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Dairy Focus JUNE, 2014

Countdown to calving

Pages 4-5, 30-34

Surviving calving can mean coping with shed hygiene, tricky calves and dodgy weather.



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Farming Dairy Focus


Chilean chef brings spice and flavour to Hotel Ashburton.


Looking at the patterns on cows’ hooves shows why some theories on lameness are incorrect.


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With calving looming, tips to manage children and meals are welcome.







ith the majority of cows dried off, townies might think it’s an easy time for dairy farmers – the reality is they are gearing up for the busiest time of the year. By August calving will be Michelle RURAL in full swing, and everyone Nelson EDITOR on the farm will be putting On the subject of green, in long, hard hours. we also look at what Orari Preparing ahead can help farmers Aaron and Frances lighten the load, and in this edition we’ve asked the experts Coles have been doing to improve the waterways and the for their assistance. fishing opportunities on their Cam Camilleri offers up property on pages 8 and 9, and some valuable tips about celebrate Young Maori Dairy keeping staff morale up on Farmer of the Year Wiremu page 4, and Virginia Sera discusses animal health leading Reid’s success. While sheep farmers across into calving on pages 32 and the country are struggling, 33. and conventional conversion Columnist Chanelle opportunities are increasingly O’Sullivan has collated restricted, could the answer some great ideas from the be found in dairy sheep? Farming Mums Facebook page members – from a mum’s Apparently there are huge opportunities in a number of perspective, of course. But international markets. We look she also points to some great at the potential of sheep as a recipe sites – to assist with tri-use animal on page 13. getting meals in the freezer to We are always happy to tide you over (pages 21-22), receive feedback and story and everyone needs to eat. ideas from our readers. We meet DairyNZ’s Rick Our contact details appear Pridmore, and discover his below. affinity with Kermit the frog.



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

Advertising Email emma.j@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7981. Post Ashburton Guardian, PO Box 77, Ashburton.

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Who’s who at DairyNZ

From California to sustainability The dairy industry is a big part of Ashburton’s economy but do you know who is leading its thinking and research? This month, as part of our series on key industry leaders from DairyNZ, the industry’s research and science body, we profile Dr Rick Pridmore, the man in charge of strategy and investment for sustainability.


r Rick Pridmore jokes that he came to New Zealand with a banjo on his knee. The sprightly scientist has a twinkle in his eye as he tells you the story of how he ended up in New Zealand after growing up in California. “I took my guitar with me when I hit the road travelling to New Zealand. But it wasn’t music that brought me here – I was in search of a wife and I found a Kiwi one. “So it was a pretty romantic journey and still is. It’s not over yet,” he says, laughing. Dr Pridmore heads up the strategy and investment area for sustainability for DairyNZ. He’s been with the organisation since 2008, based at its head office in the Waikato. Not surprisingly, he’s known not only for his talent to educate, but also for entertaining audiences – charming them but also helping people understand what they need to know. His favourite line is from the Muppets. “Kermit the frog. He said it all really. It’s not easy being green.” Dr Pridmore has worked in the environmental science sector for more than 30 years. He started out as a government scientist, specialising in the nutrient management of lakes, rivers and estuaries. He eventually ended up as chief executive of Niwa. He helped set up the organisation when in 1992, the Crown Research Institutes Act passed and Niwa was created as part

of a government initiative to restructure the science sector. Niwa personnel largely came from the break-up of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and the Meteorological Service of the Ministry of Transport. “I like breaking new ground and being at the forefront of change. Always have. Niwa was a part of that but it’s also why I came into the dairy sector. There’s a lot of work to do here with farmers – and some of it is about changing how we do things, and helping others to work out how to do that in the best way possible.” Dr Pridmore works with regional councils throughout the country and leads DairyNZ’s investment in areas like environmental stewardship, community impact, biosecurity and animal welfare. “These are some of our toughest challenges. But I’m incredibly inspired by dairy farmers every day. So impressed, I’ve actually become a dairy farmer, investing in a farm with a colleague of mine. That has been the most valuable learning experience.” Dr Pridmore sees the environmental challenges for farmers as “working on solutions to problems”. “I’m a firm believer in finding out what do we need to do to fix things. Then moving on to the how – and who needs to take actions – and then monitoring what we achieve. “It’s a simple approach but it works. Farmers are practical

Rick Pridmore: “I’m incredibly inspired by dairy farmers every day.”

people, full of common sense. Once they see there’s a problem, and that they need to take action, we find they quickly come on board. My job is to make sure that we get the right things in place to actually fix problems, by using good science.” Since joining DairyNZ, Dr Pridmore has attracted a top team of water-quality scientists to work with him. “They’re among the best

in the country – and they are working on 13 catchment projects with farmers and regional councils across New Zealand.” So does it frustrate him when people think dairy farmers aren’t doing enough? “Not really. I’m the eternal optimist. I don’t focus on what’s not happening or what the doomsayers are saying. “New Zealand’s waterways are not going to hell in a

New Zealand’s waterways are not going to hell in a hand basket. Intensification of dairying is a national issue but water quality problems are primarily in some catchments, not all

hand basket. Intensification of dairying is a national issue but water quality problems are primarily in some catchments, not all.” However, he says, Canterbury is one of those regions where there are increasing trends in nitrogen load to land. “Yes, there are issues to fix here, for sure. Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Plan has defined nutrient allocation zones for the entire region and has set out clear rules around intensification. Farming to limits is what the future is all about – and we’re in that world right now. “I have great confidence in our ability to adapt, change and bring about solutions that will preserve what we value and what brought me here, and has kept me here.”

Farming Dairy Focus

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People key to successful busy time With calving approaching, now is the time to prepare for what is traditionally the busiest time on a dairy farm. While the run-of-the-mill maintenance needs to be done, don’t forget people are your most important resource. Michelle Nelson talks to DairyNZ’s Cam Camilleri.

Safe and sound: a calf in a clean wood-chipped calf shed.


lanning and talking to your team is essential in the run up to calving, says Cam Camilleri, of DairyNZ. “Talk about what went well last year, and what didn’t before you hit the busy time. Keep up the levels of engagement and put a plan in place. “In terms of health and safety, you want to be working on your orientation processes, a good orientation plan should last at least 90 days, with regular reviews over that period.” This should involve identifying hazards and farm rules, and offers the chance to learn something about your new staff. “Open up the channels of communication to ensure during busy and difficult times people can come and talk to you. Clearly fatigue is one of the big factors involved in accidents on farms, so understanding your team, when they are normal, [is important] so you can see if there’s a change,” Mr Camilleri says. Be mindful of language barriers, not only for immigrant workers, but anyone new to the industry; much of the jargon used will be unfamiliar. “When training new staff, have them repeat it back to you,” Mr Camilleri says. “We use the ‘see one, do one, teach one method” which provides reinforcement but also offers you peace of mind

Cam Camilleri, of DairyNZ.

as the employer that the staff member has also understood the message that was intended.” Clear expectations, and an understanding of everyone’s responsibilities and boundaries will also help new staff fit in. “If you look at last year and think ‘things could probably go better, and I was trying to do too much’ consider giving a more senior member of the team more experience,” Mr Camilleri says. But make sure there’s clarity around your expectations; where they can take responsibility for making informed decisions themselves, and when you would like them to come and let you know.” Put in place processes to reinforce responsibilities, to ensure people know whether they are responsible or accountable or part of the assisting team within those roles.

“A good delegation of roles is key. We’ve seen some very good examples where people have the processes of how to clean the vat [written] on a laminated form right next to the vat so someone can follow it through each step, ensuring that you give somebody some responsibility and accountability for roles. “It’s really all about planning and from that point onward, keeping the channels of communication open – perhaps doing some morale building. “Talk to your staff and say we’re going to go through a really tough couple of months here guys, so talk to me if you’re struggling – I promise

you in two months it will get better.” Supply staff with notepads and ask staff to write down areas of concern, so they can be addressed. Mr Camilleri also suggests now is the time to engage in team-building exercises, which will vary depending on the age of your team. “It doesn’t have to cost a lot – it can be as simple as a barbecue and a few beers. “Remember that people give their best when they are engaged and feel trusted, and particularly when they feel someone cares about them and their opinion. “This is the time to try and foster that and create a team


environment. “Come up with a roster to ensure everyone gets a lie-in at least once a week. That goes a long way towards keeping people happy.” It is also a good time to talk to less experienced staff about preparing freezer meals, and encouraging them to take advantage of industry training on offer. Employers should also be putting in place a process to measure the amount of hours people are working, especially with employment regulations under the spotlight. “That’s good from a business perspective, but it’s also very much appreciated by the team so that everyone can track exactly how many hours they’re working and to be able to say ‘boss I really need a day off ’.” Implementing a contingency plan to cover staff sickness or other unexpected events is also useful. “People don’t want to let the rest of the team down so they come in when they are not fit and that’s when accidents happen.” Finally, Mr Camilleri suggests offering an incentive to reward hard work and initiative. “This doesn’t have to be financial; for kids at the beginning of their career, it could be the person that does A, B and C consistently gets a calf. “Incentives help create healthy competition within a team.”

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Workshops aimed at calving season D airyNZ is running StockSense events next month to help farmers prepare for the calving season. The events are split into two workshops – one for junior staff and one for senior staff – with each workshop focusing on developing skills to help the calving season go well and reduce stress. Humane slaughter on-farm and udder health will be the focus of the senior level workshop. DairyNZ’s animal husbandry and welfare team manager, Chris Leach, says the humane slaughter topic is particularly timely due to the expected change in the animal welfare code and the implications for farmers. “Farmers need to understand what’s expected of them,” says Mr Leach. The senior workshop will also focus on actions owners and managers can take to reduce stress for themselves and their teams, to help calving go smoothly. “The workshop will provide

StockSense events July 1 – Ashburton July 2 – Papakaio July 3 – Culverden July 8 – Winton July 9 – Milton July 10 – Gore

to handle newborns safely, the importance of feeding colostrum and how and why to record calvings. “Even those who have grown up on a farm or worked for a season or two will benefit from the junior workshop,” says Mr Leach. “This is an event that builds competence and confidence for the whole farm team – from the farm assistant to the farm manager.”

Dairy farm staff prepare for calving at a DairyNZ workshop.

tips and tricks to stay healthy during the busy period. Being prepared and staying healthy eases stress and will make for an easier spring,” says Mr Leach.

The junior workshop “get ready for calving” provides hands-on training for junior or new staff. “Participants will learn to identify the signs of calving,

stages of labour, normal and abnormal calf presentation and when to call for help,” says Mr Leach. “By the end of the session participants will know how

• South Island events run from 11am-3pm. All events include a barbecue lunch. Participant numbers are limited and farmers must register online at dairynz. co.nz/stocksense or phone 0800 4 DAIRYNZ (0800 4 324 7969).





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This holstein-friesian calf could hold the key to the future.

Research aims to increase fertility A

new seven-year research study is under way to deliver dairy cows that are genetically more fertile. If successful, the study could deliver an estimated $500 million national increase in on-farm profit each year. The research study also aims to deliver new management tools to help farmers take advantage of the better genetic makeup. DairyNZ senior scientist

and project leader Dr Chris Burke says the study requires a purpose-built herd of 700 holstein-friesian heifer calves with low and high fertility attributes, created from carefully-selected contract matings in spring 2014. “More than 2800 contract matings will be required and we need the support of dairy farmers to ensure that we are able to achieve the required number of animals,” says Dr Burke.

LIC and CRV Ambreed are supporting the establishment of this research herd, with LIC managing the contract mating programme. LIC will start contacting more than 1000 selected dairy farmers during the last week of May. Cow fertility is fundamental to dairy farm productivity, with the goal to get as many cows as possible in-calf in the first six weeks. “More cows in-calf means more milk in the vat before

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target that cannot be achieved using current knowledge and technologies alone,” says Dr Burke. “A biological breakthrough is required. “The research herd will help us to unravel the underlying biology that differentiates genetically fertile cows from infertile cows. The programme has assembled some of the best scientists in New Zealand and Australia to work together with this research herd.”

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Farming Dairy Focus


Farmers’ help boosts stocks of salmon W

orking alongside Fish & Game, dairy farmers Aaron and Frances Coles have helped replenish the salmon stocks in a stream running through their South Canterbury dairy farm. Supplying Synlait Milk, the Coles are contract milkers for the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which owns the 274 hectare Orari property that neighbours their own farm. Over the past few years, Fish & Game has used the farm for three releases of young salmon into the Ohapi Creek, including the most recent release of 7000 young salmon late last year. This year the results of one of the earlier releases were readily apparent in the creek, with the biggest run of salmon in recent memory.

Glen Goad is farm manager on the property and also a keen fisherman. He is delighted with the number of salmon running this season. “The adult fish running up the river this year have been phenomenal. I’ve never seen them like it in the six years I’ve been here,” he says. “These are fish that were released a few years ago, now coming back up the river at the other end of their life cycle. I counted 30 adult salmon in one hole recently. “Even though this is where they have come from, if the river wasn’t clean and healthy, they wouldn’t come back here. “It’s certainly great to see. The creek is good for trout fishing, too.” Mrs Coles says the increased salmon stock shows what can be achieved through good

McKinnons Riparian Support Trust volunteer Bailey Tyree (14) releases salmon into the Ohapi Creek at Orari in South Canterbury.

environmental management and a common sense approach to dairying. “Picking up from where the

farm’s previous owners left off, we have consciously taken various initiatives to fence stock from the waterways,

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and ensure farm effluent is kept out of the creeks. We are pleased that this work has paid off so well, and thrilled that

Fish & Game regard this as a suitable site to release young salmon. “Too often, due to the negligence of a few, all farmers are tarred with the same brush. We are happy to illustrate that most dairy farmers are custodians of the land who care for the state of the surrounding environment just as much as our urban neighbours,” she said. Volunteers from the McKinnons Riparian Support Trust supported Fish & Game to release the fish into the Ohapi Creek. McKinnons Riparian Support Trust volunteers run the McKinnons Creek hatchery, which was started in 2006 following a low period in the wild Rangitata salmon fishery. The trust aims to raise about 80,000 salmon each year for a July release into the Rangitata River. “The adults that return three years later and are not caught by anglers supply the brood stock for the next generation,” said Central South Island Fish & Game officer Hamish Stevens, who oversaw the Orari Creek release. “Sometimes more fish return than are needed for the annual Rangitata release, so the


extra fish are used to enhance salmon stocks in other salmon fisheries such as the Orari, Ashburton and Opihi rivers.” Late last year, the volunteers successfully hatched 200,000 salmon eggs, with 14,000 of these salmon released into the Ohapi Stream, while a further 103,000 were released into the Opihi and Ashburton rivers. Synlait Milk contracted suppliers, the Coles, are progressing through the company’s Lead With Pride programme, a qualityassurance system for dairying that recognises and financially rewards the highest standards of farming, including in environmental management. Mark Wren is Synlait’s Lead With Pride manager. He says what the Coles are doing fits well within the programme. “Lead With Pride challenges farmers to achieve best practice with respect to the various aspects of farming, including protection of the environment. How the Coles are managing their water quality issues is well in line with that, and a tremendous example to other farmers,” he said. • A tributary of the lower Orari River, Ohapi Creek is a spring-fed lowland

McKinnons Riparian Support Trust volunteer Rex Hobbs and Hamish Stevens of Central South Island Fish & Game young release salmon into one of the upper branches of the Ohapi Creek at Orari.

stream system that drains an extensive area between the Temuka and Orari rivers in South Canterbury. It rises from several springs and flows predominantly as three branches before joining together and then entering the Orari River 1.5 kilometres from the sea.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Environment Canterbury raised concern about the impact of intensified land use on the catchment. Thanks to the Coles and other neighbouring farmers improving the health of the system, this looks to have been well and truly rectified.

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Southerner picks up farming award S outhern sharemilker, Wiremu Reid, has won the 2014 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Dairy Farmer of the Year Award following the announcement at the Ahuwhenua Trophy Awards evening at Baypark Arena in Tauranga. The fourth-generation dairy farmer grew up in Whangarei and moved south with his partner Bettina in 2009. Since then the young couple have been building up their equity, making many sacrifices along the way, hoping to reach farm ownership by 2020. The couple are currently in their first season 50:50 sharemilking 1150 cows in Ranfurly with the support of Mr Reid’s parents. The runners-up for the award were 50:50 sharemilker Joshua MacDonald from the Waikato and herd manager James Matheson from Gore. Applicants were assessed on a range of skills and attributes including their commitment to farming, training and education, expertise relative to their positions, community involvement, plans for the

Wiremu Reid (right), the 2014 Ahuwhenua Young Maori Dairy Farmer of the Year, with Kevin Bryant, the Primary ITO chief executive, at the awards ceremony.

future and personal attributes. Lead judge, Peter Little, manager of land development at Te Puni Kokiri, said the high standard of entries this year made selecting the finalists a difficult exercise and generated much debate amongst the judges.

Mr Reid delivered a strong acceptance speech thanking the other finalists for their contribution to the competition and spoke a few words about why he thinks Maori make successful farmers. “As Maori we naturally have

many key attributes that make us successful farmers. We have a good sense of humour; make light of any situation no matter how stressful; we have an easy-going attitude where we give anything a go; and also hardness to stick it out and get the job done.”

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Minister of Primary Industries Nathan Guy congratulated Mr Reid. “The Government is committed to working with Maori to grow the sustainable productivity of their primary sector assets, and continue to increase rural economic development,” Mr Guy said. “I would like to congratulate all farmers involved in this year’s competition and I look forward to seeing more examples of Maori farmers striving to achieve excellence, and the continued growth of Maori agribusiness.” Sponsored by Primary ITO, Te Tumu Paeroa, Te Puni Kokiri and Allflex, the Young Maori Farmer Award was established in 2012 and has become an exciting addition to the Ahuwhenua Trophy BNZ Maori Excellence in Farming Award. It alternates each year between dairy and sheep and beef farming, giving deserving young Maori the opportunity to be recognised for their achievements. This year the award was targeted at dairy farmers.

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ore often than not, the assertion is made that New Zealand cows are different to those in other countries. This comment is underlined with the argument that cows in New Zealand are mostly fed pasture rather than grain, as they do overseas, and “the rumen of a pasture-fed animal … twice that of a grain-fed animal”. It is true that the cows in Europe are more of the friesian type cow, which are bigger, and bigger cows have a larger rumen than the smaller jerseycross cow in New Zealand. However, that is where the difference stops. Cows of the same size and breed have the same rumen capacity. A cow is a cow and a rumen is a rumen. They all work the same, trying to produce milk with the feed offered in their diet by the farmer. Overseas feeding strategies are slow to be accepted in New Zealand, with the most recent controversy being over feeding straw to lactating dairy cows – one university expert has gone so far

as to say that “adding straw… a waste of money”. Yet in the field, speaking to farmers who have tried offering straw to cows, they have found it to be rewarding. Like overseas, when adding straw in the diet you provide structure, fibre and fill.

The most common advice given by nutritionists is simple ... use common sense

Arguments that state “replacing something that has an ME of 12 with one that has an ME of six or eight” are not valid when offering straw. What is important is that you don”t limit the cow on pasture. Let them choose if they need the straw or not, and the results speak for themselves with milk increase responses of between one and three litres per cow. With pasture allocation based on measurements of pasture


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example, it means that 12 ME of palm kernel yields different than 12 ME of wheat or 12 ME of pasture silage. Just looking at the cost of cents per ME is not the answer when looking for a supplement. Although nutrition can’t be “dumbed down” into a few key points, the most common advice given by nutritionists is simple…use common sense. When the cows are hungry, give them more feed. If you don’t have the pasture available, use supplements. Choose your supplements well and consult a nutritionist to talk about the different responses expected from pasture and supplements on your farm for your particular system. For more information on the use of supplements, either talk to your nutritional advisor or contact the Ruminant Nutrition Consultancy team at Dairy Business Centre (NZ) Limited on 03 308 0094, email office@dairybusiness.co.nz. Advertising feature

2 12

Farming Dairy Focus


Cow barn creates options C ontrolling nutrient loss, getting more production per hectare and maximising genetic potential all underscore the potential barn housing offers New Zealand dairy herds within traditional pasture-dominated operations. The first of a new type of barn to be constructed in New Zealand was completed in late April in South Canterbury near Timaru at Fairview Holsteins, owned by the Trounce family. Ashburton-based dairy nutritionist Andrew Trounce oversees the dairying operation and is also well placed to appreciate the benefits of a barn-type system for their 450 holstein friesians. Mr Trounce knows the value of happy, well-housed cows receiving the optimal feed combination and the Norbco barn ticked a lot of the boxes. “These are heavy holsteins that we milk all year round

and it makes pugging and pasture damage a real headache while we are also trying to achieve optimal production out of the herd,” he said. The family also faces the issue all farms have to deal with sooner or later in Canterbury and around New Zealand – managing upcoming nutrient-loss restrictions. With its centralised effluentcontainment system the barn will place the farm within those limits, and contain its environmental footprint. “Whatever way we looked at it every angle pointed to a barn as a solution. The only downfall was the land we lost to it, but increased production should more than make up for that,” Mr Trounce said. The barn is 4100 square metres, with an additional 1900 square metres dedicated to bunkers and feed storage. Norbco has an established reputation overseas for quality dairy-barn design and

The Trounce family’s Norbco barn system built near Timaru.

construction, and was well suited to accommodating the larger framed holsteins at Fairview. “We needed stalls that were deeper and wider to contain the cows, with good cow and tractor access, good airflow and no crossover in cow movement.” Advice from Norbco’s consulting designer and cow comfort expert Mike Creek also provided added assurance as the family embarked on the barn. He provided valuable insights on maximising cow comfort in the barn, including the use of 2.5cm-thick rubber matting for cows to lie upon. Central to effluent management within the

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barn is an automated effluent scraper system that regularly moves through the laneways to pull effluent into a containment area for treatment and dispersal through effluent pumps. The waste will be separated into liquid and solids through a screen separator, with solids capable of being stored in a bunker and applied on cropping land when suitable. Mr Trounce says he appreciates the integrated approach, where all aspects of production from housing, to milking plant and effluent management all linked. The cows will be housed in the barn after calving for six to eight weeks and fed a mixed

-ration diet enabling them to reach their peak production potential, helping remove the variability that inevitably accompanies an all-pasture diet in spring. Energy losses will also be minimised thanks to the short walk to the farm dairy next door, a 36-bail rotary platform. Mr Trounce sees the barn providing the family with a sustainable option to continue high output dairying into the future, capitalising on a high genetic worth herd capable of producing all year round. • For details contact Tracy Quin 0274 988491, or email GEA Farm Technologies tracy.quin@ gea.com

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Getting more off the sheep’s back W

ith Landcorp eyeing the potential of dairy sheep, the United States could be to our sheep industry what China is to dairy cattle, opening a bold new chapter for New Zealand’s most numerous farmed animal. “New Zealand has a small but thriving dairy sheep industry,” says Rick Powdrell, Federated Farmers Meat & Fibre vice-chairman. “News that Landcorp is now eyeing dairy sheep is exciting when you put it together with the sheep genome being mapped and a Trans Pacific Partnership edging ever closer. “We need to be clear that nothing less than the full elimination of agricultural tariffs in the TPP is acceptable to our members.  I say that not only with my meat and fibre hat on but because the United States imported about half of the world’s sheep cheese last year. “This is not just about the United States because the International Dairy Federation (IDF) states dairy

Milking sheep could be the source of the next great dairy boom.

sheep play an important role in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. “The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation puts the global share of sheep milk at 1.4 per cent but in terms of who we are actively trading with, or seeking to develop trade relationships with, the potential is huge.

“In South East Asia, sheep milk accounts for 3.9 per cent of milk production, in China it is 4.2 per cent while in North Africa and the Middle East, it is 7.5 per cent. “Sheep play a significantly bigger role than dairy goats in these markets and I suspect that will surprise some people. “Sheep milk contains higher

milksolids in comparison to cows milk, hence its popularity for cheese, but it also commands a premium with consumers as it is more easily digested. “Earlier this year greater commercial interest in sheep milk saw the International Standards Organisation with the IDF extend ISO to the

measurement of protein in sheep milk as well as goats. Clearly, there is growing interest in an animal that thrives in New Zealand. “Locally, Southland’s vertically integrated Blue River processes sheep milk into cheese, ice cream and milk powder with that last product overwhelmingly exported.  There’s also Waituhi Kuratau in the North Island with its Matatoki Farm brand. “Given environmental factors dairy sheep could play an important role in the industry’s future and Federated Farmers is very keen to explore this in depth with our members. “With Landcorp now actively considering dairy sheep, this evolution could make sheep a tri-use animal for dairy, meat and fibre.  This would greatly aid the rejuvenation of our industry and potentially put New Zealand back on the sheep’s back,” Mr Powdrell said.

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Farming Dairy Focus

2 14


Chilean chef brings spice and flavour to Lisa Fenwick



f you ask Hotel Ashburton executive chef Jose Antonio Gacitua why he became a chef he’ll tell you it’s a funny story. But it’s not so much funny, it was probably what he was always meant to be. As he said: “It’s in his blood.” The Chilean grew up watching and helping out in his grandmother’s restaurant and learned the value of fresh produce. “I learned how to grow the potato and then to cook the potato.” His grandparents had a huge vegetable garden, and a lot of it was used in the restaurant, and he was taken around the fish market, learning the value of fresh is best. It was pretty much straight from the sea to the pot! Even his mum had a part

to play in his calling, she is a pastry chef who specialises in wedding cakes. As a lad growing up in a small Chilean town very like Ashburton, Jose was surrounded by dairy and beef farms. It was one of the most profitable provinces of Chile and even the climate was fairly similar to ours. One spectacular difference was that the view from his town was of the Andes and on the other side was the Pacific Ocean, and the place is steeped in some fascinating history. When the Chilean government of 1850, decided The Lake District needed settling, no Chileans would go there to develop the area. So they turned to poor, struggling families from the Black Forest in South Germany , and offered them land. Jose said it was a tough beginning for those settlers and his grandfather was one of them. It’s fascinating that that wee settlement went without any contact with Chileans for 50 years, so the German language still runs

deep in that community to this day. Hence why Jose speaks fluent Spanish and German. As Germany and Chilean have strong ties, Jose was able to head off to university in Hamburg. He said in his town that is fairly common. German universities are free, so all he had to pay for was food and a roof over his head. However, he had no intention of becoming a chef, he was studying to be a journalist. To make ends meet, he took a dishwashing job at a Mexican restaurant, owned and run by German Master Chef Norbert Winckler. “The best Mexican restaurant in Germany.” Within six months the executive chef noticed him and liked the way he worked. So he told Jose to make him a salad. And he offered him a three- and-a-half year apprenticeship in his kitchen. Jose went to the uni in the morning and at the restaurant at night. When he finalised his journalism degree and his Chef de Cuisine apprenticeship, it was working with food that won him over.

Mexican salad.

And so began a career that would take Jose all over the world – France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Holland, Argentina and back to his home, Chile, and finally New Zealand. He

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Hotel Ashburton south in the world and has five different climates; therefore, the foods grown in each region are different and there are all kinds of food. “Chile is a culinary journey,” Jose says. But ask him what his favourite cuisine is and he’ll quickly tell you Mexican. And why? “It just makes your senses go wow,” he says. It’s not all beans and tacos, it’s an amazing cuisine. “Every region has its own dishes. They use a lot of vegetables and salads – fresh ingredients. “The end result is a combination of different flavours and taste.” He told me that UNESCO wants to make Mexican food a world heritage, because it tastes so good. When Jose and his family arrived in New Zealand it was with the intention of putting down roots. His wife, son, 15, and daughter, 13, soon became weary of shifting around New Zealand and have stayed put in Auckland. Jose’s first job was at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland as a sous chef. He says his lack of

English held him back for a while, but that didn’t stop him from winning the Best Rural Restaurant in Auckland award (Metro magazine) at his next job on a Waiheke Island winery. And neither did it hold him back when he and his family shifted to Palmerston North in 2012 to work in Mexican restaurant El Gusto, winning another award – Best chef in Manawatu with the Manawatu Hospitality Awards 2012. The family stayed in Palmy for 2 ½ years before heading back to Auckland. They were only there a week when Jose got the call-up from the Hotel Ashburton. While his family said ‘no more shifting’, they understood that the hotel was offering a fantastic opportunity and Jose travels to Auckland regularly to see his family. “The Hotel Ashburton is a large operation. It has the largest conference centre in the South Island. “It’s a good start for me to be head chef of this place when it’s a new country.” It appears that Auckland’s loss is Ashburton’s gain.

Local produce always best

Chef Jose Antonio Gacitua grilled meat platter.


s Hotel Ashburton executive chef, Jose Antonio Gacitua, puts huge emphasis on using fresh, local produce whenever possible. “Why get meat from Japan when we have great product here?” Jose says. “It’s where you get the flavour from. And then the chef adds your own taste – the magic.” As a member of the New

Zealand Chef Association, which is pushing members to go back to local, seasonal food, Jose makes good use of fresh local veges and meat. Silver Fern Farms provide the bulk of his meat and the aim is to only buy produce within a 70-80km radius of the restaurant. Jose says it’s not always possible, especially in winter, but the hotel works hard to support local products. Not only is it good

business to support local producers, but it’s good for the community as a whole and your carbon footprint. The way Jose sees it, using fresh, seasonal produce whenever possible is a win-win for the customers, the restaurant and the community. “As a chef, a key element is working with the environment, and buying local is part of that.” Advertising feature

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2 16

Farming Dairy Focus


Bruising patterns back up theory Fred Hoekstra



ast month I talked a little bit about diet contributing to lameness in dairy cows. There is a lot more I can say about that, and I will come back to it, however I am keen to get into some of the other lameness issues. In my original article, I asked for evidence of stones being the cause of bruising and sole penetration. Some people replaced the word stone with track. I did not ask about tracks. I asked about stones. I know we find most of the stones on the tracks, but that does not mean that they are the same. I, too, believe that tracks have an effect on lameness. So, if you have just spent a lot of money on your

tracks, or you are about to, then I am sure you will see an improvement. But I don’t believe it is the stones that do the damage to cows’ hooves. Therefore, I want to show you some evidence on which I base my conclusions. First, have a look at the haemorrhage in a cow’s feet. If you compare enough claws you will soon find a pattern in the haemorrhaging. Often the most severe haemorrhage is in the typical area (see photo). If those red spots came from stones then would it not be unusual that the same pattern keeps occurring? It happens too often to be a coincidence. Do you also notice that often the opposite foot has the same haemorrhage pattern but in mirror image? There are not many cows that have no haemorrhage at all in the hoof – even among the ones that are in the cow shed first and go straight back to the paddock. I agree that with some cows you really have to look for it, but most cows have some haemorrhage – even beef

Most bruising typically happens in the area shown.

cows that don’t see any stones because they never go on a track or hardly go into cattle yards. Second, here is another piece of evidence: we did a trial a few years ago where we trimmed 1500 cows and we compared them to 1500 cows



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that were not trimmed. The trimmed cows were less likely to go lame than the nontrimmed cows. Let me explain why this is evidence. When we trim we do so according to the Dutch method. In this method we trim the outer claw thinner so

it will be closer to the same height as the inner claw. We do this because the outer claw will carry more weight than the inner claw if it is higher, so by trimming the outer claw we transfer the excess weight back to the inner claw so they both carry the same amount of weight. This means that if the outer claw is trimmed thinner it would be more vulnerable to stone bruising. So, if it is more vulnerable, why is it less likely to become lame? According to the stonebruise theory it should be more likely to become lame. It doesn’t really make sense, does it? Next month I would like to look at how tracks impact on lameness, if it is not the stones that are causing the problems. • Until then, just keep sending those emails to: info@veehof.co.nz. I may not be able to get back to you all individually, but I will endeavour to address your comments and questions in my articles.

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Opportunities to seize in China T

he Chinese dairy market is one of the world’s largest – and most significant – being the fastest growing, presenting big opportunities for the New Zealand dairy industry to cash in on China’s “white gold rush”, according to Rabobank. While visiting dairy farmers around New Zealand, Shanghai-based Rabobank senior dairy analyst Sandy Chen said that the rising income of currently lowincome consumers will drive growth of dairy demand into the next decade. Mr Chen said the imbalance in the development of supply chains in China had led to a series of milk contamination – be it deliberate or accidental – scandals in recent years, which have contributed to the rising wave of imports seen going into China. “The reliance on imported feed components and other challenges such as availability of land, water, biosecurity considerations and environmental protection factors will make it difficult to increase self sufficiency levels quickly for China,” Mr Chen said. “With ongoing investments into their dairy industry capacity, local supply will rise over time but this will come at a cost.” Adding to this, Mr Chen said that product safety has become an increasing concern for the Chinese consumers and this will be an important factor when it comes to brand value in the future. Part of Rabobank’s Food and Agribusiness Research and Advisory division, Mr Chen joined Rabobank in early 2013. In this role he researches and analyses trends and developments in the Chinese dairy market. Mr Chen says that China already dominates the global

Milk powder could become “white gold” for New Zealand, according to a Rabobank analyst.

traded market for dairy commodities so greatly that small changes in China’s demand and supply balance have a large impact on the global market and therefore commodity prices. “As a result of how important China is in the global market place, New Zealand dairy farmers should endeavour to keep up to date with Chinese market trends,” he said. “High milk-production costs in China, for example, will result in imported product remaining attractive and this will continue to play an important role in fulfilling Chinese demand.” Regulatory changes in China will also continue to impact the supply chain, Mr Chen said, and all participants will need to keep informed and adapt quickly. “Chinese dairy consumers

The fundamentals are there, now it’s time for the New Zealand industry to secure that market share by finding its ‘edge’ on other competitors looking to the Chinese dairy industry opportunities

are already sophisticated and place high expectations on milk producers for quality, food safety and sustainability characteristics, providing a high level of evidence in these areas will become more and more crucial,” he said. “This is where New Zealand has an opportunity to take advantage of its image as a reliable producer of quality, traceable dairy products destined for the international market. The fundamentals are there, now it’s time for

the New Zealand industry to secure that market share by finding its ‘edge’ on other competitors looking to the Chinese dairy industry opportunities.” Mr Chen presented these views to industry stakeholders and dairy farmers in various locations including New Plymouth, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Masterton, Invercargill and Christchurch. Rabobank regional manager East Coast George Murdoch said that bringing an expert

such as Mr Chen to meet with clients in their local areas provides extremely valuable insights for farmers interested in the opportunities taking place in China at present. “China has been an integral part of the global dairy market for quite some time now and hearing Sandy present this week has reinforced the future growth that will materialise in due course,” Mr Murdoch says. “Giving our clients a chance to hear Sandy and his current on-the-ground perspectives of the Chinese dairy industry really benefits local dairy producers to gain insights into a very important market. With Rabobank’s sole focus on agriculture, this sort of first-hand knowledge-sharing is a massive value-add for our clients, helping them to make informed decisions for their business.”


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2 18

Farming Dairy Focus


WorkSafe fine signals the seriousness of Matt Jones



he inherent dangers of farm life can really hit home with frequent quad bike accidents, and recently a penalty, hitting the headlines. In the agricultural sector these preventable incidents are involved in about 28 per cent of work-related deaths. It’s no surprise a Marlborough man was recently slapped with a $15,000 fine for carrying a passenger on a quad bike without any helmets – or was it a shock for some? Some farmers think the fine was well-deserved while others feel it was way too harsh. I believe that the penalty was justifiable. Why? This act was repeated after a formal warning, and as a child’s safety was at risk I can

see why this was the first time in New Zealand history that a penalty has been handed out. The issue, under the Health and Safety in Employment Act, was, failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of his passenger. The stance of WorkSafe NZ is that quad bikes under no circumstances should be used to carry passengers, (far less, a minor without a helmet). This offending herd manager’s employers were issued a notice last August prohibiting the carriage of passengers after being caught by inspectors. The employee at fault was continuing with this reckless behaviour despite this prior warning. Keeping in mind that farms continue to lead the rest of New Zealand’s workplaces for the highest level of quad bike accidents, should we be startled that this fine was issued? A whopping 850 people each year are injured on these popular farm vehicles and five unfortunate deaths result. I’d like to remind farmers that these practical but

You can, though, breach the Health and Safety in Employment act if the quad bike is used in an unsafe manner in the workplace, for clear work purposes

powerful forms of farm transport aren’t so forgiving when mishandled or misused. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Health and Safety Programme will continue to send out inspectors to farms to check on their ATV safety protocols. This reminder should encourage you to be diligent and cover core ATV operational standards

with your staff. This is an important health and safety issue and you need to take responsibility for your workers and yourselves regarding sensible quad bike use in the workplace. What are my obligations as an employer? No specific law covers issues around helmets, training, rider age, passengers

or towing and carrying limits on quad bikes. You can, though, breach the Health and Safety in Employment Act if the quad bike is used in an unsafe manner in the workplace, for clear work purposes. You may recall in 2008 a dairy farm worker in the Wairarapa fractured his skull

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quad bike safety

Keeping your ATV safe

causing long-term brain injury when he accidentally rode his quad bike into an electric fence. While a helmet was available, his employer who owned the farm neglected to enforce this use and he was convicted of breaching the Health and Safety in Employment Act. A tough lesson was learned being fined $25,000 with reparations of

$20,000. Please encourage staff to adhere to these key safety steps. • Always wear a helmet. • Avoid carrying passengers. • Ensure workers are trained and experienced in quad bike use. • Be familiar with negotiating new terrain. • Set appropriate speed limits relevant to different weather and conditions on your farm. • Choose the right vehicle for the job especially when towing a load. • Never let children ride adult quad bikes. Please remind your farm managers to lead by example by putting these steps into practice. Agstaff advise you to always put safety first on your farm. Apart from the obvious, also stand out as a “workplace of choice” by being proactive in protecting your staff from serious ATV injuries or senseless deaths on quad bikes.

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mechanic Rob Flanagan, offers both an in-store and an on-farm servicing and repair opportunity for existing CanAm owners. This service runs between Banks Peninsula, Rangitata, and through to Canterbury hill country. “If you can’t bring it in, we will come to you”. We also have trained staff in store, to take you over various new Can-Am

Regular servicing and bike maintenance is something that must never be overlooked, as specifications are set to ensure both safety and maximise product life

as being common safety-related mechanical faults on ATVs in New Zealand. Regular servicing and bike maintenance is something that must never be overlooked, as specifications are set to ensure both safety and maximise product life. Each service is a comprehensive and scheduled plan and every kilometre travelled over a due service can be doing irreparable damage to your vehicle and costing you in the long run. At Can-Am Ashburton, we are dedicated to ensuring the safety of our customers, and the longevity of their Can-Am products. To ensure this is the case, our dedicated Can-Am

products and options for your ATV, SSV, or Spyder. We strive to be able to deliver the newest Can-Am products to our wide customer base. If you are interested in any of our product, we will happily organise a demonstration or arrange a time for a test ride. During June and July 2014, if you bring a copy of this article into Can-Am Ashburton / Stihl shop Ashburton, and organise a Can-Am service, we will throw in a free oil filter. Advertising feature










oor maintenance of ATVs has been identified as a contributing factor in a number of serious accidents and fatalities. Poor tyre condition and incorrect tyre pressures, faulty or inadequate braking (including parking brake mechanisms), excessive wheel and steering play, damaged towbars and faulty suspensions have been identified


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2 20

Farming Dairy Focus

Road Safety Feature


Keeping worker’s safe on the farm and to be seen. Older work vests tend to have limited visibility and small amounts of reflective tape. If they do have reflective tape, quite often it is hidden when sitting on their bikes. Buying clothing with reflective material for day and night visibility with quality materials will make a big difference, especially in the height of cold winter days. Features to look for when purchasing safety garments 1. Are they easily visible? Garments should be highly reflective to keep you seen and safe. 2. Are they practical? Do they have big pockets to hold all those important things? 3. Are they waterproof ? Clothes should keep you warm and dry. 4. Are they versatile for your company? 5. Are they made of quality materials? Check where you purchase them from, money spent in the short run will save you in the long run. Kouldja Clothing, maker’s and stockists of the Being Seen Vest. Advertising feature

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o you have staff up and down the roads, shifting stock, getting the cows in or even just getting to the milking shed in the early hours of the morning? Providing staff with comfortable, practical and visible clothing is a great way to keep your team and yourself safe and happy. Being cautious on the roads isn’t just something farmers need to be aware of, but also builders, truck drivers, horse riders, contractors and anyone working in the outdoor environment, out and about on rural roads. Providing employees with visibility clothes is a great way to approach safety. Wearing protective clothing also ultimately saves money. It keeps the workers safe, and as such they don’t lose wages from injuries. The employers also don’t lose time for workers being out, and insurance/ACC doesn’t have to pay for compensation. A win-win situation. Be sure to buy garments that are designed for practicality

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Road Safety Feature



Keep across new road rule changes I

but regardless of the speed they are operated at, road user licences charges apply. Drivers will also need a wheels endorsement on their licence. The new rules also offer greater flexibility in terms of work hours, meaning contractors need no longer stop working because they have exceeded their limit for

the day, when the job could be finished in another hour or so. Several variations of work time hours have been introduced to allow the agricultural sector to complete tasks such as harvesting, where time is an issue. These include: • making anyone who drives a tractor or agricultural vehicle requiring a Class 1

licence exempt from work time limits • providing the option for farmers and agricultural contractors to apply for a variation to allowable work time or required rest breaks for the purpose of critical agricultural operations • introducing a simplified process to assess and approve alternative fatigue


t’s been a year since the Ministry of Transport began instigating new regulations governing the use of farm machinery on public highways. The new rules started coming into force from June 1, but all the changes will not be in place until later this year. For this reason it’s important that farmers and contractors keep up to date, with some of the old regulations still in place and others replaced with new rules. One of the most important changes which has come into force relates to how tractors are registered. Tractor operators must decide whether they wish to register their machinery as capable of travelling above 40kmh on public roads – if so the tractor must comply with the same regulations as other road-legal vehicles, and carry the applicable, simplified version of the warrant of fitness. This overrules the need for the certificate previously required for heavier tractors,

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2 22

Farming Dairy Focus


Is 100k ok?

This car was recently pulled over for driving in excess of 100km.

a little more time for that morning commute or to deice the car so that you arrive safely. This year, a Canterburywide campaign “Is 100k ok?� was launched in the region to increase awareness around the differences of rural roads and the subsequent need to adjust travelling speeds occasionally. The New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) indicated that 119 people were seriously injured or killed in 98 crashes

on roads in the Ashburton District in the past five years (2009-2013).

What caused these accidents? According to NZTA, the most common factors involved were: - Poor observation (38% of all crashes) - Poor handling (38% of all crashes) - Speed (20% of all crashes)


Canterbury Road Safety Canterbury Road Safety

66% of crashes causing injury occurred during the day and 62% happened on the open road. Drivers at fault or partfault in injury crashes were predominantly male, on their full license and have been through the NZ licensing system. Most fatal and serious crashes occur on open roads in dry conditions with good visibility. Half involve only one vehicle.

There Thereare areobvious obviousdifferences differences between motorways between motorwaysand andcountry country roads. Country roads roads. Country roadsare are narrower, narrower,have havemore morecorners, corners, less road markings and less road markings andhave have rural ruralactivities activitieshappening happeningon on and around them. While both and around them. While both may mayhave haveaa100km 100kmspeed speedlimit, limit, we need to drive at speeds we need to drive at speedsthat that reflect our surroundings. reflect our surroundings.

How to stay safe on the roads this winter Expect the unexpected on rural roads: 1) Pay attention to driving while driving 2) Drive at a speed appropriate to the conditions If you have any tips or would like to comment join the conversation at www. facebook.com/is100ok

Let Letus usknow knowwhat whatyou youthink thinkoror even evenshare shareaalocal localstretch stretchofof road you drive on at road you drive on ataalower lower speed, just because of the speed, just because of theway way ititis. is.

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While snow and ice can paint a picturesque scene, both rural and urban roads can be deadly if we do not pay full attention to the road. Rural roads have the same speed limits as motorways, but they are narrower, have less road marking and no shoulders. Gravel, loose stock and slow vehicles are a possibility. The cold can present new hazards to drivers on our roads. This means allowing


40,000 cows say Sales manager they prefer a Redpath appointed in rejig clear roof shelter I … if cow’s could talk 23

n Synlait Milk’s realigned senior team, Mike Lee to has been appointed to the newly established role of general sales manager. Managing director John Penno says the appointment follows a decision to combine the previously separate ingredient and nutritional sales teams in order to better serve its customers. “Over the past year we have made significant business development progress particularly with our tier one multinational customers.” Dr Penno said the single point of contact was to better manage relationships, with the increasing number of products Synlait was supplying. The change to the senior team structure will also increase accountability and reduce operating complexity. With more than 15 years’ dairyindustry experience in business development and sales roles in New Zealand, Asia and Europe, Mr Lee takes up the position after almost three years as Synlait’s general manager of ingredient sales.

“The infant formula market in China continues to be important to us and we are seeing new opportunities beginning to emerge as the regulatory changes taking place in that market begin to bed down,” Dr Penno said. “Working in China requires good relationships and a strong technical understanding, and therefore we have appointed Dr Tony McKenna as regional sales manager – China nutritionals reporting to Mike Lee. “Tony has over 12 years’ experience in the China market, four years of which have been while working at Synlait Milk, and this appointment will allow us to put even greater focus on developing our infant formula and nutritional business.” Synlait Milk is in the final stages of completing construction of a $27 million dry blending and consumer packaging facility, and expects to be granted registration to export finished infant formula following the approval of its risk management plan by the Ministry for Primary Industries.



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Farming Dairy Focus


Synlait reduces forecast DairyNZ after new directors A D reduced advantage from a favourable product mix in the second half of the year, and a consistently high New Zealand dollar has resulted in Synlait Milk reducing its forecast net profit after tax by about $7.5 million for the financial year. Synlait Milk chairman Graeme Milne says as a result the forecast FY2014 net profit after tax has been revised from a range of $25 to $30 million to a range of $17.5 to $22.5 million. The prospectus forecast is $19.8 million. “We had been expecting Graeme Milne, the Synlait Milk chairman. to maintain the benefits of a very favourable product mix for the remainder of from a range of $8.30 to $8.40 this financial year, however the per kgMS to $8.20 to $8.40 per exceptional market conditions kgMS. experienced in the first half of The new season forecast the year have moderated,” Mr milk price for FY2015 is $7 per Milne said. KgMS. International commodity Managing director John price volatility coupled with Penno says despite challenging a high New Zealand foreign market conditions the exchange rate has resulted in company’s financial performance the forecast milk price for the remains on track. FY2014 season being expanded “The infant formula and nu-

tritional market continues to prove challenging due to regulatory changes in China and it is clear that we will not meet our volume targets for this financial year,” Mr Penno said. “However, the development of this business in key markets outside of China with our tier one multi-national companies continues to be strong and we remain confident of meeting our long term objectives. “China remains an important market for us. We are confident of receiving the required Chinese regulatory approval to export finished infant formula into China following the approval of our Risk Management Plan by MPI for our dry blending and consumer packaging facility. Construction of this facility is scheduled for completion this month. “Along with this facility our other growth initiatives are on track. Commercial production of the high-value product, lactoferrin, commenced in April,” Mr Penno said.

airyNZ is again seeking aspiring directors who are interested in taking up an opportunity for an associate position on its board. DairyNZ chairman John Luxton says the two non-voting positions will each serve for six months consecutively. “We appointed our first two associate directors last year and it’s been a great success. Elaine Cook and Grant Wills were our pioneers and they have proven that it’s a worthwhile experience for those wanting to be directors. The DairyNZ board has also certainly gained from having fresh voices at the table,” he says. “I think we have a responsibility to help others get some first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to sit around a board table and see governance in

action. We need a pipeline of people coming through to serve on boards in our industry, and on other boards too. “This is a practical way we can help build people’s confidence and skills by learning from others,” Mr Luxton said. Anyone interested in applying for the DairyNZ associate director positions should be a current dairy farmer, have a proven commitment to governance and aspire to be a leader in the dairy industry. • To apply, applicants need to send a cover letter and a curriculum vitae to the Company Secretary, DairyNZ Inc: Private Bag 3221, Hamilton 3240 or e-mail: lynne. wagstaff@dairynz. co.nz. Applications close July 21, 2014.


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Judging your electricity exposure Grant Davies



he New Zealand sharemarket is flush with electricity companies, with the NZX50 destined to include all five in the index. In total they will equate to about 10 per cent of the NZX50 index. Investors should ask themselves what their desired exposure is to the sector and what is their preferred mix within the sector. These decisions will focus each investor’s appetite for risk. First, an investor with a low appetite for risk, that is, a conservative or balanced investor may want to have slight over-exposure to the electricity sector. The reasons for this include the defensive nature of the sector, and the comparatively high level of income the companies in this

sector generate. The sector benefits from high barriers to entry (ie, the costs of building new generation) and stable consumer demand. The companies also trade at levels close to their asset backing. Of course, if conservative investors should be overweight in the sector, then growth investors should be underweight. The reason for this is obvious, there is little growth expected in electricity demand in the medium term. This means that although growth investors should still consider the sector, particularly if it is trading at the right price, the sector should only be a bit player in the portfolio. Now that we have established which investors should be focusing on the electricity sector, we should think about which of the five companies within the sector are most suitable for each investor type. There are three major risks when investing in the electricity sector. This includes the possibility of partial or full shut down of the Tiwai Point aluminium

Benmore Dam, the largest in the Waitaki scheme, and owned by Meridian Energy.

smelter, the potential for a change of government and the introduction of the controversial New Zealand Power Policy, as well as adverse whether conditions impacting hydro lake levels. Each company is exposed to these risks to differing degrees. Perhaps the most conservative combination of power companies is a mix of Contact Energy and Genesis Energy. This is because they have the most diversified portfolio of generation assets comprising about 30 per cent hydro with non-weather related production making up the rest. This lower exposure to hydro means they are not

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as rain/snow melt dependent as some of the other listed power companies. Genesis also receives revenue from the Kupe oil and gas field in the Taranaki Basin. Both companies score on the low end in terms of risk associated with a change in government and the introduction of the New Zealand Power Policy (however unlikely that is). Tiwai Point is the biggest risk for the conservative investor. However, it is worth noting that when Meridian, Tiwai’s electricity provider, last updated the market they said usage at the smelter was up 3.4 per cent in the 10 months to April over the same

period in 2013. Rio Tinto also reported an improvement in earnings from their aluminium division, helping to dampen talk of closure. Meridian, Mighty River Power and Trustpower all have exposure to hydro meaning their fortunes will rise and fall with their lake levels. They also boast a few more growth projects, such as Meridian’s and Trustpower’s forays into Australia and Mighty River Power’s smartmetering technology. Which combination is most suitable for you will depend on many factors outside the scope of this article. • Written by Grant Davies, authorised financial advisor at Hamilton Hindin Greene Limited. This article represents general information provided by Hamilton Hindin Greene, who may hold an interest in the security. It does not constitute investment advice. Disclosure documents are available by request and free of charge through www.hhg.co.nz.

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Farming Dairy Focus


Busy time as field days prepare for


he volunteers behind the South Island Agricultural Field Days are busier than ever in the build up to next year’s event. South Island Agricultural Field Days (SIAFD) have been held in the vicinity of Christchurch every second year since 1951. The 2015 Field Days take place March 25-27 and will be the first to be held at its new home near Kirwee. SIAFD has bought a 40.4-hectare (100-acre) Kirwee property after outgrowing its former leased site near Lincoln University. In addition to getting ready to host 25,000 or more visitors, the organisers have to develop the infrastructure of the new site. Volunteers make up both the SIAFD executive committee, which provides governance, and the SIAFD organising committee, which manages the event. Most are farmers, all work in the agriculture sector, and all take time from their busy lives to plan and run the field days. Agricultural engineer David

The SIAFD organising committee holds its first meeting on the Field Day’s new site at Kirwee.

James chairs the SIAFD executive committee. Mr James says it was a major effort to find the new site and it will take another big push to get it ready for its first field days. “We had really outgrown

the Lincoln site, and we examined six or seven venues before deciding on the Kirwee property. It is a large rectangle and provides us a better layout to hold the event,” Mr James says. “We financed the purchase

through a combination of revenues from previous field days and a bank loan. The site gives us greater certainty for the future because it is half of an 82-hectare property, and we have the option to buy the other half if we need to

expand.” The executive committee has now turned the property over to the SIAFD organising committee, who will develop it from scratch. Rangiora dairy farmer Alastair Robinson chairs the

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organising committee. He manages an 800-cow dairy operation. Mr Robinson says there is a long list of tasks to be completed before next March. “Machinery demonstrations and other agricultural

technology have always been the primary focus of South Island Field Days. We will maintain this focus and will not expand to include crafts or lifestyle displays” Mr Robinson said. “To ensure we have a good crop for harvest equipment demonstrations, we have organised a half-circle centre pivot irrigation.” “We still need to organise power and water supplies throughout the site, laneways, fences, culverts, storage sheds and a sound system. “Committee members will be busy throughout 2014 preparing the venue, and in the New Year we will have working bees every week to get things finalised.” Organising committee member Daniel Schat is a 50:50 sharemilker on a family farm at Te Pirita. Mr Schat looks after communication and publicity for SIAFD. He says the organising committee is keen to find sponsors and partners to develop a professional event. “Volunteers do most of the work that makes field days a

The South Island Agricultural Field Days has said farewell to its Lincoln site and will hold its March 2015 event at its new venue at Kirwee.

success but we do pay for some services such as catering and traffic management. “We are now looking for partners to help us develop our new site’s infrastructure. In particular we need to put in laneways, remove treelines,

and add fences.” Research manager for Christchurch-based seed company Seed Force, Michaela Soper, will be in charge of parking and gate entry. She says every effort will be made to hold an efficient event

at the new site. “We look forward to hosting everyone at our new venue but please drive carefully, be patient and remember that almost everyone who serves you at field days volunteers their time.”




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Robotic milker brings human touch A

new generation robotic milker has made its debut in New Zealand. GEA Farm Technologies WestfaliaSurge launched MIone milker at the Mystery Creek Fieldays. While not the first company to offer robotic milkers to market in New Zealand, the Mlone features technology not seen before, including a specially-developed 3D camera. The camera plays a key part in co-ordinating the position of individual teats and determining where to place the cups at the start of milking. It effectively guides the teat cups on the milking rack to the cow’s teats. The constant monitoring provided by the camera provides a more human-like response to unexpected events, like cups being kicked off, with a rapid movement back to the problem bail to correct the problem. GEA FT business development manager Chris Barclay says integrated processes also ensure the system provides a high standard of teat care and cleanliness.

A 3D camera helps position the teat cups on to a cow’s teats.

Once cupped the teat is cleaned, pre-milked, stimulated and milked out without requiring brushes or other external equipment being applied, avoiding any risk of cross contamination between teats, or cows. “The system individually washes, sanitises and dries the teats, then post-milking the cups are flushed and ready for the next cow.” He is confident the MIone system will appeal to Kiwi

farmers looking for higher throughput and productivity from their investment in the robotic technology. The MIone makes its debut in New Zealand just as the first plant is being commissioned on a Gippsland property in Australia. The three-box system there will be milking 120 cows initially. Farm owner Trevor Mills said the system appealed because the design offered a true “milk centre” with the

technology and equipment concentrated in one area of the plant’s configuration. The system can operate 24/7 and matches the increase in milkings per day that typically occurs under a robotic system. “In systems overseas where cows are housed continuously and milked robotically they will tend towards three milkings over a 24-hour period, and typically milk volume harvested will lift by

about 15 per cent,” says Mr Barclay. New Zealand’s experience with robotic milking systems and pasture feeding, indicates cows will offer themselves for 1.8 to 3.3 milkings over a 24hour period. The change in technology also requires a change in mindset and work approach for farmers adopting it. “Farmers that have gone to robotic systems say they don’t necessarily work less, but they work differently, and have more time to spend on different areas of herd management, and are less constrained by the usual conventional milking demands.” Mr Barclay said the MIone compliments GEA Farm Technologies vision of being a total-solutions provider. GEA FT managing director Jamie Mikkelson says the MIone is the culmination of intensive research and development work by WestfaliaSurge and is well supported by staff skilled in integrating robotics with New Zealand pastoral systems.

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Farming Dairy Focus


Feeders provide handy solution A loose offer from one brother to another has resulted in an automatic calf feeding system that completely changes the dynamics of a calf shed. After looking at a friend’s unreliable equipment, software designer David Reid has teamed up with his brother, South Canterbury dairy farmer Alvin, to produce automatic calf feeders that provide an accurate and economical solution to calf rearing. Handy Calf Feeders offer users an automatic feeding system that saves on labour time, provides accurate feeding as and when required and is easy to set up and clean, all run from three-phase power. Users are able to create their own feeding program through the simple menu driven operating system that accurately measures the amount of milk to each calf, ensuring an even line of growth. There are currently around 75 feeders set-up throughout Canterbury and those with the system installed say the easy

to use software does the work for you, leaving more time to check over your calves. “I know each calf is getting their total amount of milk and the slower ones didn’t miss out because the faster ones can drink more.” Says Rangitata dairy farmer Sue Wyborn. The fact the system syncs with your laptop or smart phone is a big benefit for Sue as it allows her to monitor her calves feeding wherever she is, meaning calves requiring

extra attention are easily identified. “I can increase or decrease the amount calves are getting and how many times they can get feed in a day with a touch of a button.” She says. The calves are quick to learn and once reared their details can easily be transferred to your farm operating system. Feeding when they like means settled calves in a quiet shed. “You normally roll up to a calf shed and all you get is these calves screaming at you.” Says

David. “Once this system has been installed we find you can roll up and you don’t hear a peep out of them because they’re no longer associating the people with feeding them.” Whether you need a line-up of 15 feeders under cover or a roofed ‘outhouse’ in the corner of a paddock, Handy Calf Feeders will work with you to tailor a setup to suit your operation.

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Calving preparation



Hands-on advice for calf rearers

On a warm sunny day this is less of an issue, but what about those cold, windy, wet, snowy days when everything is just going wrong? The best option I have heard over the past year would be setting up an old caravan as a wee kidChanelle FACE TO cave. Warm clothes, blankets, O’Sullivan FACE portacot, healthy snacks, portable DVD player and have done a few calving books. seasons myself but Kids are very adaptable on nothing compared to the the farm and even better when wealth of knowledge among old enough to help out. more than 2000 women on There is also some brilliant Farming Mums that I talk to kids’ wet-weather gear out each day. there at the moment, which From calving 200 cows to will save you time when it 2000 cows, juggling one new comes to washing. baby or a handful of kids, Hygiene is also a huge pregnant, first-time, or 21stfactor when it comes to time, we have a huge wealth kids being involved with of knowledge among us. calves, so keep gloves, soap, So after putting the call out antibacterial wipes and to my fellow mums, we came hand sanitiser on hand to up with some good tips and help prevent the spread of tricks to survive calving – not germs and bugs such as something you will find in a campylobacter, salmonella or UGUST 2013—hANhAm 1/2PG ADVERT calf-rearing handbook, but cryptosporidium. some valuable guidelines from One good point put to us, those who have been there. was to never underestimate To begin, if you have to take the2013—hANhAm power of a 1/2PG mother ATS NEWS AUGUST ADVERT the kids with you, how do you separated from her baby, so keep them content? be very aware of this in times


If you’re helping with calving and you’ve got young children, being prepared is the best way to manage the demands of both roles.

but it should be yours. Another thing that will help, if you are becoming a fulltime calf rearer soon, is to prepare meals in advance that are ready to chuck in the oven or slow cooker. This will save you time, stress and energy once calving is in full swing. I would really recommend

when you are cutting calves from their mums in a paddock. Never leave children sitting on a quad bike or wandering around – if the cow feels threatened in any way, she will do whatever it takes – including jumping over a bike, to get back to her baby. A small child is not her concern

r offe n y r Hur s soo end


checking out the many slow cooker and “prepare 20 meals in one afternoon” type Facebook pages as even though it’s a bit more work now, it will be worth it. We also have a calving recipes section on our webpage, and under files on our Facebook page to help you out. Try to retain some normality to your usual routines, and accept any offered help. (A temporary cleaner perhaps?). And be aware that it won’t run smoothly the entire time, the kids will cry – and you may, too. Calving is a physically demanding (lose five kilogram-plus-type) job, but one of the most rewarding. You will see those calves come in as newborns, teach them to suck, watch them try meal for the first time – but my favourite part was letting them out into a grass-filled paddock for the first time. • Link to FMNZ webpage http://farmingmumsnz. wordpress.com

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Farming Dairy Focus Calving preparation


From paddock to calf shed Michelle Nelson


In the countdown to calving DairyNZ’s Virginia Sera offers some key tips to ensure the busiest time of the year goes as smoothly as possible.


heck that cows are gaining the required body condition score to achieve the target at calving. Cows do not gain much condition in the month before calving so early calvers only have June to put on the required condition. With the wet weather we had the utilisation of winter feed has been low. Assessing how cows are progressing and also how much feed is available until the end of winter is very important.

A new-born calf due for collecting and taking to the calf shed.

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Calving preparation


Be aware of key metabolic issues. If feeding fodder beet, look out for problems caused by phosphate deficiency in fodder-beet diets. These generally present in the late dry period or early lactation While both bulb and leaf always have low P content, in some crops it is very low. Increased early-lactation metabolic issues can occur after wintering on low P-content beet crops, with “alert downer” cows that respond poorly to treatment common. This syndrome is associated with low P in the diet, and is successfully prevented by using 50g dicalcium phosphate (DCP) per cow daily across the winter, by adding it to supplements. Discuss how this can be managed successfully with your vet, particularly regarding calcium metabolism around calving. On the other hand, winter brassica crops may contain high levels of calcium and only marginal levels of phosphorus. Brassicas also contain low levels of magnesium but high levels of potassium. This imbalance is conducive to milk fever, so avoid feeding brassicas to springing cows.


Book a milking-machine check with a certified tester. Repair and service teat sprayer, effluent disposal system, tractors, bikes, etc. Disinfect calf pens, get them draught free and ready to go with clean bedding and water supply. Update your cash-flow budget and evaluate your business plans with your banker and accountant. Winter spray ragwort seedlings if required. Take a winter holiday.


Welcome to the shed: curious calves line up.

Springers should be transitioned to a grass-based diet preferably two weeks before calving. Magnesium can be supplemented by supplying 60 grams/cow/ day of magnesium chloride or sulphate in the water at least one month before calving. Silage or grass for springers can be dusted with an

additional 60 grams/cow/ day of magnesium oxide. Refer to DairyNZ’s Farmfact 3-1 for more information on magnesium supplementation.

Checklist June Check cows weekly for three weeks for mastitis. Use

lactational antibiotics on infected cows. Monitor condition of cows, heifers and calves, adjusting feeding levels if required. Delouse calves and drench younger cows and calves for internal parasites. Check milking rubber-ware for signs of perish and replace as necessary.

Get pasture covers for each paddock and quantify supplements remaining. Revise your winter feed budget (sufficient for late pregnancy and some growth in ICH) Plan your first springgrazing round (sufficient transitional feed and reintroduction to some pasture) Ensure that calf pens, feeders and facilities are ready. Finish general farm maintenance jobs (fencing, gates and troughs). Update herd records. Run first calvers through the shed a couple of times if possible. Trim tails. Have a break off-farm, if Continued on page 34

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Farming Dairy Focus

2 34

Calving preparation


Checklist for calving From page 33 you haven’t done so already. Staff too. Draw up staffing roster and organise relief milkers. Check that your resource consent allows for your max number of cows.


Train new staff and relief milkers before calving. Milk young cows that are leaking pre-calving to prevent mastitis. Supplement cows with Mg throughout spring. Tail-paint calved cows and provide calcium for the first four to five days post calving. Withhold new milk from the vat for eight days, 10 milkings and screen with RMT before inclusion. Teat spray after every milking. Use extra emollient in the spring. Provide two to four litres of bulk colostrum to calves within 10 hours. Keep bobbies separate from replacements. Don’t feed antibiotic milk to bobbies. Metricheck cows in batches,

two weeks after calving Apply N once soil temps above 10degC. Limit pugging damage.

Checklist for people The time from dry off to calving is when many people take holidays and get stuck into repairs and maintenance or development jobs. It is also a great time for planning and reviewing people management on farm. With staff moving on or stepping up for more responsibility in the season to come, use this time to look back on how things have gone.

Then get your orientation and training plans sorted before it’s all hands on deck as the first calves hit the ground. • More information at dairynz.co.nz • Get a copy of the DairyNZ Spring Survival Guide. • Know your calving obligations in the Dairy Cattle Code of Welfare. • DairyNZ PeopleSmart has great information, tools and templates to help with people management. • Check the bobby calf and humane slaughter Getting calves sucking on calf feeders can be tricky. information packs.

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The facts on farm-workers’ pay rates F ederated Farmers and Rabobank have released the 2014 Farm Employee Remuneration Report. This year’s report is available to members online or in print and is also presented in a new format for ease of use. Data was collated on 4153 employment positions in the dairy, sheep, beef and arable industries, in the largest ever cross section for the farm remuneration report, Federated Farmers employment spokeswoman Katie Milne said. The People Powered report showed that dairy will need 2300 new workers and the arable sector will need 4700 more workers by 2025. By 2025 the red meat and wool workforce is expected to shrink by 5100 roles but unskilled positions will be the most affected. The need for roles with formal qualifications is actually expected to increase by 11,400 creating plenty of opportunity. “Given our survey was in

the field late 2013, the closest comparison to those working outside the farmgate is StatisticsNZ’s median weekly earnings for people in paid employment,” Ms Milne said. In the year to June 2013, but released last October, showed median annual earnings of $43,368. By comparison, the mean salary for dairy workers was $46,017 for a mean 51-hour working week mean hourly rate of $18.44 excluding benefits.  Accommodation was also provided for 77 per cent of the roles surveyed. “For sheep and beef workers the mean salary was $45,863.  This was based on a mean 45-hour working week translating into a higher mean hourly rate over dairy of $20.67 excluding benefits.  Accommodation was provided for 56 per cent of the roles surveyed,” Ms Milne said. “We found the arable sector generated the highest mean salary for pastoral agriculture of $48,814.  This was based on a mean 46-hour working week returning a mean hourly rate of $20.99 excluding

Arable farm workers topped the mean salary rankings.

benefits. Benefits like accommodation were provided for 44 per cent of the arable roles we surveyed.” The 2014 report found the average length of service in dairy was two years and four years in both arable and sheep/beef sectors. “Another fact that may dispel assumptions is that the vast majority of our employees, 86 per cent in fact, are New Zealand citizens.” The proportion of migrant labour was unsurprisingly highest in dairying at 14 per cent but overwhelmingly Kiwis dominated. “In light of recent Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment research into

Sick of hearing no?

dairy employment practices, we can report a gradual professionalisation of employment practices.” Eighty-seven per cent of farm employers are using written employment contracts versus 83.5 per cent in 2013.  “In reality this figure needs to be 100 per cent because being deficient here can put your business into employment law quicksand.  “Half of the farms surveyed were using the federation’s industry-standard contracts rising to 60 per cent for fulltime positions.  These contracts are tested, proven and cost effective.  “It also needs to be noted how low the cost is of

these vital contracts and agreements. The member price from 0800 FARMING for our standard employment contract is just $60 while our new comprehensive employment pack is just $120 plus GST, of course. Another thing to note is the mismatch of the city-based unemployed to where the rural jobs are.  “Given 35 per cent of employers reported it as being ‘not at all easy’ or ‘not very easy’ to find skilled or motivated employees, this suggests urban people with the right attitudes ought to be considering the primary industries. “Our report also highlighted farm-worker training as a topic which is in need of address by the wider industry.  With only a third of employers reporting that they provided structured training opportunities for staff, there is significant room for improvement in this area.” • Non-members can buy the report either online at www.fedfarm.org.nz or by calling 0800 327 646.

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Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Dairy focus june issuu  

Ashburton Guardian, Dairy Focus, Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dairy focus june issuu  

Ashburton Guardian, Dairy Focus, Tuesday, June 24, 2014