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Dairy Focus JUNE 2016


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Farming Dairy Focus




This month win Man of Iron by Jock Vennell. Just email susan.s@theguardian. co.nz with ‘Dairy Focus book giveaway’ in the subject line, and your name and address in the body of the email, or send an envelope to Dairy Focus book giveaway, Ashburton Guardian, PO Box 77, Ashburton 7700, with your name and address on the back.

Last month’s lucky winner of The Snow Farmer by John Lee was George Lumsden.

CONTACTS We appreciate your feedback. Editorial Email your comments to susan.s@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7961.

Advertising Email trudy.b@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7955. Post Ashburton Guardian, PO Box 77, Ashburton.

Dairying faces a challenge in coming years, that of enticing school-leavers to be its career builders and hard workers of the future. By 2025, New Zealand’s primary industries will need 50,000 more workers. That’s a huge number and something political parties will need to turn their minds to. Federated Farmers president William Rolleston is calling for agriculture to come back on to the school curriculum. It should be included in science lessons and students could also learn by growing plants in school grounds, he says. Mr Rolleston bemoans a lack of public understanding of food supply chains and says society needs to “challenge common beliefs and explain that food doesn’t just come from the supermarket; there’s a lot of work needed to produce it”. Additionally he is concerned about “doom and gloom” media coverage associated with the slump in dairy prices. “This has the potential to turn away many of our brightest young people who may have been thinking about entering the industry just when we need them to jump in.” Mr Rolleston’s fears are well justified and there will have to be some pretty strong initiatives introduced to make sure agriculture



S / WE Y A D 5

Susan Sandys

in New Zealand reaches its full potential. At the Fieldays, Prime Minister John Key and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy launched the Primary Industries Champions initiative. The online campaign features primary industry “champions”, such as farmers, growers, fishers, foresters, scientists and economists, and includes Kiwi icons such as Richie McCaw, Rob and Sonia Waddell, and Sir David Fagan. It’s a campaign that the Government has high hopes for, with Mr Guy saying that the well-known New Zealanders “will help raise awareness of the primary sector and encourage young people to consider a career in this broad field”. This campaign will hopefully help with the image issue Mr Rolleston refers to and then be followed by other broader initiatives in future.

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Farmers cautious over LIC changes Livestock Improvement Corporation’s proposal for a separate agritechnology company with potential for outside investors is controversial with dairy farmers. Susan Sandys reports.

Susan Sandys


Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) shareholders were cautious about whether to support proposed changes to the cooperative’s capital structure at a series of meetings this month. LIC took the proposal to a shareholder roadshow, with three South Island and five North Island meetings, June 7 to June 10. LIC Chairman Murray King chaired all the meetings. He said there was a turnout of a couple of hundred, with a few dozen at each event. He said it would have been good to have seen more, however, he understood many farmers were “roadshowed out” and at any rate it was just the start

Labour Party’s spokesperson for primary industries, Damien O’Connor.

of the consultation process. He said questioning from farmers was thorough and robust, and generally farmers were cautious about the proposed changes. The roadshow had highlighted a couple of areas that LIC needed to do some more work in, such as how it dealt with different share classes. The proposed capital structure changes could see LIC split into two companies, a genetics/herd improvement

co-operative and an agritechnology company. New non-cooperative shareholders could be asked to come on board to the new agritechnology company, subject to a shareholder vote next year. LIC said on its website that it had been called by companies all over the world wanting to invest once word of the proposal got out. “That shows that what we have is valuable.” The company added that for

shareholders there was the potential for more than $50 million of value to be created. The Labour Party’s spokesperson for primary industries, Damien O’Connor, has slated the proposal, saying while it would leave farmer owners with the core livestock breeding, the value generations of farmers had built up in the company would be transferred into the hands of outside investors. continued P4

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Farming Dairy Focus

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from P3 “At a time when Kiwi dairy farmers need to reassert their position as low-cost producers of quality pasture fed milk, the offshore company proposed will be providing key advantages and intellectual property to our competitors,” Mr O’Connor said.

Award-winning sharemilkers Joe and Suz Wyborn, pictured with their children Molly and Ben, think the proposed LIC changes could result in better innovation and technology being delivered back to Kiwi milking sheds. PHOTO SUPPLIED

I think it’s good that LIC are positioning themselves to take full advantage

“Investors and executives will be the only other winners.” New Zealand Federated Farmers dairy section chairperson Andrew Hoggard said a lot of farmers he had spoken to at the recent field days had not been too keen on the idea. Many dairy farmers generally were concerned they would be losing value from the co-operative in the split. There was a lot of

genetics and herd testing information in LIC’s MINDA (Management Information for Dairy Animals) service, and farmers were uncertain as to whether any new commercial interests coming in could have access to this information. Mr Hoggard personally was not opposed to the split, and believed a new agri-tech

company could help drive much-needed competition and innovation in the industry, particularly in the herd management software area. “But if there are not the right sort of checks and balances with the new agritech company, it could just carry on stifling competition. A company in a monopoly

position not owned by New Zealand farmers could actually make it worse,” Mr Hoggard said. Award-winning sharemilkers Joe and Suz Wyborn near Geraldine are among farmers who think the split could see greater innovation and technology being delivered back to Kiwi

milking sheds in the longterm. Technological change in the industry over the last 10 years had been huge, and it was likely to be even more so in the next 10 years. “I think it’s good that LIC are positioning themselves to take full advantage of that,” Mr Wyborn said.

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Sponsorship to support new research station Ashley Dene Farm research and development station’s new feed pad and concrete track are all ready to go for the season ahead. Five sponsorship agreements totalling $850,000 will ensure a new research and development station at Ashley Dene Farm gets off to a good start. The Lincoln farm has been owned and operated by Lincoln University for more than 100 years and is used for both research and teaching. The new 190-hectare research and development station was established this year, with the goal of improving dairy and livestock profitability, and environmental and welfare performance. Professor of Dairy Production Grant Edwards said Lincoln greatly valued the industry support which had helped develop the station. “In particular we are grateful to Opus International Consultants who will supply engineering expertise and project management support, Waikato Milking Systems

The station’s objectives include

Firm funding for world-leading research farm.

who will supply and install advanced milking systems in the dairy shed, CLAAS Harvest Centre, which will supply farm equipment and advice on equipment needs, and PGG Wrightson Seeds and Genetic Technologies who


will offer expert advice and supply seed,” he said. Milking at the station will launch next month and there will be a split calving model, calving 450 cows for July and August, and then undertaking a first autumn calving, of 80

cows, next year. Infrastructure on the farm includes a 54-bail rotary Waikato Milking Systems plant and machinery with Afimilk Technology being used for automation; a feed pad and stand-off pad.

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Farming Dairy Focus


Calving advice throughout July DairyNZ is running CalvingSmart events throughout the South Island in July to help farmers approach the calving season with confidence. Each event runs as a full-day programme for the whole farm team. Farmers can choose from a series of sessions for different experience levels, enabling them to develop practical skills that will help with the calving season. For senior management, there is a session on calf care and farmers’ responsibilities under the new draft animal welfare regulations. Other sessions include new colostrum research, management approaches to the prevention of lameness and mastitis, and how to keep teams healthy and motivated throughout the calving season. For new entrants and farm assistants, the junior workshop will provide handson training. Participants will learn to identify the signs of calving, stages of labour and normal and abnormal calf presentation. They will also get some practical tips on

Participants at a previous DairyNZ calving event.

how to look after themselves during what is a hectic time of year. DairyNZ’s animal husbandry and welfare team manager, Chris Leach, said being prepared and staying

healthy would make for an easier stress-free spring. “Everyone on-farm has a part to play in ensuring that all animals are treated with respect and cared for in a



healthy and safe environment,” Mr Leach said. Events are free for all levypaying dairy farmers and their staff. Registrations are essential and can be completed

online at dairynz.co.nz/ calvingsmart. Events are at: Lincoln, July 11; Temuka, July 12; Winton, July 15; Greymouth, July 19; and Takaka, July 21.





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Top 10 list of dirtiest rivers a farce The Green Party’s list of New Zealand’s top 10 dirty rivers is farcical and brings into question the party’s credibility.

Andrew Curtis


The three rivers listed in irrigated catchments Ruamahanga, Tukituki and Selwyn, when compared with the water quality of other rivers in these regions, shows whilst they each have challenges, they are not the dirtiest. The true state of water quality in New Zealand can be gleaned from the Land Air Water Aotearoa website www. lawa.org.nz. This contains the most accurate and up-to-date picture of actual river water quality in New Zealand. The Porirua in Wellington region, Karamu in Hawke’s Bay and Heathcote river in Christchurch all have worse water quality issues than the Ruamahanga, Tukituki and Selwyn. The Greens are being mischievous with their dirtiest rivers stunt. They are trying to create a divide between rural and urban communities which is not good for New Zealand. There are some huge water quality issues facing all of lowland New Zealand if pristine, swimmable water quality becomes the minimum standard. Whilst we all aspire to pristine water quality, it will be extremely expensive to achieve, particularly in urban areas where the worst water quality issues exist. Just as farmers will have to invest in changing farm practises, rates will have to rise significantly in urban areas to pay for rivers to be cleaned up

THE DIRTY RIVER LIST ■■ Wairua (Northland) ■■ Lucas Creek (Auckland) ■■ Waikato ■■ Tarawera (Bay of Plenty) ■■ Tukituki (Hawke’s Bay) ■■ Waitara (Taranaki) ■■ Ruamahanga (Wairarapa) ■■ Manawatu

to a pristine standard. Despite this cost, the primary sector is actively embracing change. Adoption of good management practices, like stock exclusion from waterways, is the first step. The continued evolution of precision agriculture is the long-term solution if we are to create a resilient and sustainable future for rural New Zealand.

The goal posts for farmers have changed and there are now environmental limits in place or in the process of being put in place. The new legislation means all rivers have to be maintained at their current state. Communities can also make the decision to improve them beyond this. The “wadeable” bottom-line only applies to rivers that are currently severely degraded.

These must be improved to at least this standard. It’s time for the Green Party to stop throwing stones and actively support the behaviour change that is happening in New Zealand’s rural sector. They also need to start asking questions as to what’s happening in our urban areas where New Zealand’s top 10 dirtiest rivers actually are.

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Farming Dairy Focus

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New animal welfare rules Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy announced new regulations to strengthen the law around management and treatment of bobby calves this month. The new regulations span the whole supply chain and will go to Cabinet for final approval.

The first are planned to be in place for this calving season and are as follows:

That young calves must be at least four days of age and physically fit before they are transported for sale or slaughter. Setting a maximum duration of 12 hours journey time for young calves being transported for sale or slaughter. Prohibiting the transport of young calves by sea across the Cook Strait. Prohibiting the killing of any calves by use of blunt force trauma, except in an emergency situation. The majority of farmers already meet these regulations as they have good processes and practices in place which mainly match the existing minimum standards. Three further regulations will be introduced next year to ensure enough time to make any changes necessary.

These include:

Proposed February 2017 That young calves must be fed at least once in the 24 hours prior to slaughter. Proposed August 2017 Suitable shelter be provided for young calves before and during transportation, and at points of sale or slaughter. Proposed August 2017 That loading and unloading facilities be provided and

used when young calves are transported for sale and slaughter. The regulations follow two months of public consultation by the Ministry for Primary Industries and are part of a wider programme of work by farmers, industry and government to strengthen bobby calf welfare. Eight organisations formed the Bobby Calf Action

Group at the end of 2015 to accelerate and add to existing measures aimed at ensuring everyone involved with bobby calves applies best practice in their handling and care. The Bobby Calf Action Group includes DairyNZ, Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, Meat Industry Association, Federated Farmers,

New Zealand Petfood Manufacturers Association, Road Transport Forum, New Zealand Veterinary Association and the Ministry for Primary Industries. DairyNZ is making sure farmers are supported in making any changes on farm by working with others in the supply chain, helping farmers to make sure calves are fit

for transport and ensuring farmers have suitable facilities for loading. The draft regulations will be among topics covered at upcoming DairyNZ CalvingSmart events in the South Island in July. For additional advice and resources around calving and calf care, see dairynz.co.nz/ calves.







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for bobby calves BEFORE BEING TRANSPORTED OFF-FARM, CALVES MUST: -- Be free of disease, deformity, blindness or any disability.



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-- Have a navel cord which is wrinkled, withered and shrivelled and not pink or red coloured, raw or fleshy.

-- Be at least four full days of age. If the new regulations are confirmed, those presenting and accepting calves for transport will be required to have a system in place to ensure compliance. The three separate offences of presenting for transport a calf less than four days separation, presenting for transport a calf that does not meet the physical requirements, and accepting for transport a calf that does not meet the physical requirements, will each attract a $500 infringement fee.

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Dairy Focus


Loyalty in business pays dividends A couple of months ago I was a bit player in a copyright dispute involving one of Twitter’s most beloved and popular accounts, @dog_rates.

Craig Hickman

ELBOW DEEP @dairymanNZ

My involvement was sufficient to warrant an email from Washington Post reporter Abby Ohlheiser asking for a bit of background information, but minor enough that the story could quite easily be written without my input. I had the day off and I was bored, so I set about writing a reply that was so chock full of information that my name just had to be mentioned in the article. The following day I was delighted to see that not only had I been quoted, but I warranted a couple of paragraphs in the story. I gleefully shared the link on Twitter and we all had a week’s worth of amusement out of it, though I think for Abby it was more a case of bemusement. continued P11


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from P10 We’ve kept in touch, which I don’t imagine she does with all her sources, and Abby kindly gave me feedback on the first column I wrote for the Ashburton Guardian. In fact, I woke up recently to a message from Abby that read: “Hello! I have an important question for you: is there some sort of insult in New Zealand involving calling someone an ‘egg’ or something like that? Believe it or not this is for an article.” I was happy to inform her that calling someone an egg is a kinder version of calling them a dick, and pointed her towards the trailer for the movie Boy for full cultural immersion. An hour later the story was online, I was once again quoted in the Washington Post as the “Chief New Zealand Twitter Source” and Twitter once again convulsed with laughter. It’s a win-win relationship: my friends and I get a good laugh and Abby’s stories get a few more clicks. I suspect there may also be a prize for the reporter that mentions New Zealand most times in a year.

Hello! I have an important question for you: is there some sort of insult in New Zealand involving calling someone an ‘egg’ or something like that? Believe it or not this is for an article.

And so, as with social media, that’s how I like to do business: win-win relationships. The crash in commodity prices has forced us all to take a hard look at our costs and this has impacted on the people we do business with. It’s easy to just look at the dollars and go with whichever supplier is cheapest, but there’s so much



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more to it than that. That’s one reason I’ll never use FarmSource’s online ordering system, I want to go into the store and have a coffee and a yarn. I want to get to know the people there and have them understand my business and understand me. And it pays off in the form of superior service and access to deals, or

getting that thing you really need delivered a day early. And I reciprocate with loyalty. I’ve spent years developing a relationship with my grazier. We discuss prices and crops well in advance and come to a mutual agreement. Neither of us wants to be seen as trying to take advantage of the other and so we work closely together to get the best possible outcome for both businesses. In tough times like these, relationships that you’ve built up over the years really pay dividends. They allow you to speak honestly and make cuts where needed and they should be strong enough to allow things to return to normal without missing a beat when the good times finally come back. To me, that’s far more important and less stressful than chasing every last cent. If I’m ever in Washington, I wouldn’t hesitate to drop Abby a line to see if she was available for coffee and a chat. I feel the same way towards people I do business with and hope they feel the same way about me.

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Farming Dairy Focus



International dairy prices are inching off their lows

Genetic base cow change brings breeding worth back

International dairy prices are inching off their lows, but prices remain low in absolute terms and are not yet back to where they started this year. So says BNZ senior economist Doug Steel, in his recent Rural Wrap report for the bank. The bank’s view remained of generally subdued pricing, with some price recovery in the second half of 2016 and into 2017 as current low prices discouraged global milk production and encouraged consumption. “This view underpins our 2016/17 milk price forecast that remains at $4.60 per kilogram of milksolids,” he said. But there was much uncertainty, and where prices could head next could be affected by aspects such as EU milk supply and rapid stockpiling of product, demand indicators from China, and signs that low world milk prices are starting to affect global milk supply. “Weather-wise, we are keeping an eye on the possibility of la nina next spring/ summer, which can be a net positive for New Zealand primary production as long as it is not too strong,” Mr Steel said.

The genetic base cow – the genetic reference point for all dairy cattle in New Zealand – will be updated this month. New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited manager, Jeremy Bryant, said the genetic base is updated every five years and on June 19 it would become younger, moving from a 2000 to a 2005-born base cow. The base-cow update reflects genetic progress and prevents the gap between today’s animals and the genetic base becoming too large. This keeps the scale of genetic predictions relevant. “Every year, there is genetic improvement in the national herd, which leads to each group of heifers coming through having a higher breeding worth (BW) than the cows before them,” Mr Bryant said. The genetic base update meant all animals would now be compared with a more recent cow population – in this case, the average of a group of wellrecorded 2005-born cows. BW will be scaled back by about $50 as a result of the update. The drop in BW will be identical across all animals and herds.

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Moving from sheep to dairy is not impacting on duckling survival, new research has shown Not only have they had the benefit of increasing on-farm water storage projects, but recent research has shown that duckling survival is just as good on dairy as sheep/deer pastoral systems. Southland Fish and Game Officer Erin Garrick reported the finding as part of her thesis towards a Masters in Wildlife Management at the University of Otago. The comparable survival rate was good news for mallards in New Zealand, where much of the landscape had been converted to dairy systems, she said. “Fish and Game had expressed concern about continual dairy conversions and the associated changes in pasture management that might affect duckling survival,” she said. However, on the downside, mallard females have a skewed sense of where it is safe to raise their ducklings, choosing the predator corridors of hedges and shelterbelts over pasture. “Alarmingly these types of habitat are associated with lower duckling survival,” Ms Garrick said. Another finding was that the presence of ephemeral (short-lived) bodies of water during the first 10 days of a duckling’s life greatly increased survival. Earthworms forced to the surface provided a food source. Farm managers could improve habitat by not installing sub-surface drainage through pastures, or through the development of more seasonal wetlands.


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By 2025, New Zealand’s primary industries will need 50,000 more workers Prime Minister John Key and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy launched the Primary Industry Champions initiative at the national Fieldays this month, aimed at attracting more young people. The online campaign features primary industry “champions” such as farmers, growers, fishers, foresters, scientists and economists, and includes Kiwi icons such as Richie McCaw, Rob and Sonia Waddell, and Sir David Fagan. “These well-known New Zealanders will help raise awareness of the primary sector and encourage young people to consider a career in this broad field,” Mr Guy said. Ministers Steven Joyce and Mr Guy officially opened the Fieldays Careers and Education Hub at Fieldays, which attracted urban and rural teenagers interested in primary industry careers. Mr Guy said the Situation Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) 2016, released at Fieldays, proved how diversified the sector had become. “While dairy export returns are lower, overall revenue has grown by $1 billon to nearly $37 billion. Strong growth in horticulture, beef, wool, forestry, food processing and seafood exports shows the primary sector in good heart,” Mr Guy said.


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Farming Dairy Focus



To feed or underfeed One of the most commonly asked questions from farmers in the lead-up to calving is whether they should underfeed their cows.

DairyNZ says that if cows are at or above their target body condition score (BCS) – five for mature cows and 5.5 for first and second calvers - then research suggests cows should have their feed reduced, but only just a little. They should be fed about 80 per cent to 90 per cent of their energy requirements for one to two weeks pre-calving to reduce the risk of metabolic diseases after calving. However, if cows are below their BCS targets, they should be fed 100 per cent of their energy requirements. For example, a 500kg cow at BCS 5.0 or above, needs to eat about 100 MJ ME for one to two weeks pre-calving. A reasonable transition time from pasture onto winter crops is generally about 14 days, to allow for the rumen to fully adapt to the winter crop and to optimise efficient digestion. For fodder beet, cows must be transitioned properly in order to avoid rumen acidosis. The first 14 days of transition is very important to the success of the winter feeding

regime. The cows should be introduced to the crop slowly, starting with about 2kg DM fodder beet/cow/day with the supplement (straw, hay, silage) fed before the cows are given access to the crop. When cows are fully transitioned, DairyNZ recommends that cows eat a diet of no more than two-

NICK’S PETFOOD LIMITED “We’ve been in the industry for the past 15 years.”

thirds fodder beet and onethird supplement (straw, hay or silage). By grazing tops and roots together it is possible to largely overcome the crude protein deficiency of the root. If beets are lifted, the crude protein content of the diet will be lower and other feeds in the diet may be

altered, that is more pasture silage and less straw, to overcome this. There is no need to transition cows back from fodder beet to pasture. However, transitioning from ryegrass to kale is necessary because kale can also cause rumen acidosis if cows are not transitioned slowly.




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Calves and farmers benefit alike For over a decade, Canterbury feed specialists Feedmix, have been providing nutritious, healthy Calf and Dairy meal to the dairy industry. Feedmix’s smart technology – a fleet of trucks, unique to New Zealand, fitted out with American-made milling and mixing machines, are able to turn unprocessed grain into a tasty, nutritious meal that will fill the gap created from a predominately grass-fed diet. Once the grain (which can be supplied by you or Feedmix) has been through the roller mill and been invigorated with molasses and other nutrients, it’s not just tasty (especially to calves) but it’s also a very effective way to boost your animal’s diet. With the truck’s capacity to process up to 15 tonnes per hour, Feedmix really are the economic solution to optimise your herd health. Better still, it’s not just the cattle that benefit from Feedmix’s unique mobile feed processing service – farmers too enjoy the versatility of having fresh, on farm feed when they need it.

THIS YEAR SELECT CALF MEAL THAT IS Processed fresh on farm Includes Molasses and premix minerals / vitamins and Bovatec In sacks ready for use

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The processed Dairy and Calf Meal is delivered straight into a meal silo, sacks or anything in between with the right nutrients included to boost your herd’s productivity. The price, from $35 for Dairy Meal and just $140 per tonne of Calf meal (which includes

Molasses and other goodies) has Canterbury farmers phoning at all hours of the day to get Dave and Stewart to pay a visit to their farm. Having Feedmix’s mobile feed processing trucks visit your dairy farm regularly slashes overheads and



• Fresh feed processed on farm • Convenient way to supplement your calves • Your grain or grain supplied by us • Includes molasses, premix minerals/ vitamins & bovatec

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eliminates the need to buy in expensive, pre-processed feed for your herd. With Calving right around the corner, now is the time to phone Feedmix and discuss your requirements for Calf Meal that will really give your calves the best start!

Uses your grain (or grain supplied by Feedmix) Only $140 per tonne (price includes goodies outlined above) Call Dave or Stewart Dave 027 608 6455 Stewart 027 462 2529.

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Farming Dairy Focus



Colostrum key to healthy calves Get your colostrum feeding right, and you’ll be going a long way towards raising healthy replacement calves. That’s the advice of Jo Holter, Veterinary Technical Advisor with MSD Animal Health. Holter says a poor understanding of colostrum and its management can expose new-born calves to pathogens that cause scours, such as rotavirus. “If they survive, the impact on their gut health will last into their adult lives and they may never reach their true potential. In many cases, the disease will kill them. That can be emotionally devastating and also a big financial loss when you’re raising replacements.” Milk from the first eight milkings is commonly referred to as “colostrum”, but this is incorrect, Holter says. “Colostrum is produced in the first milking and this contains the highest levels of protective antibodies that calves need in their first hours of life in order to build immunity to bugs like rotavirus. The milk from the following milkings, until the

Jo Holter says colostrum is produced in the first 24 hours and is vital for helping protect calves from pathogens in their first PHOTOS SUPPLIED days of life.

cows join the milking herd, is called transition milk. This is still fed to growing calves, of course, but it doesn’t have the same level of antibodies and it should be stored separately from the ‘gold’, first milking colostrum.” Suckling on the dam cannot always be relied on to deliver the volumes and quality of colostrum that the calf needs and it may be necessary to supplement this by additional

feeding of colostrum in the first 24 hours of life. Ideally, every new-born calf should receive at least two 2-litre feeds of high-grade colostrum within its first 12-24 hours of life, Holter says. This can be fed either via tube or teat, but tube is often less wasteful and ensures the calf gets the right quantity, quickly. “The ability of calves to absorb the antibodies in colostrum declines very

The Brix refractometer provides a quick, easy way to measure colostrum quality.

quickly. At 24 hours after birth they will no longer be absorbed, so those first hours are crucial.” She advises the use of a Brix refractometer to give an objective measure of colostrum quality. It’s a simple and inexpensive tool, and an easy way to ensure the colostrum being fed is good enough. She says a reading takes only a few seconds and it’s easy to see whether a

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batch is above the 22 percent Brix threshold for Grade 1 colostrum. If cows have been vaccinated with a colostral vaccine such as Rotavec® Corona, their colostrum will carry a higher level of antibodies to protect the calves that are fed it. Holter says good management is needed to ensure this passive transfer of immunity to calves via colostrum is successful.




What’s happened to our farming? by

John K Morris

CEo of AgrissEntiAls During the 1950s and up to the 1980s farming was a family affair, it worked really well with support from the community, helping each other with hay and silage and whatever was necessary. Back then the average dairy farm was 40 hectares, farming was simple and easy and during that period our NZ farmers were recognised as the most proficient and cost effective farmers on the planet. People from around the globe were coming to NZ to witness what was happening. Our agricultural science was enviable, our scientists were completely independent, funded by the taxpayer and expanding the envelope of good, healthy farming. There were very little problems and I remember the most toxic product in the milking shed was the oil required to keep the separator running smoothly. When we hit the mid 1980s there was a radical change

The first big shift I recognised was the introduction of maize as a supplementary feed for dairy and dry stock. What sort of backward thinking was that? Maize causes acidosis in Ruminant animals resulting in mastitis.

in farming based around corporate scientific systems and industrial farming coming out of the United States. The first big shift I recognised was the introduction of maize as a supplementary feed for dairy and dry stock. What sort of backward thinking was that? Maize causes acidosis in ruminant animals resulting in mastitis. Maize and corn are for chickens. Chickens do well on it, however ruminants which are the bulk of our farming, are designed to convert grass into milk and meat and they are really good at it, especially if there is plenty of clover on the farm. The other big move was the introduction of toxic chemical animal health tonics. Stored behind locked cages

in a profusion of different colours, all with the same word - poison - written on the plastic label. They are there to control the myriad of problems, but they don’t really work, as we see pests, diseases and weeds building immunity towards these artificial chemical concoctions. There is a solution to all this chemical dilemma and all the answers are within nature. Just to get you thinking on the right track we need to go back 460 million years ago to when the first plant appeared and there was obviously soil biota already operating and multiplying in the soil. Once the plant world was under way then other life forms such as animals and sea life began to multiply. Planet earth has been able

Give them the best start received the recommended dose each day and any ill or unwell calves received extra doses 50/50 with yoghurt. My mortality rate was extremely low losing only 5, my best result ever. I also weaned 2 weeks earlier than other years and got $470 per Hereford cross calf, best ever price! I will use Seabrew again in the 2016 season and recommend this product to anyone as a natural boost to young stock. Liz Montgomery - Nightcaps

to sustain all life on the globe for the past 460 million years and is still doing it in those areas of natural habitat. One hundred years of chemical production and our beautiful planet is suffering. We need to take care of our planet. The fastest way to do this is to move away from the “chemical age”; hook into all the natural capital supplied free by Mother Nature and begin working with Agrissentials multi-mineral, microbial-rich fertilisers. This will bring health vitality and immunity to plant life which will transfer on to animals and humans. This is all part and parcel of Mother Nature’s system. Nature has all the checks and balances to keep life pumping. Chemicals increase problems.





Chemicals increase their own market. The heavy use of chemicals have impacted on soil to the extent a lot of soils have no life, no micro organisms and no worms. This scenario opens up the soil to fungal toxins, infertility and FE causing fungus. These toxic fungi live on the dead plant material in the bottom of the pasture. The best way to fix this problem is to have a live, living soil full of microorganisms and worms, (which love thatch and will turn it into topsoil) keeping the whole system alive, healthy and fertile, keeping the stock happy and keeping money in the farmer’s pocket. With nature it’s a win, win situation. So it’s time to change to a certified natural system and start picking up better returns. Agrissentials can take you there. Call us on 0800 843 539 that’s 0800 THE KEY to healthy productive farming and better returns. Alternatively you can contact your best on earth fertiliser representatives Murray Nichol 027 655 4360 to grab your special deal today.


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Farming Dairy Focus



Raring to grow with Enerpro calf Enerpro Feeds have added two new products to the company’s range in time for the calving season. The family-owned business, established by husband and wife team Noel and Nikki Dew, has already established a solid reputation for supplying a tailored range of dairy cattle feeds throughout the South Island. Nikki said the calf meal products complemented the existing products and offered a one-stop dairy cattle feed shop to the company’s clients. The Enerpro calf meal has a muesli-like consistency and comes in two protein levels; Enerpro20 and Enerpro16. Both are designed give replacement heifer calves the best start. The higher protein Enerpro20 meal can be introduced to calves from day four following colostrum feeding. The Enerpro16 blend is suitable for feeding from four weeks until optimum weight gain is reached. Both supplements should be fed in conjunction with a quality calf milk replacement.

Noel and Nikki have developed a highly palatable calf muesli at an affordable price. The blend incorporates rolled grains, soya meal, hulls and oil, canola meal, corn DDGS, lime flour, salt, molasses, essential vitamins and minerals along with Bovatec to assist with controlling coccidiosis. “We use top quality ingredients in the calf muesli to maximise rumen production,” Nikki said. “It’s been developed for optimum utilisation and palatability and the calves love it, with the molasses in it, it’s really delicious – it can be difficult to persuade some calves to eat pellets but we’ve had no problems with these products. They are soon lining up for it.” Enerpro20 and Enerpro16 are available by the tonne, in half tonne bags or in 25kg bags and can be delivered South Island wide. The muesli flows well through both indoor and outdoor feeders with minimal waste. No palm kernel is used in the calf feed products.

Calf rearing feeds for maximum growth NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS Highly Palatable encouraging early feed intake which is essential for early calf development and growth. Digestible Grains & Proteins facilitating better utilization by the calf. Balanced Specifications providing an optimum ratio of Protein & Energy. Contains Calcium promoting early bone development. Essential Vitamins & Minerals absolutely necessary of tissue and cell development. Contains Bovatec to help control and prevent Conccidiosis.

FEEDING GUIDE Enerpro 20 can be offered to calves ad-lib after 4 days of age following sufficient colostrum intake. Enerpro 16 can be offered to weaned calveds or from 4-6 weeks of age, until the desired weights are achived. Both calf supplements should be fed in conjuction with a suitable calf Milk Replacer wit clean hay and water avaialble at all times. INGREDIENTS Ingredients for both Enerpro 20 and Enerpro 16 are selected from:

PHONE (03) 352 3792 | www.enerpro.co.nz

Wheat, Barley, Soyameal, Canola Meal, Corn DDGS, Soyabean Hulls, Lime Flour, Salt, Molasses, Soya Oil, Vitamins & Minerals, Bovatec No PKE is included in either Enerpro 20 or Enerpro 16. Both calf supplements contain essential Vitamins & Minerals along with Bovatec to help control Coccidiosis.

ENERPRO Calf Feed Analysis ENERPRO 20 Typical Analysis: Protein 20% min Energy 12.7MJ/KgDM Starch 24% NDF 25%

ENERPRO 16 Typical Analysis: Protein 16% min Energy 12.3MJ/KgDM Starch 20% NDF 35%


Cattle Fodder Beet Block Palatable, convenient and cost-effective, New Cattle Fodder Beet Block, is a molassesbased supplement to help prevent phosphorus deficiency and balance other minerals lacking in your herds’ diet. To order today or learn more, phone 0800 287 325 or visit sealeswinslow.co.nz

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29/02/16 12:00 pm

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Farming Dairy Focus



Hay feeders cut down on wastage Palmer Agri Parts Direct Limited is busy meeting orders for its popular hay feeder range. The company manufactures a wide range of hay feeders at its Robinson Street workshop. They include 5’ and 6’ round feeders, square and double square, cradle and sheep feeders with roofs, and feeders with mesh floors and skids. Trials have shown there are numerous benefits associated with using hay feeders. Wastage of up to 50 per cent has been shown to occur when hay and silage is spread out in paddocks. By using hay feeders, farmers benefit from not only less wastage, but also less time spent and labour used in the feeding-out process, equating to improved profits. Palmer Agri Parts Direct has the ability to fabricate large quantities of any one type from its range. And it can also produce one-off designs, depending on customer requirements. The company manufactures its feeders with galvanised steel, fully welding them for improved strength.

Palmer Agri Parts Direct is also well known for its extensive range of farm machinery parts, a range backed up by extensive

knowledge, equipment and suppliers. Included in its stock line is Bare Co tractor parts and accessories, plough and cultivation parts, as well as

equipment such as bale forks and tines, PTO shafts and safety covers, and bird scarers. Owner Paul Rowland said the company strives to make

With a fully equipped workshop, no job is too big or too small

farmers’ parts-sourcing experience as easy as possible. “Our spacious premises, gear and know-how means we can make up anything from one single part to thousands if necessary,” Mr Rowland said. “With a fully equipped workshop, no job is too big or too small.” Palmer Agri Parts Direct also undertakes general engineering, maintenance and repair work, ensuring the business is a one-stop shop for farmers needing help with their operations over the coming season. Palmer Agri Parts Direct can be contacted on 0800 472 563 (0800 4 PALMERS).

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Cows need adequate rest too We had a lot of response to my last article. Most people seem to agree that we do have laminitis, however, it appears that the perception is that the main cause of laminitis is related to feeding issues, yet there are many other ways for cows to get laminitis. Last month I named stress as a major cause, but you could put other things on that list like mastitis, retained afterbirth, calving and others. When you suddenly get many lame cows and you can’t relate it to an obvious incident you could think back six or eight weeks and see what had changed in the diet. That may explain the lameness. Things like taking silage out of the diet, running out of grass, starting to feed meal or the likes. And these are certainly good possible reasons why your cows are lame. I also mentioned last month that resting time is a very important contributing factor for lameness. This seems to be overlooked and grossly underestimated as a cause of lameness.

Fred Hoekstra


I would class it as at least as important as diet. In our pasture-based farming systems, in particular, it pays to put a lot of thinking into the time budget. You should work on a time allocation of 12-14 hours of resting time, eight hours of eating time, half hour of drinking and 1 hour of socialising per 24 hours. So that leaves you about 2.5 hours per day to walk your cows to the cowshed, milk them and walk them back again. And twice a day allows just one hour and 15 minutes per milking. Most cows in NZ don’t get that. The first ones might, but the last ones certainly don’t, so over time the cows become very run down and this is why they

don’t want to walk anymore towards the end of the season. They hang around the cowshed depriving themselves of more rest which makes them even more rundown so they are harder to move again, and so the spiral goes on. So when cows are being starved of resting time, they are under stress and just to prove a point, try the following: Start depriving yourself of a couple of hours sleep every night - how long are you able to keep that up for before your productivity, your health and your general wellbeing begins to suffer?

Visit our website for more on how the

It is no different for cows. Cows only sleep for about 20 minutes per day, but they do need a lot of rest. They are very happy with a lot of rest and I have never seen a bored cow. I have no idea what a bored cow looks like. So, when a cow is not laying down she is not resting and this causes lameness not because the hooves can’t handle the pressure for long periods, there is no evidence for that argument, but because the cow is under stress with lots of stress hormones floating around the body. Some of you may think

this to be a bit farfetched, but science has shown a strong correlation between standing time and lameness. Also, if you look at any herd that is being milked every 16 hours, you will find that most of those cows are happier to walk again with the change of routine. Why is that? Would cows change their behaviour that dramatically if all their basic needs were already provided for? I don’t have space to further expand on this now, but if you have any comments or questions just send me an email to: fred@veehof.co.nz.

Farming Dairy Focus



Before the girls come home Don’t underestimate the value of communication leading into milking.

Trudy Bensted


As farmers and managers go about daily monitoring and assessment when routines are falling into place, they should be taking time to discuss these with staff. Its good to hear where workers are saving time, where they are losing it, and for everyone to give thought to the question - Is there a better way of doing this? You may be surprised with what various team members come up with, and the old saying “Two heads are better than one” might just ring true. It certainly did for me during my time in the dairy industry, working in various jobs including 2IC on a 1000-cow farm, and herd manager at Stratford Dairies in Temuka.

Mark Hayward, manager of Stratford Dairies.

Dairying is a challenging industry, but one I really enjoyed, and I particularly enjoyed the people aspect of it. Communication is an important part of being efficient and getting things done right, if not the first time, then at least every time after that. Communication also contributes towards everyone feeling their input is valued


and happy people on-farm results in happy cows. Another major aspect to consider leading into milking is the state of the dairy shed. Good maintenance and regular servicing can see older sheds get back into the swing of the season without a hitch, and operate almost as good as any new high-technology breed. But the quality of this maintenance is key and it’s important to have the right

experts on hand. Saving costs in the dairy shed will be important to many farmers this coming season and one of the obvious ways to do this is to have its cooling systems up to standard, as cooling system operation can account for 30 per cent of energy cost and also systems running accurately will mean less risk of penalties due to milk temperatures.




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Profitability it’s in the detail An efficient milking system is one where cows, facilities and people work in balance.

The smallest change in the dairy shed can improve milk quality and profitability, so it’s important you have this aspect of your operation well maintained and ready to go before calving.

According to DairyNZ, a smooth running milk harvesting system provides many benefits

• Increased labour productivity allowing re-allocation of saved time. • Reduced stress on cows leading to faster milking out and more milk. • Reduction in cow health and welfare issues. • Improved working environment leading to improved worker satisfaction and retention. Tips from DairyNZ include running heifers through the shed at least three times before calving – it makes a big difference in the spring, especially in a rotary shed. Cost control is the biggest driver of profitability on-farm, so make sure you have a cost plan and budget in place and monitor it, so you don’t get any nasty surprises. Teat spray springers two to three times per week before calving, or

remove calves from cows within the first 10-12 hours after calving, to help reduce mastitis. Teat disinfection after milking is one of the most effective cellcount and mastitis control measures available. Bacteria in milk from infected quarters may contaminate the skin of many other teats. For example, after a liner has milked an infected quarter, bacteria may be transferred to the next five to six cows milked with that cup. After milking, bacteria multiply on the teat skin and may extend into the teat canal. DairyNZ advises that if the whole surface of each teat is disinfected immediately after milking, this spread can be minimised. Teat disinfection also helps to keep teat skin supple and healthy. Teat disinfection after milking reduces new infections due to cow associated bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus by 50 per cent and is also important in reducing Streptococcus uberis infections. To ensure this is done thoroughly and efficiently, teat disinfectants must be diluted to the correct concentration for use. Fresh batches should be made up regularly, at least two to three times per week or as per label.

Farming Dairy Focus

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Energy efficiency in dairy sheds Aside from expensive energy efficiency products there are several things the farmer can do to reduce energy usage in the farm dairy.

1. Primary cooling

This is generally an area we see the most potential and the most issues and is definitely worth putting some effort into as even a 1 degree difference in the milk entry temperature to the silo will use around 10 per cent more electricity to cool the milk (and slow the milk pulldown time). The following are tasks that can be done by the operator to ensure ongoing and efficient milk cooling: Check your plate cooler is cooling effectively Have the plates been cleaned recently? • A well maintained plate cooler will cool milk more effectively. Do you have continuous milk flow through the plate cooler during milking? • Steady continuous milk flow can be up to twice as effective as a stop and start milk pump.

Is the cooling water flow at its optimum flow? • The optimum water flow is that where the milk is cooled to within 2 to 3 degrees of the water temperature without any excess water passing through. This can be a precise flow setting and is usually controlled by a valve in the water line restricting the flow. Is the cooling water temperature as cool as it can be? • Fresh non recirculating water only should be supplied. • Directly from a well is best although where stored the tank should be positioned in a cool place in the shade (or the tank insulated).

2. Refrigeration

Have the refrigeration systems been regularly serviced? Are the condenser fins clean and dust free? • A refrigeration system low on gas or with restricted air flow will

use significantly more power, have reduced cooling capacity and wear out quicker than a well maintained system. Keep an eye out for slower cooling times and keep the air flow condenser fins

clean by brushing gently with a soft brush (the fins are usually very delicate and easily damaged). Where the above is up to scratch, a high return on capital can be obtained by installing the following:

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Farming Dairy Focus



Providing milking solutions Canterbury Farm Services are a milking machine company, servicing existing and installing new DeLaval milking machines, as well as offering a wide range of aftermarket consumables and products including teat spray, chemicals, liners and filters.

Owned by Southland Farm Services, Canterbury Farm Services opened in October 2015 and is managed by Michael Burnett who employs eight local staff. They also wanted to provide plumbing and pump solutions for the rural, domestic and commercial environment. Canterbury Plumbing & Pumps is the result; a division focused on rural customers, delivering all plumbing needs from pumps and filtration to effluent and irrigation requirements. “The company owners are really experienced grass roots businessmen and saw an opportunity to expand their existing company last year,” Michael said. “We are the new Canterbury DeLaval dealership. DeLaval is a world leader in the dairy farming industry, providing integrated milking solutions designed to improve dairy farmers’ production, animal welfare and overall quality of life.” The company develops, manufactures and markets equipment and complete

systems for milk production and animal husbandry worldwide. “It is an exciting time around national Fielddays, Delaval launched a few new products. They are at the forefront of technology when it comes to milking machinery and solutions.” “We are excited about the new body conditioning score camera which was released in conjunction with LIC. “When it comes to breeding, effective feed management and animal health, body condition score is a benchmark used by farmers and the fact is technology in your dairy shed giving you a daily reading of each individual cow's body condition scores is a strength and another key management tool.” Michael says regarding the new Fonterra regulations coming into effect around milk cooling, the company has a DeLaval solution. “We have a compact snap chiller which is a chilling unit that cools milk on farm. In the ever changing environment around milk chilling time

factors this is a very good machine.” The CFS team is focused on providing a preventative maintenance service and operate a 24 hour on-call breakdown service. “If there is a breakdown we are there immediately to sort the problem. Anything to do with the dairy shed is us. It may be an 80 bail rotary or a 30 aside herringbone shed. Our team are able to provide solutions. “Our company is service orientated and we focus on making sure the farmer has their equipment running well to maximise output from the cow, meaning more milk and more money. This is important, particularly in these tough times. “Ensuring the shed works as well as it can will ensure good animal health. Having well maintained equipment keeps costs down and helps keep animals healthy. “We have a good team of local people; a great mix of both young and keen and

experienced who are all passionate about dairy and understand the Canterbury farming climate. We provide a reliable service and guarantee our workmanship.” “Our business is about bringing the international advanced technology offered by DeLaval into the environment of the New Zealand farmer. They have proven their products work around the world for more than 130 years. They provide a great support network and work in well with dealers. This gives the farmer strength in support, not just from us, but also from DeLaval.” “We have already finished one dairy near Mayfield; a 60 bail rotary with a composite steel, rubber decking platform and are about to start work on a shed near Swannanoa for Peter Schouten. We are committed to dairy in Canterbury.” For more information go to www.canterburyfs.co.nz or call 03 347 7664.

MAKE SURE YOUR SHED IS 100% READY FOR THIS SPRING Now is the time for maintenance and repair work - save yourself time, money and stress this winter. Get in touch with Canterbury Farm Services, your new Canterbury DeLaval dealership.

COMPACT CHILLERS FOR INSTANT MILK COOLING • Possibility to cool milk on farms where traditional in-tank cooling is not enough • Provides fastest cooling rate of all cooling system types –> conserves milk quality • One-piece design makes it easy to install and maintain • Possible to install outside the building to conserve space • Built-in heat recovery to reduce energy use • Multiple compressor circuits to adjust capacity to actual milk flow on farm • Designed with long working time in mind, double system to minimise risk of total failure • Three sizes (60, 90,120) with possibility to integrate two units on one farm gives flexibility

8b McGregor Lane in Ashburton | Diggalink Site, Cnr Weedons Road & SH1 in Rolleston

Phone: (03) 308 8226




New innovation for dairy farmers Dairy farmers can now access the Farm Guard range of products, including the bulk tank system, before the 2016/17 season begins. Farm Guard have successfully introduced into the South Island our unique delivery mechanism for the bulk delivery of dairy hygiene chemicals. South Island dairy farmers have realised the revolution of moving to bulk supply of dairy sanitisers and teat spray products. The system has proved itself to be seamless, costeffective, convenient and most importantly, safe. Never before have dairy farmers had the convenience of bulk acid and bulk teat spray delivered to the farm gate via the Ixom BLT Fleet of specialised units based in Timaru. Product is delivered into custom built, high specification double bunded tanks. The tanks are fully plumbed into the dairy shed and can operate in conjunction with any existing equipment. It is important to note that

there are no upfront costs associated with implementing this system. Deferred payment terms are in place with your local retailer of choice on all bulk Farm Guard products. This gives farmers the option to pay products off over time without incurring interest charges. Farm Guard is thrilled with the response from farmers. “This system, coupled with premium product quality, is a fantastic offering which has been taken up by many farmers already. This is a real

shift away from how business was done previously and I am delighted by the responses from farmers once they have the system in place. We are making a really positive difference to the way things are done on New Zealand dairy farms”.

Product innovation

“The DTP Ultimate (chlorhexidine teat spray) has probably been shown the greatest interest to date. It has the highest active and highest emollient loading of all leading products, yet is one of the cheapest on the market.

The most satisfying thing is that pretty much all of the users have reported better teat condition and improved somatic cell counts regardless of what leading brand they used previously”. Farm Guard’s new high performance dairy acid sanitiser “supreme clean” is a market leading acid which is both functional and cost effective. This product’s development was in conjunction with new low residual regulations set by all milk processors as they expressed a desire to reduce the level of residues in milk from on-farm sources. Farm Guard took this opportunity to work closely with the Ixom laboratory team, multiple independent partners and involvement from current farmers using Farm Guard products to produce a marketleading acid formulation. Removal of QAC type sanitisers was a large part of our reformulation also. “We were looking for better ways to use chemicals in our dairy shed. Something that was safe, practical to use, efficient, affordable and with a

good service while delivering high quality products.

Advantages of bulk chemical supply:

• No more 200L drums. • Reduced product usage (dosing systems). • Reduced chemical wastage. • Safe handling of toxic/ corrosive products. • Reduced legal liability concerns. • Security of supply. • Zero setup cost. • Premium products. • Pricing is the same regardless of geographical location. Farm Guard offers a 24/7 shed service. Our fully trained dairy specialists resolve issues regarding grades, training farm staff and equipment maintenance and re-calibration of dosing units. We are thrilled to be working closely with farmers and helping to provide onfarm solutions. We are passionate about on-farm safety, reducing drum waste, ease of management and delivering all of this at competitive prices.








Teat Care

Premium Health

• OTAGO : 021 614 901 • MID/STH CANTERBURY : 021 948 440 • CANTERBURY : 021 221 8939 • W. COAST/N. CANT : 021 924 253 • SOUTHLAND : 021 220 5783 • CORPORATE ENQUIRIES: 021 225 8326

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Farming Dairy Focus


Around the traps PGG Wrightson Livestock 51st Annual Implement Sale this month.


We build for industries. Starting with the primary ones. At Calder Stewart we’ve never forgotten where we

build - matched to your exact farming needs.

started, building quality farm buildings for the Kiwi

We pride ourselves at being a Rural Design &

farm industry. And over the course of the last 55

Build specialist and have gained a considerable

years of involvement, we’ve developed something

reputation in meeting the needs of many a farmer

of a knack for it. Our dedicated team’s expertise

over the years. Let us put our expertise to work for

in constructing custom woolsheds, covered yards,

you; call your nearest Calder Stewart Construction

wintering sheds and state-of-the-art dairy sheds

Representative today and see how we can deliver

ensures practicality, quality and a professional

a farm building that suits.

Over 55 Years Farm Building Experience A Rural Design and Build Specialist Premium Grade Construction Materials Used Durable & Rugged Design is Standard Best Value-for-Money in the Industry

Donald Sutton 211 Alford Forest Road, Ashburton

(03) 307 6130

To learn more visit our website:



Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Dairy Focus - June 2016  

Dairy Focus - June 2016