getting involved in the New Zealand dairy industry was at a lunch with several other wealthy Chinese people who had contacts in high places with the Chinese government in Hong Kong.

At that time parents in China were desperate for a safe milk supply for their families after the widespread melamine contamination scandal, which of course also affected Fonterra. At this meeting May Wang and these people happened to discuss the Crafar farms being placed into receivership at that time. These extremely wealthy Chinese individuals suggested backing May Wang’s idea for dairy farming and processing safe milk in New Zealand for export to China. These people then verbally pledged millions of dollars each on the proviso that they would remain anonymous.

The deal was verbally completed within minutes over lunch. The scary part of all of this was that this was only one of many various deals that were discussed at that time - all this in Auckland over lunch. I think of the programme Underbelly that featured recently on television here, it has got many similarities!

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The first thing May Wang should do is pay off her debts. Having a lunch in Auckland is not really any different than a few mates meeting at a pub for a few drinks and generally discussing the matters of the world and actually putting the world right. The more beers that are consumed the world becomes a better place. This, however, is a totally different ball game. Allow overseas people to buy farms here in New Zealand – if that is what they wish, but complete a thorough credit check, like any other business deal would require. We do not want any �inancial baggage of so-called business tycoons! May Wang – pay off your debts.

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14

Nutrition the key to mating Summit Quinphos’ animal nutrition manager Jackie Aveling said farmers could be setting their young stock up to fail the mating season by overlooking the early in�luence of nutrition on reproductive performance. “Heifers are mated at 15 to 16 months when they are a little over half of their mature live weight, so they need to grow themselves whilst growing the foetus.

“In the following season, a few months after calving that same heifer needs to conceive again whilst producing milk.

“These all represent a huge draw on nutrients. The question is: Are the majority of young stock having their nutrient requirements met?” Depending on breed, she says a calf needs to grow between 600g and 800g a day from birth to maturity.

“Failure to do so can affect the age at which they reach puberty. Reproduction will increase an animal’s nutrients requirement and conversely the reproductive process can be in�luenced by nutrient supply.

“These nutrient requirements consist of protein and energy as well as micro and macronutrients. While many farmers endeavour to supply adequate feed, they may neglect to provide all the macro and micronutrients by assuming they are adequately supplied by the pasture. Mrs Aveling has been involved in local trial work using the Crystalyx dehydrated molasses block range in which testing shows many heifers are at risk.

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“In one of several Crystalyx trials we have embarked on, a large representative group were blood tested for selenium (SE), copper (Cu) and vitamin B12 levels,” she said. “The results showed that 80% of those sampled were severely de�icient in one or more of these essential elements. The animals were a good representative sample of replacement yearlings for a New Zealand dairy herd.” She says the Crystalyx range provides a source of highly fermentable sugars essential for rumen micro �lora. It also provides speci�ic macro and micronutrients vital for cow health. “Replacement heifers typically make up 20-25% of the dairy herd so the performance of these heifers in the �irst two milking seasons can have considerable implications on overall farm pro�itability. “We want them to calve at the start of the calving season in both of these lactations to maximise days in milk and lead a long healthy productive life in the herd.”

The Crystalyx products are Forage Plus (for young stock), Extra High Energy, and Dry Cow (for the dairy and beef calvers). There are also two organic products for cattle and sheep that are BioGro certi�ied as a restricted item.

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15

Summit an opportunity to learn Lachlan McKenzie Chairman Federated Farmers dairy section

Federated Farmers has brushed off the small number of protestors opposing the International Dairy Federation (IDF) World Dairy Summit 2010, in Auckland last week. Every protestor I saw was outnumbered heavily by delegates.

“Since the IDF World Dairy Summit is about food production, these protestors are now anti-food. I honestly think very few know why they’re there, aside from opposing anything carrying the ‘I’, or ‘international’ word in it.

“If these protestors oppose a conference that will help lift global dairy production, then what next opposing the Rugby World Cup due to its link with long-haul air travel carbon emissions? “You really feel like saying to this rent-a-mob, ‘get a real job,’ like farming. “Federated Farmers and delegates are at the IDF World Dairy Summit to learn about smarter and more sustainable dairy farming.

“Given the global population will expand by a third over the next four decades, if we don’t want wars triggered by hunger, then we need to produce a lot more food, including milk. “The New Zealand farming system is about optimal resource use and by

Auckland’s Sky City convention centre played host to some of the world’s largest dairy operators during the 2010 World Dairy Summit. From left: Niels Graugaard, Andrew Ferrier, Jerry Kozak, Ken MacKenzie, Cees’t Hart, Alex Chu, Jacqueline Pieters and Rod Oram. focusing on that, the environmental footprint goes down. Compared to where we were when I was a lad, we’re streets ahead environmentally.

“New Zealand also has a great story to tell our overseas colleagues. Unsubsidised, dairy production growth per cow has averaged some 26 percent since 1990. We’re chasing the right stocking rate for our farms instead of chasing subsidies.

“While New Zealand is a small food producer in global terms, we happen to be a major food exporter. We’re actually number two for dairy. But to meet future population growth we all need to become better. “It’s why the World Dairy Summit gives us an opportunity to learn about ef�icient farming practices making more food from fewer inputs, generating fewer emissions.

“As for sustainability, Kiwis know that the United Nations called it right a fortnight ago by naming New Zealand the third best country to live in. Not only that, but Columbia and Yale Universities ranked New Zealand second in the world for overall water quality.

“So instead of protesting outside, perhaps they ought to take up farming and do something positive instead.”

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16

Snap chilling the way to go Murray Hollings DairyCool Ltd

Glycol systems are now available to instantly cool milk to storage temperature before entering the milk silo.

It is then pumped through a second stage of the plate cooler lowering the milk temperature to 5 degrees (from the usual 15 to 18 degrees it exits the plate cooler at).

The advantages of glycol snap chillers include: Superb milk quality virtually eliminates the possibility of expensive milk quality downgrades 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 silos 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.

Heat recovered from the glycol (originally from the milk) is used to heat hot water stored in the hot water cylinders for washing the milk silos and milking plant, saving electricity.

Milk cooled in this manner has negligible bug growth and the quality is superb and remains under 6 or 7 degrees and ready for collection any time of the day or night.

These technologies have been well proven both here and overseas.

Glycol is also pumped through the milk silos to maintain the milk temperature and satisfy food quality standards.

The costs involved in setting up a glycol system depend on a number of factors including: • Number of bales in shed Dairy company policies now dictate using snap chilling for larger and dual milk silo farms and it is in farmers’ interests to install the correct cooling equipment to ensure they are future proofed into the future. Robust industrial design ensures superior reliability to conventional refrigeration systems. Some 25 ‘new technology’ glycol

chillers are now running in the North Island, several running locally and hundreds in Australia ensuring the ‘bugs’ have been ironed out. Indeed most dairy farms in Australia have glycol cooling of some kind snap-chilling their milk. Glycol is circulated from a storage tank through the chiller unit and the glycol cooled to low temperature.

• Number of cows milked • Rotations per hour

• Average daily production per cow • Effectiveness of the plate cooler

• Distances from the chiller to the electrical switchboard, plate cooler, number of and distance to milk silos.

Generally the installed cost would be from $55,000 to $70,000, although an energy storage system will set you back up to $95,000.


17

Preventative hoof trimming Fred Hoekstra Veehof Dairy Services

What is preventative hoof trimming? I have been at farms where they had done some preventative hoof trimming in the previous year themselves. When I started trimming I had to explain what I was doing and it turned out to be quite different than the way they did it. This made me think and wonder how many people out there understand preventative hoof trimming. Preventative hoof trimming is not cutting out white line cracks and any other issues that you may �ind in a claw. If anything you probably make things worse for the cow if that is all you do.

If all our lameness issues are caused by physical damage then it would make sense to cut out any deformities but the problem starts on the inside of the claw, in the live tissue. If the live tissue (corium) is unhealthy, then preventative hoof trimming will not heal it. But with preventative hoof trimming we can reduce the stresses on that corium enabling it to heal quicker. The trick is that both claws on the one foot need to be carrying the same amount of weight. If one claw is bigger (which is usually the outer one) it will carry more weight. This, in itself, is not necessarily a problem. Most cows have the outer claw bigger than the inner one but not all cows go lame.

Most cows have laminitis as well but not all cows are lame because of that either, depending on how severe the laminitis is. A cow that has laminitis has all claws affected. If the outer claw is bigger and therefore carrying a greater proportion of the weight the corium is under more stress in that claw compared to the inner claw. That is why most cows are lame on the outer claw. So the �irst step that any preventative hoof trimming should entail is paring away the sole on the outer claw. This will reduce the weight and the stress on the live tissue in that

Hoof trimming is not a job for amateurs. claw. If we trim a cow that has a white line issue and we open that up exposing the corium without taking the sole down then there is a good chance that the corium will prolapse because that claw is still carrying too much weight. This obviously creates more problems for the cow than bene�itting her.

I know it sounds simple and straight forward but it takes skill to achieve that. Both claws need to be level and �lat but on the other hand they are not allowed to get too thin either. That is why it takes 14 months to get a hoof trimming quali�ication.

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18

Submission rates force rethink An unusual pattern in dairy cow submission rates (one indicator of fertility) has led to a recommendation that farmers consider extending the traditional dairy mating period. The pattern is evident in research conducted by New Zealand’s largest team of Arti�icial Breeding Technicians (�ielded by dairy farmer co-operative Livestock Improvement) which shows that fewer cows are presenting for mating (submission rate) and there appears to be an increase in the number of cows with anoestrus (failing to cycle after calving).

LIC Genetics Consultant Jack Hooper, said the data from LIC AB technicians is indicating lower submission rates than previous years and farmers need to understand the consequence of this if it is happening on their farm.

“Submission rates are important as this, combined with the conception rate of the service, determines how many cows you actually have in calf. It is very hard to get high in calf rates if either your submission or conception rates are low.â€? Mr Hooper said farmers should look at submission rates across the whole herd and be aware of submission rates across sub groups such as two year olds, as this would help to identity any farm speciďż˝ic issues.

situation speci�ic advice.

He said there are two issues that farmers will need to consider. “The likelihood of having less high genetic merit heifer calves for next season and the additional work load on the bulls, as there will be more open cows for these bulls to serve than had originally been anticipated.

“The trend highlighted in the analysis will be evident, on many farms this year, with more cows mated in the second three weeks (or later) of the mating programme, in comparison with a normal year. “However, on some farms and in some districts due to the weather conditions we are seeing quite erratic submission rate patterns with higher than expected numbers of cows to be mated in the second three weeks.

“It’s a worrying trend because farmers need to get the herd back in calf within a concentrated period of time and, on an individual farm basis, may not be aware that the problems they’re having are showing up around the country.â€? Mr Hooper said farmers need to take steps now to understand the level of any anoestrus on the farm (with the help of their vet) and either extend their AB mating, or bull power, to safeguard next year’s production and proďż˝itability.

“As a rule any submission rates of 90% after three weeks are the target.�

He said there were many sources of knowledge available to farmers to help them address speci�ic on farm issues and said early decision making is critical at this time of year and farmers should contact their trusted on-farm advisor or veterinarian for further

“In many cases, farmers using tail-end bulls may need to get additional bull-power and at this time of the mating season, that’s not easily achievable; for many the simple answer may be to lengthen the time the herd is put to AB.�

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19

Steps to lessen drought impact The risk of summer drought well may be an unavoidable fact of life for some farmers, but there are steps they can take now to improve their chances of getting through to the autumn rains. Ballance Agri-Nutrients head of research Warwick Catto said there are things farmers can do in the spring to make their pastures more resilient through the drier months.

“A timely boost before year-end can set pastures up in the best of condition for what might lie ahead. “NIWA, the water and atmospheric research institute, says the La Nina weather pattern, which brings warmer weather, is the strongest in several decades and will probably continue until autumn.”

time before Christmas, you should make the most of that moisture by considering applying nitrogen at about 40-50kg per hectare to promote good covers and to give your ryegrass the best chance to persist.

He said farmers should make as much use as possible of water in the soil while it’s there, making sure any applications of phosphate and sulphur are in soluble forms that will break down.

“Phosphate is immobile in the soil, so moisture stress accentuates Mr Catto said NIWA is predicting a any de�iciencies. Phoshotter summer across New Zealand, phate helps to give plants a better root with at best normal rainfall in many system, making them more resilient to areas. dry periods and better able to handle stress. Potassium has a role as well, “It singles out the east of both main especially in crop nutrition.” islands and the south-west of the South Mr Catto said it’s best to get forIsland as areas that could get even less age crops in early, using the available rain than normal this summer. moisture to get them established, and most importantly to incorporate any “NIWA also says that soil moisture fertiliser into the ground rather than levels and stream �lows are likely to be broadcasting it on top. only near normal or below normal in most regions, other than in the south“This particularly applies to phoswest of the North Island and north of phate, but to all nutrients to some the South Island, where they are likely extent – even lime. Don’t leave it on the to be near normal.” surface.” Mr Catto said when you get rain any

He said farmers should work with

their fertiliser company’s technical sales representative to review their fertiliser programme if they think there is a real chance that they are heading into a drought situation.

“With greater pressure on budgets, farmers need to work out what they must put on, and what they can cut back on or do without,’ Mr Catto said.

emphasis on protecting your newer pastures and areas of high productivity.

Higher soil fertility always helps in water-stressed situations.”

He said it could be okay to cut back on phosphate, for example, but in most cases farmers should meet their soil’s needs for sulphur, potassium and ni“Focus on the fertiliser products that trogen. Sulphur has to be applied each will give you the greatest �inancial reyear to reset the soil clock after winter turn. Work out where to apply it, with leaching.

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20

Bulls - handle with care Incident In January 2006, a farm worker was killed when loading Charolais bulls into a cattle crate. A bull resisted being loaded, and either kicked or pushed a cattle crate partition gate violently into the worker, causing fatal head injuries.

Circumstances

The young employee had been employed at a South Island station for two months, when he was assisting with relocating seven bulls by a tractor drawn cattle crate to paddocks at the other side of the station. The employee had some experience handling cattle, but not necessarily with loading bulls into cattle crates, and was being assisted by a volunteer who had worked at the station for many years, including experience with bulls. The stock crate was a three deck, multi stock type that is permanently con�igured to transport cattle. The stock crate is divided into four equal sized compartments by three 1400mm long swinging gates that are mounted o 800mm long partitions. These gates provide a safe area for persons in the crate when swung to the side of the crate. The two lower unused decks of the crate are stowed lengthways on the top deck, which leaves half of the crate with an open top and half with an area covered by the stowed decks. The gates require a reasonable force to locate in their locked position. Earlier in the day the seven bulls were moved in a group without incident to the station’s cattle pens. The employer discussed the loading of the bulls with the employee and the volunteer. The volunteer moved the �irst bull from the cattle pen and onto a loading ramp, where the employee took over and guided the bull up the loading ramp and into the cattle crate. He directed the bull into one of four pens in the crate without any mishap and secured the partition gate. The employee exited the cattle crate, by which time the volunteer had the second bull ready at the loading ramp. The employee - who had a cattle prod - guided the second bull up the loading ramp and into the stock crate.

While the volunteer was readying the third bull in the cattle pen, he heard noises coming from the crate. He called out to the employee but received no reply. He approached the crate and saw the second bull walking calmly back down the ramp. He found the employee

inside the crate on the �loor, unconscious, with serious head injuries. He died at the scene.

Investigation

The Department of Labour’s investigation for the coroner found that the employee was quite tall, and he would have needed to stoop when inside the crate pens. This would have put his head outside the designated “safe area� and in close proximity to the bull. It is assumed that the bull suddenly stopped before it got safely into its designated pen, and became agitated. The employee may have used the prod while standing behind the bull and on the other side of the pen’s gate. It is believed that the bull then violently kicked his rear legs at the gate, which slammed into the employee, throwing him with considerable force against the crate’s wall.

Charolais bulls are generally known to be gentle, but do not like restricted spaces. Cattle yards and transporting cattle can be full of danger for the unwary. Bulls are also territorial, and the presence of another bull inside a restricted space may * handlers should not stand in the bull’s �light zone have caused the second bull distress particularly if the * electric cattle prods are not safe to use on bulls, particularly in restricted areas, because an animal’s �irst bull was the more dominant of the two. reactions can be sudden and unexpected. They also impede a person’s ability to act quickly If the employee was standing directly behind the * inexperienced cattle handlers should leave the bull, out of its �ield of vision, and had used the prod restricted area if they encounter dif�iculty and seek when it suddenly stopped, it is likely that the bull inhelp stinctively reacted by kicking back with its hind legs. * handlers should be trained in the safe handling of large animals Department of Labour Advice * cattle crate design should factor in human safety as It is the department’s advice that: well as animal welfare requirements. * whenever possible bulls should be handled in the * screens should be installed between multiple cattle order of least dominance particularly in con�ined crate pens so that the animals cannot see each spaces such as cattle pens and stock crates. other Further information on cattle handling safety is * handlers should not stand directly behind a bull as available from ACC at http://www.acc.co.nz/publicathe bull cannot see them tions/index.htm.

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