Dairy Focus DECEMBER, 2014
Dairy farmers are tightening their belts in view of a revised downward payout this season.
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Farming Dairy Focus
Chanelle O’Sullivan Face to Face – introduces her new baby, and talks about her plans for the new year.
COMMENT FROM EDITOR
FACE TO FACE
Matt Jones Staff Matters – discusses employer obligations over the holiday period.
Grant Davies A Broker’s View – talks Chorus from an investor’s viewpoint.
Fred Hoekstra – Veehof Dairy Services – discusses the best use of staff time.
A BROKER’S VIEW
With Christmas on the doorstep many dairy farming families will be juggling rosters to cover the statutory break, and attempting to find some down time to spend with family and friends. While the spring has been kind and milk production is up, prices are sliding down, putting a dampener on the season. There’s little doubt a lot of people will be facing tough decisions over the next six months. Many plans made on the back of last season’s record milk prices will need to be hastily revised. Don’t forget to keep an eye on family, friends and co-workers – while dealing with the economic impact will be at the top of the agenda, signs of depression and anxiety are not so readily noticed or understood. Sadly mental health is often overlooked in rural communities, but help is at hand.
The Rural Support Trust offers a strictly confidential one-stop-shop for people struggling with hardship. Keep your bank and farm advisors in the loop; and don’t make rash decisions. If need be see your doctor. Above all keep in mind that the latest cutbacks are nothing that haven’t been seen before. Those who have been in the industry for a longtime will have some good advice to offer. The average milk price over the past five years sits around the $6 mark. When the Fonterra shareholder dividend of 25-35 cents is added to the $4.70kg/MS on the table this season the payout will be about $5. Looking at this alongside last year’s $8.40kg/MS, the price is still above the $6 average. Make time catch up socially with others on the farm over the festive season. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant affair, a barbecue and a few beers will give everyone a chance to talk over their concerns. If you are employing staff bear in mind they too might be wondering about what the future holds, or have valuable ideas to contribute toward cutting costs.
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The best and worst of 2014 When Fonterra slashed its forecast farmgate milk price for this season to $4.70 per kilo of milk solids - $3.70kg/ MS down on the 2013-14 season’s record high, reality started to bite. And not only for farmers – the impact is starting to ripple out, especially in those communities heavily reliant on dairying. Federated Farmers dairy chairman Andrew Hoggard has singled out districts like Ashburton as likely to suffer a blow. Despite agricultural analysts predicting the fall, few imagined it would be as steep, and there’s still another five months of the season to get through. This time last year the picture was rosy, with high production and a record payout of $8.40kg/MS on the table. The New Zealand Dairy Statistics 2013-14, released by LIC and DairyNZ recently, pointed to the country’s 4.92 million cows having hit a new record, producing 1.83 billion kilograms of milksolids, and
The past 12 months have seen the best of times and the worst of times for many dairy farmers. Rural editor Michelle Nelson takes a look the year that was. Michelle Nelson
worth around the $15.5 billion mark. DairyNZ senior economist Matthew Newman said this should help tide farmers over in view of the rapid decline in milk prices this season. The increased production, up 30kg per cow on average, came on the back of the loss of production during the 2012-13
drought across large tracts of the North Island. New milk from more than 100,000 extra cows in the South Island herd also ramped up productivity. “It has all added up to a great combination for farmers – the best season many can recall. We’ve had good pasture growth, a high payout and farmers responded by making
the most of the opportunity to produce a lot more milk,” Mr Newman said. Nationwide the herd number is up by 2.9 per cent, equating to 138,600 extra cows on Kiwi farms. continued P4
$8.40 i i i i i i 2014/15 $4.70
From left: Dr Steve Harcourt, Andrew Hoggard and Matthew Newman.
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Farming Dairy Focus
from P3 Across the board breeding worth gains of 14 per cent and production worth gains of 10 per cent point to improved genetics. LIC commercialisation and industry relations manager Dr Steve Harcourt also thinks the progressive attitudes of New Zealand farmers will help get them through the season ahead. However, as 2014 draws to a close the fact remains many
farmers are facing a tough start to the New Year. DairyNZ’s Tim Mackle said prices were unlikely to recover during the first half of 2015, but the real crunch would come at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Given that most farmers will have already spent 60 per cent of their total farm working expenses, there will be limited potential to cut back at this point in time, he said. Fonterra chairman John Wilson said
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while the lower forecast was expected, the revision will put pressure on farm budgets, and there was no sign of the market stabilising in the near future. “There is still considerable volatility in global dairy markets,” he said. “Right now we are seeing a number of factors that are delaying a sustained return to higher global prices.” Prices were down 1.1 per cent at the latest GlobalDairyTrade (GDT)
auction last week and have fallen by 50 per cent since February. The GDT price index is at its lowest level since 2009, as a result of stiff competition, predominantly from the US, and a stockpile of product in China. While there has been considerable criticism of the forecasting system, Mr Hoggard says it would be impossible for Fonterra to change its farmer payout after
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every GDT auction. “Yes, better forecasting would be great, but at the start of the year who predicted that the Ukraine would go pearshaped or that the worst ebola outbreak in history would occur?” he said. “I’m surprised that the Chinese over-purchase wasn’t picked up, but then people sneaking around China peering into warehouses are usually frowned upon in quite a severe fashion by the authorities.”
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Spreading healthy eating message Backing their young employees to learn a few cooking skills is paying dividends for North Canterbury dairy farmers, with happier, more productive staff. “People can be outstanding on-farm and work really hard, but they’re only as good as the fuel they put into themselves,” dairy farmer Darin Bradley said. Funky Farmworkers Food is a pilot programme to help support a healthy, happy workforce on farms. It was set up by Injury Prevention Waimakariri, Oxford Community Trust and Rural Canterbury PHO (Primary Health Organisation), aiming to spread the healthy eating message. Recently appointed coordinator Jody Glassford, whose husband is a dairy farmer, says young farm workers who don’t know how to cook often turn to junk food. Farm owners who sign
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up have to supply workers with a slow cooker and a sandwich press and Funky Farmworkers provide mentors to help with recipes and generally keep a friendly eye on young workers. “A lot of the young staff may have just left home so it’s about helping them and giving them a few ideas, reminding them if they put something in the slow cooker in the morning it’ll be ready
by the time they finish work in the evening,” Jody said. “The mentor is there to support them and help them out if they’re struggling.” Farm assistant Jonathon Rutherford lives alone in a house on the farm and since his boss Darin set him up with a slow cooker, he’s enjoyed coming home to a nutritious hot meal at the end of the day. “You just spend 30 minutes
preparing it in your breakfast break and by the time you get home, it’s good to go,” Jonathon said. Jonathon reckons having good tucker also helps him stay warm on cold days. “If you feel warm, you have a better attitude and more of a drive, otherwise when you’re cold, you slow down.” Darin has noticed a change in Jonathon since he started eating better. “I do think productivity has increased and I could see it over calving time when he
was knocking off at five or six o’clock. He was really excited to get home and have a good feed as soon as he walked in the door, ready to rock. It just created a more positive attitude.” Jody says employers who sign up to the programme are keen to look out for the health and wellbeing of their employees. “Employees appreciate the support and in turn employers benefit from staff who are well-fuelled and ready for their day at work.”
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Ecologist: Te Waihora can be res Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere may have a reputation for being one of the most polluted lakes in New Zealand, but Canterbury University Freshwater Ecology Professor Jon Harding is optimistic about the future of the iconic lake. Improving the lake’s water quality “won’t be an easy fix” he told the recent Whakaora Te Waihora science hui, but with time and help he believes Te Waihora can be restored to good health. Professor Harding and his team, known as the CAREX project, have been involved in large-scale experiments looking into the restoration of waterways flowing into Te Waihora. The project is unique in New Zealand and the team of eight, four of whom are working fulltime on the project, is stretched by the ambitious undertaking – a study that includes a one-kilometre stretch on 10 different Canterbury waterways from Rangiora to Hinds. Two of these are in the Te
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Waihora catchment. Funded by the Mackenzie Charitable Foundation of Ashburton, the CAREX project involves the joint restoration programme Whakaora Te
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of Environmental Science & Research. Professor Harding and his team are already six years into the project and the initial small-scale proof of concept
experiments are now being scaled up over larger areas on the selected waterways. The project will run for four more years. “There has always been a lot
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of focus on the health of the lake itself, but I believe it is critical that restoration starts at the top of the catchment,” Professor Harding said. “You can do no end of things
inside the lake but the reality is, the source of many of the contaminants lies in the waterways that feed into the lake. “We believe absolutely that surface water research
needs to start at the top – in the small drains and streams that ultimately deliver problem sediments and excess nutrients into the lake much further downstream.”
Professor Harding said that even if significant positive results may not be seen for decades, small, gradual, manageable steps will have an impact. “The polluted lake we have today is the legacy of 150 years of intensifying land use,” he said. “Unfortunately, many people have tended to view waterways as dumping grounds – that dilution is the solution – but that’s a fallacy. Waterbodies have limits to the levels of contaminants they can process and Te Waihora has gone past that limit. “That said, streams, rivers and lakes have a remarkable ability to recover from almost anything with the right restoration programmes applied over time. “This is a long-term project but I’m optimistic that improving water quality and bio-health in upstream systems will have significant benefits for Te Waihora.” The CAREX project is focused on three key issues – the excessive fine sediment loads being exported into the lake; the
high nutrient levels, especially nitrates and sediment-bound phosphorous; and the nuisance aquatic weeds such as monkey musk and watercress that choke waterways, raise water levels and accumulate sediment. “It’s an ambitious undertaking, but in the next six to nine months we’ll see if our experiments work or not,” Professor Harding said. “It’s all about working out how we might successfully restore these waterways, at the same time giving catchment landowners the tools to make a difference to the quality of water flowing into Te Waihora. “Te Waihora is unique in New Zealand. “It’s by far the biggest lowland lake in the country and it should be the jewel in our crown. With the right tools in place, we can restore it to good health,” Professor Harding concluded. For more information on the Whakaora Te Waihora joint restoration programme go to www.tewaihora.org, Twitter: @ tewaihora
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Farming Dairy Focus
Rivers low after settled weather River flows in all Canterbury foothill rivers have been exceptionally low this spring due to a long period of settled and dry weather starting in August and running into the end of November. “We’ve had enquiries from members of the public who have noticed the low flows in their local rivers, and are concerned about the effect this is having on water quality and ecosystem health,” said Tim Davie of Environment Canterbury. “We noticed in September that many streams were beginning to display lower than usual flows. “As a result in some areas we are already measuring flows more often so we can better track what is happening to our streams and rivers.” In North Canterbury flows are lower than average. For example French Farm Stream on Banks Peninsula had the second-lowest monthly mean ever in September and October with a similar trend for Lyell Creek in Kaikoura. “We are expecting a surface water deficit going into
The braided upper Rangitata River. PHOTO PETER LANGLANDS
summer which is expected to be a dry period. We will continue to make additional river measurements. “It is exceptional that in South Canterbury the Orari River – which flows from the foothills past Geraldine to the coast near Temuka – become unconnected across the plains during spring. The Orari recently was at a flow rate of 3.9 cubic metres per second (cumecs) at
a monitoring site in the Orari Gorge, well below the average November mean flow of 9.3 cumecs. The lowest recorded flow for November was 2.95 cumecs in 1984. The last substantial flood flow in the Orari was in early June, and floods provide much of the water which soaks into the plains and helps to keep the river connected between the coast and foothills. Other South Canterbury
rivers are showing similar low flows with the Hinds, Waihao, Orari and Otaio rivers dry where they cross State Highway 1.The Opuha lake level is 386.72 metres compared with a full level of 391.2 metres.
Environmental effects of low flows and how that is managed
The low flows in Canterbury rivers will be having an effect on river health and ecosystems. The provisions in plans such as the Orari River Plan and the Land and Water Regional Plan - are designed to protect stream and ecosystem health by putting limits on the amount of water that can be taken from rivers and streams. What this means is when the flow in a particular river goes below a certain point, water takes for irrigation must stop. Environment Canterbury’s response in a potential dry season such as this is to ensure that river flows are being accurately and adequately monitored and that water-use restrictions are put in place in time to protect rivers. Water users are also being reminded regularly of the need to use water as efficiently and effectively as possible. For more information on river flows visit: http://ecan.govt.nz/ services/online-services/ monitoring/river-flows/ pages/default.aspx
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Baby’s born, time to set my goals Four weeks post birth and my mind is already saying; “Labour wasn’t THAT bad, right!?” Which is slightly disconcerting as I vividly remember saying “no more” about three seconds after popping him out! At 7lb 13oz and 11 days late we had wee Hunter and I’m lucky enough to say he has been a cruiser ever since, with an extremely doting big sister. For the first couple of weeks (and last two months of pregnancy), I found myself losing interest in most things I was involved with, just waiting to feel and look normal again! Thankfully this is coming to an end and while we are adjusting to the new normal, I am chomping at the bit to get my teeth stuck into something and I’m already thinking about what direction I want to head in in 2015. I become a bit useless when I’m not busy. To function, I really need to-do lists, emails to reply to, spreadsheets to fill out, gardens to plant and projects on the go and goals to hit – or I find myself moping around doing nothing at all.
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So next year, after a busy 2013/14, I’m going to be bold and say, I want to get paid. I’m not sure for doing what just yet, but I certainly want it to be within the agricultural sector and I feel that on-farm technology is becoming the way of the future for those farmers who are wanting to push themselves to be the best. Next problem – I can’t relocate and really do not want to put Hunter into daycare, which means finding something that has flexible hours, working from home, related to agriculture and pays enough to send Izzy to kindy a couple days a week (80km round trip), keep up with my dairy milk Whittakers chocolate habit AND buy new running pants that make my butt look great despite
the chocolate habit. So now this is making me think of my goals for 2015 ... I would love to lose the extra 6kg left over from pregnancy (plus the other eight), I would like to be working from home, in a job I love that is set to benefit others within the agriculture sector, while balancing kids and housework. Getting back up to four runs a week, make double the amount of cider I made last year to 24 litres, find a really good bread recipe to cut down on store bought, keep my vege garden going year round AND get dressed as I leave the bedroom each morning to prevent the “is-that-a-carcoming-up-the-driveway” panic to find some clothes! There will be more goals no doubt, but I will start there and see how many I conveniently forget about during the year – and how many more I make while under the influence over Christmas! Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year and PLEASE take some time off to hang out with the family, even if it is between milkings.
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Staff entitlements over festive season Can you believe that the silly season is upon us again?! We often get asked at this time of year by farmers who are new to employing staff about employee entitlements over the holidays. Are you up to speed? Know your dates! Keep a record of the approaching stat days, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both land on a Thursday, and Boxing Day and January 2 are both on a Friday. So why is this important? As these are all typical or ordinary work days for most, this will affect staff entitlements. Let’s be transparent about what your staff are required to be paid. Do you really need any disputes while your payroll person is away on holiday?! If on these stat or public holidays your staff are working on an ordinary work day, they will get paid time
and a half and receive a day in lieu. If they’ve taken that day off due to the holiday break they just get paid for a normal day’s work. If any of these days aren’t an actual ordinary work day for your employee and they work for you, they’re entitled to time and a half and no day in lieu. If they don’t normally work that day no pay or day in lieu apply. What exactly is an ‘ordinary work day’? A day your employee would normally work, as simple as that. Ordinary work days can be matched up to extended summer rosters if anyone is unsure. Don’t forget you can always refer to your employee agreements and typical work patterns. This way you can avoid any unwanted
misunderstandings. How you do transfer a public holiday? Employers and employees can agree to transfer the observance of public holidays to another work day. Beneficial to both parties this can work well to meet the needs of your business, or the individual preference of your farm worker. The stat holiday to be observed by your staff must be on an identifiable calendar day, or 24 hour period and otherwise be a working day for the employee. Is transferring a public holiday different to a day in lieu? Yes it is. I suggest that both parties involved should make the agreement in writing so everything is legit. Make sure the agreement doesn’t reduce the number of public holidays which an employee is entitled to so everything is above board. The overall intention of a transfer cannot be used to avoid paying your staff time and a half for working on a public holiday or providing
them with an alternative holiday, although this may be end result. It’s important to note that your staff are entitled to a paid day off on the day the public holiday is transferred to. If your employee works on the day the public holiday is transferred to, then they are entitled to be paid time and a half for the hours worked and to receive a whole day’s alternative holiday. All this isn’t difficult as long as the employee and employer have a mutual arrangement in writing stating that the employee will work on the transferred holiday. Key takeaways: ■■ Know your dates ■■ Stick to your seasonal pay requirements ■■ Get everything in writing The team at Agstaff wish you a safe and happy Christmas and we look forward to helping your farming operation find the best agricultural staff in 2015. Matt Jones is managing director of Agstaff
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Farm open day popular with city kids Lincoln University Dairy Farm (LUDF) has opened its gates to more than 900 visitors, showcasing the operations of a commercial dairy farm and giving the public an opportunity to learn about the transformation of sunshine into food. Friday was a schools only day which saw approximately 350 Year 9 and 10 students from nine secondary schools arrive in a range of vans and buses (including an old double decker bus) to be immediately taken on a guided tour of the science and business of dairy farming. School finishing times meant there was a quick view of milking at 2.30pm before departing, but not before the effects of a hot nor’wester were alleviated by a round of ice-creams. Although Saturday’s general public day was met with more moderate weather, there was still a steady supply of free dairy products on hand for sampling; such as a range of cheeses, yoghurt and more ice-cream. Visitors were given
an overview of the multifaceted world of modern dairy farming; such as photosynthesis, soil types, irrigation, pastures, cows, milking, and the important aspect of collecting and processing milk for export to international markets. “The purpose of the open days are to connect visitors with the transformation of ‘sunshine into food’ and answer their questions regarding the science and technology of producing milk
on farm,” says Ron Pellow, Executive Director of SIDDC. “We started the LUDF Farm Open Day last year and added a specific event for secondary schools this year. Visitors often want to view cows being milked, so we’re pleased our proximity to Christchurch enables us to give this opportunity on an annual basis. At the same time we can enhance their connection to where and how our food is produced,” he says. Overall the organisers were
pleased with the attendance. The 160 hectare, 560 cow Lincoln University Dairy Farm is operated by the South Island Dairying Development Centre (SIDDC) and is run as a fully-commercial demonstration farm, showcasing best practice dairy farming. SIDDC is itself a partnership between seven key New Zealand organisations involved in South Island dairying: Lincoln University, DairyNZ, Ravensdown, LIC, Plant & Food Research,
AgResearch and SIDE. “LUDF operates as both a demonstration farm for other farmers, and a commercial entity. We also have the stated aim to increase productivity on the farm without increasing the farm’s overall environmental footprint. This makes the information that comes out of SIDDC very relevant for farmers and the farm itself the perfect place to open up to the public to show how it all fits together,” says Ron.
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How power costs can be reduced South Island farmers can save huge money with World Solar NZ by understanding how their power costs can be reduced with a Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System. World Solar director Doone Morrell said the New Zealand based company has installed over 2000 solar panels in the South Island since they opened in February 2014, but after recently installing systems on two dairy sheds they are just realising the huge savings dairy farmers can expect. “I had a roofing business on the Gold Coast of Australia, and one day in 2008 I was asked by a customer if we could put solar panels on as well. I outsourced that particular job but I took a keen interest in what they were doing, he says. After some extensive research, Doone hired more staff, did the training and expanded the business. “It was around this time solar energy was beginning to boom in Queensland, so we became very busy and gained plenty of experience over the next five or six years,” he says. Doone set up in New Zealand because most of the Australian based team were from the South Island. We were all starting to raise families and it was time to head back “to the green grass of home”. “We also knew that Solar PV was
over-priced and subsequently underutilised in NZ so we thought we could try make a difference to the market,” he says. “My brother Alan is now the manager of World Solar Australia and we run the two as different companies.” World Solar NZ provides a obligation-free onsite visits and analysis of farmers current energy use. The personalized service matches the farmer with a suitably sized Solar PV System to help counter their energy costs. “We explain and provide a cost benefits proposal, outlining the one-off cost of the system and the on-going savings that the system would have on their business.” It was usually around 15 per cent return on investment. The panels come with a 25 year performance warranty so that gives the farmer a guaranteed long term saving, and who knows how much conventional power will cost in the future.” “We are well aware how busy dairy farmers are, so we can explain a lot of this data over the phone and email. “A lot of farmers might also believe solar is a product just for the ‘households’ but it’s actually a product perfectly suited for big business and it’s a simple product to understand,”
he says. Doone and his wife, Emma, who is the accountant for the business were raised in the tight knit Riverton community in Southland. World Solar NZ pride themselves on their trusted staff, with some of their closest friends from the area on the team - “We hire people we know we can rely on, and we don’t want to let each other down with shoddy management or workmanship,” Doone says. Doone enjoys meeting the clients and hearing their feedback on the systems once they are installed. He says anyone looking at using a service in the industry look for an experienced team of Clean Energy Council (CEC) accredited installers, get at least three quotes (one from World Solar NZ of course) and cross reference the specification sheets of the products that the different companies offer. Doone says World Solar NZ has installed Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Systems on over 9000 residential and commercial buildings throughout Australasia but the most rewarding job was for a village in Thailand. “Back in 2011 we helped install an 8mW Solar Panel Farm for a village in Thailand - that farm powers around 5000 homes,” he says.
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Solar PV Facts: • The solar system will be feeding/ selling power back into the grid during the winter months while the dairy shed is not in use, but the vast majority of their savings will come from not having to pay for importing power. • The price of power in New Zealand has more than doubled over the last 10 years. • World Solar take care of all of the paper work - including council, grid approval, solar meter changeover etc, • Installing a solar system is mainly a financial decision but has environment benefits as well. • There is no ongoing maintenance, other than giving the panels an occasional hose down.
World Solar invites all members of the farming community investigate the large financial benefits of solar energy: it’s an uncomplicated process that could benefit a range of farming practices such as dairy sheds, wintering barns, irrigation systems and off-grid systems for powering isolated farm buildings.
World Solar are THE AFFORDABLE option for energy conscious farmers. Talk to the team that offers the highest quality products at the lowest prices. Comprehensive warranties and ongoing support makes for a sound long term investment. Our PV panels produce energy from daylight so they still produce energy on cold and cloudy days.
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Meeting in the middle for employees DAIRY BUSINESS CENTRE (NZ) LIMITED There are always two sides to every story, with the truth usually lying somewhere in between. All too often in the dairy industry we hear of the most disastrous scenarios, coming from both the employees and employers, of how terrible the work situation is, with both sides spouting that the blame lies firmly on the other party’s shoulders. Although the blame game can be very satisfying, it inevitably results in there being no resolution of the original problem(s), and almost always impacts negatively on farm performance and long term personal satisfaction for all involved. The agriculture sector, particularly dairying, has the second highest staff turnover in New Zealand, second only to those that flip burgers and wait tables. Hospitality is an industry long considered by many employees as an intermediary job until they finish their study, or until something better comes along. The intermediary and seasonal nature of the fast food/hospitality industry inflates this turnover, making agriculture the leader. Approximately 25 per cent of all staff are consistently turned over
annually, and nearly 50 per cent of new employees only last the first year of employment. Throughout all industries, retaining staff year-in yearout is proven to be the key to stability and profitability. Yet the dairy industry insists on one year contracts and seems to be in the habit of “cleaning house” annually. The cost of “cleaning house” seems to be overlooked and underestimated. The employer has the cost and time
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lost during interviewing and training, not to mention new staff to a business, irrespective of experience, always undergo a learning phase that usually lasts the entire first year. It is not until the second and subsequent years that training and the cost of employment actually begins to pay dividends for the employer. Continual changing of staff is at the expense of the business. Likewise, employees are willing to change jobs for a few thousand dollars, or the chance that the next job maybe better, only to realise too late, that they are in no better a situation. The cost of moving has soaked up most of their salary increase and often overlooked is the impact on their family, friends and themselves, particularly those with children. Moving house and schools can be very traumatising and have negative long-lasting effects on the level of education achieved and attitude to life, creating a culture with the absence of stability, security, loyalty, resilience and accomplishment, leaving a generation of people that just give up if the going gets tough. If we continue on this path, the turnover rate is only set to increase at the expense of all people involved in the agricultural industry. Perhaps we should be looking at three to five year contracts? Or maybe contracts with a clear progression plan throughout the business, realistic and personalised standards and KPIs to be met annually for advancement? Having staff that clearly know and understand their roles, the farm, the systems and the routines, will result in improved performance and satisfaction. This is much easier to achieve through the regular training of staff, and then retaining these staff on farm for the subsequent seasons, thus spreading the training costs over three to five years rather than a single year. Staff, including owners and managers, are an integral part of the farming business, and should be seen and treated like the biggest asset of farm. Failure to do so can result in poor farm performance, or in extreme cases, accidents and a court case. Dairy workers are people who, in most cases, come to be on a dairy farm because they enjoy the lifestyle.
People want to be there and are willing to learn, however like in any business, they need the incentive to grow, develop their skills and improve themselves. They look to their experienced peers for guidance and as role models. That means that the development of staff is directly related to how the staff relate to each other and management. DairyNZ has an excellent range of free online resources that can help management define roles, recruit the right people, create rosters and much more. The training of staff needs to be done in general through institutions like PrimaryITO and farm-specific training through the onfarm management. Courses like Rural Staff Management and the Diploma in Farm Management can help increase the knowledge base of staff, assisted by practical examples through their experiences on the farm. Arising from the need to educate owners, farmers, managers and staff about the importance of nutrition, feed efficiency and profitability, Dairy Business Centre (NZ) Limited has developed the dairymastersTM training programme, a range of courses, workshops and field days specifically tailored to educate all levels of staff involved in the dairy industry. The dairymastersTM Nutrition Training Course combines the areas of profit-planning, cow nutrition, ration balancing, animal health, pasture management and milk production management, with training in effective dairy feeding strategies. These courses progress from understanding basic animal nutrition through to balancing your own rations and learning the other processes necessary to develop a customised, profit-based feeding strategy built to ruling milk prices with the aim of improving overall farm performance and achieving sustainable, long-term business goals. Suitable for all types of farm situations, whether grass only or supplementary feeding, farmers throughout New Zealand are finding these training courses to be an essential tool in assisting with the planning of their dairy farming futures over the long-haul with more confidence and peace of mind. A changing in the tides is hopefully on the horizon if both employees and employers can enter into the employment process with the right attitudes. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, and maybe the grass at home could thrive with just a little bit of encouragement. Remember, education is one of the keys to creating mutually beneficial and sustainable employment situations, resulting in long term tenure and profitability for all involved. For more information on dairymastersTM training programmes, contact the team at Dairy Business Centre (NZ) Limited on 03 308 0094 or email dairymasters@dairybusiness. co.nz. Advertising feature
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In last month’s article, I mentioned that according to Dairy NZ the average cost per lame cow is around $500 including lost production and treatment costs etc - and that on average 35% of your herd will be lame in a season. That means that for every 100 lame cows, you could be losing around $50,000 from lower production and treatment costs etc. So with dairy farmers needing to look very carefully at every dollar of expenditure right now, what is the best way to control your hoof trimming costs? And even if your staff have some spare time on their hands, is spending a couple of hours a day trimming hooves really the most profitable use of their time?
If for example you had 100 lame cows and it takes your staff about 1 hour to trim 5 cows, then it would take them 20 hours to trim those cows. And if you were paying them $15/hour then it would cost you about $300 to trim those cows. The other option is to get a professional trimmer in. They may charge you $15/ cow so the cost to treat these cows would now be $1500. In other words by doing it yourself you could save $1200, always assuming your staff member is highly trained and does a similar quality job as a professional trimmer. However - the professional completed the job in 5 hours and has therefore just freed up your staff for around 15 hours to do other things.
So what could your staff do with that 20 hours that could be more profitable for you?
For a start they would need to concentrate on activities that reduce lameness - so, what should those activities be? One major cause of lameness is the lack of resting time. It’s well known that a lack of resting time leads to stress which means more lameness, along with other problems. So what can your staff do to ensure your cows get more rest by spending more time in the paddock?
And remember that every case of lameness you can remove could save you around $500.
In other words, if you make a few changes in your farm management and use the same staff member to implement those changes, you might reduce the number of lame cows in our example by up to 50% - saving yourself $25,000. Another thing you could do is to have smaller herds. But, I hear you say, smaller herds
means more herds which requires more staff time. Remember, however, that you now have more labour hours available if your staff member is not trimming cows anymore. So to summarise, it’s well worthwhile considering these
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Farming Dairy Focus
Politicians get the facts on irrigation In an effort to dispel myths about water storage and irrigation, IrrigationNZ with the support of some of our members, hosted a breakfast recently for over 70 politicians, industry and business representatives and NGOs in Wellington. The aim was to educate urban audiences, particularly Wellington’s corporate and government sectors, about the role irrigation plays in maintaining New Zealand’s competitive and vibrant agricultural industry. IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop opened proceedings by describing what breakfast might look like without irrigation compared to the full and varied breakfast plate on offer. The stark contrast between the nonirrigated ‘black coffee and wild salmon’ menu compared to the diverse offerings on the day couldn’t have been more effective. Nicky went on to describe the efforts the irrigation industry is putting into environmental stewardship and community partnerships.
Getting urban New Zealand to recognise the contribution of irrigation was the driving force behind IrrigationNZ’s recent Wellington breakfast.
“Irrigating farmers in New Zealand are constantly innovating and improving at their own expense for the benefit of all. Today we’re asking urban New Zealand to recognise these efforts.” IrrigationNZ has known for some time that antiirrigation rhetoric frequently
develops in urban centres, like Wellington, partly because of remoteness from rural communities, but also through lack of knowledge and understanding of how farming works. The aim of the breakfast was to show Wellingtonians that their irrigating counterparts are
not only helping sustain their quality of life, but are also making significant efforts to manage land and water sustainably. To help us sell our message, representatives from several irrigation schemes around New Zealand joined the breakfast, including Robyn Wells, CEO of the North Otago Irrigation Company (NOIC) and Mid Canterbury dairy farmer Mark Slee, an IrrigationNZ board member. Both speakers were able to provide a first-hand perspective on what irrigation schemes and irrigating farmers are doing to mitigate environmental impacts onfarm as well as demonstrate the wider economic contribution of irrigation. In his opening remarks, Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Nathan Guy, commended IrrigationNZ for arranging the breakfast and said that events like this play an important role in educating New Zealanders about where their food comes from. “Highlighting New Zealand’s international
excellence in irrigation practice to urban audiences is key to getting greater acceptance of water storage and irrigation throughout the country. New Zealand has trebled its production of meat and wool and doubled its production of grain since large scale irrigation was put in 10 years ago. The significance of irrigated land which produces 20 per cent of our primary industry export earnings from 6 per cent of our productive land should not be underestimated,” he said. IrrigationNZ is pleased with the response this Wellington audience gave us. We intend to offer more opportunities along these lines for urban New Zealanders to learn about the latest irrigation theory and practice in order to change perceptions. Modern irrigation, including precision technologies, is highly efficient and innovative and our industry and irrigating farmers are keen to engage further with urban communities to relay this story.
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Driven to plant trees at Coalgate farm North Canterbury farmers Roger and Francie Taylor are planting trees along a polluted stream running through their property at Coalgate, upstream of the Selwyn River and Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere. Since the Taylors settled at Glendore seven years ago, water quality has abruptly declined as much of the farm’s 600-hectare watershed was converted from sheep and beef to intensive dairying. Happy Jack Creek where their grandchildren once swam has filled with stinking sediment. The creek runs into the Selwyn River near Hororata then feeds into Te Waihora/ Lake Ellesmere. The Whakaora Te Waihora (www.tewaihora.org) programme led by Ngai Tahu and Environment Canterbury is working to reverse the declining health of the lake caused by increasing inflows of nutrients and sediment. Selwyn-Waihora Zone committee chairman and Selwyn District councillor Pat McEvedy says efforts to clean up Te Waihora rely on people like the Taylors doing good
Trees Roger Taylor planted on his Coalgate farm are now taller than PHOTOS SUPPLIED he is.
work along the length of the catchment. Central Plains Water (CPW) plans to start building a head race for its new irrigation scheme on the Taylors’ property this summer. As shareholders, they are looking forward to the financial and social benefits that the scheme will bring to the district. Mr McEvedy says CPW will carry alpine surface water to the Selwyn-Waihora Zone, improving the flow of lowland streams and the health of
Te Waihora. The effects of intensification will be managed by Variation 1 to the proposed Land & Water Regional Plan, including policies and rules towards achieving community goals for freshwater set under the collaborative Canterbury Water Management Strategy. The Honda TreeFund this year contributed $4000 towards planting and fencing native trees, shrubs and grasses at Glendore, raised by Honda New Zealand and its agents in Christchurch and Timaru. Six years before settling on
the 56-hectare property, the Taylors started clearing debris from streams, spraying gorse and planting 9000 native plants beside waterways. The planting cost some $35,000 and eight months of their time, plus follow-up weed control. Black beech, totara, ribbonwood, kowhai and kahikatea now grace the banks of Happy Jack Creek together with shrubby species grown by Southern Woods Tree Nursery from seeds and cuttings collected in the area. Newer plantings along a tributary and a hillside spring include native pittosporum, toe toe, flax, carex and coprosma. Mr Taylor says close to 100 per cent of trees have survived since he started using protective guards with built-in woollen mulch pads to exclude pests and herbicide spray while holding moisture. “Fencing sure took away the worry about stock getting stuck in waterways,” he said. “And we’re enjoying an increase in native skinks, weta and birds including kingfishers and bellbirds.” As well as planting on their
own property, the Taylors attend Te Ara KakarikiGreenway Canterbury Trust planting days. These aim to increase the native vegetation that remains on the Canterbury Plains, especially near the Selwyn River. Environment Canterbury also awarded the Taylors $2000 from its Canterbury Biodiversity Fund in 2012 and Selwyn District Council has contributed about $6000 from its Natural Environment Fund over the past four years. Protecting and restoring native ecosystems and healthy waterways are among the goals of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.
Plantings benefit birds Environment Canterbury will this year distribute $40,000 raised by Honda New Zealand and Honda dealerships for native planting projects in Canterbury. continued over page
Farming Dairy Focus
www.guardianonline.co.nz September. Organiser Peter Hill said: “Three buses arrived and people got out like a swarm of locusts and in one and a half hours, all the plants were in the ground.” Planting along the steep banks of a spring-fed Hanmer Stream, on a lifestyle block at Leeston. In September Malcolm McLachlan finished planting a zig-zag row of natives at the top of the channel’s banks and sedge above water level.
Other projects with 2013-14 funding include:
He Timatanga Hou – restoration of 5ha of hillside above the Kaikoura racecourse at South Bay. Community volunteers have planted over 5000 locally-sourced native seedlings to restore coastal forest and bring birds back. This year they finished building a walkway, linking South Bay and the Kaikoura District Council Peninsula walkway.
Sumner Environment Group, for the restoration at Sumner Beach using native dune species. This project won the public land category in the 2014 Canterbury Weedbuster Awards supported by Environment Canterbury, the Department of Conservation and Canterbury territorial authorities. Plants are ordered but not in the ground. Marshlands, where a forest larger than Deans Bush is being established by the Styx River on a Christchurch City Council reserve. This winter community volunteers including NZI Insurance staff planted the Honda TreeFund seedlings, all species extinct in Riccarton Bush and climbers.
Protective planting: Seedlings paid for by the Honda TreeFund line a waterway at Glendore Farm.
In the three years since the project started, more than 3600 kahikatea, 1800 totara and 800 matai have been planted. The Kahukura Rongoa Maori Trust, uniting all six local runanga, is planting traditional medicinal plants. Community planting at Southshore Spit Reserve – Te Karoro Karoro, South Brighton. The site has been cleared for planting.
Waimairi Stream in Ilam, clearing of unwanted trees including Chilean mayten, sycamore, and cedar as well as invasive bamboo and groundcreepers. Native species have been purchased to take their place but not yet been planted.
Te Ara Kakariki-Greenway Canterbury Trust for a Green Dot planting on a lifestyle block at Dunsandel in
Creating a bird path in an area previously planted in pines in Carrs Rd, near Rangiora. Ashley School, planting a wetland ecosystem inside a predator-proof fence at the Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust-administered Tuhaitara Coastal Park, between the Waimakariri and Ashley river mouths.
Ashworth Ponds Dune Restoration plantings, plants for erosion control along Ashworth beach. Cheviot Beautification Group, planting native seedlings at the northern and southern entrances to Cheviot township; last planting recently with plans to continue the beautification project.
Ashburton District Carew Peel Forest School, replacing a hedge which blew down with a native planting extending from the roadside towards the school. The planting was done in autumn 2013 as a feed source for birds.
Timaru CoastCare, planting natives at Washdyke Lagoon/ Waitarakao near Timaru as cover for little blue penguins and other native fauna including bird and insect species and common skink lizards. Plants include scrambling pohuehue Meuhlenbeckia complexa – which provides habitat for a range of insects along with fleshy seeds eaten by lizards and birds. Roncalli School planted 83 native species at Otipua Wetland recently, and students are learning about traditional Maori use. The site is inside a larger restoration project, managed by the Otipua Charitable Trust which will maintain the school plantings. Lucas Associates guided plant selection. Otipua Wetland is a Canterbury Biodiversity Trail site, just south of Timaru on Saltwater Creek downstream of the SH1 bridge.
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Canterbury’s dairy farms in the 2013-14 season There’s a focus on continuing improvement for dairy effluent compliance across Canterbury
Full Compliance by Zone Key:
This is part of the ongoing work on to improve freshwater quality and quantity across Canterbury – which is being led by community zone committees set up as part of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy.
Full compliance Non-compliance
While dairy compliance is just one aspect of farm environmental management, the results over the past few years are indicative of the broader progress being made across the dairy industry.
Kaikoura 24 dairy farms
The information here is summarised from the Canterbury Region Dairy Report 2013-14 which is available on www.ecan.govt.nz.
Compliance Grades Full compliance
Hurunui Waiau 87 dairy farms
Waimakariri 99 dairy farms
Dairy Farms Monitored
Banks Peninsula 5 dairy farms
Selwyn Waihora 215 dairy farms
Upper Waitaki 4 dairy farms
Ashburton 374 dairy farms
Herd Size (2013-14)
Full Compliance by Season
Orari-Opihi-Pareora 157 dairy farms
75 % 50
Lower Waitaki 128 dairy farms
2006-07 07-08 08-09 09-10 10-11 11-12 12-13 13-14
Canterbury Water Management Strategy Zones
Farming Dairy Focus
A first for Westland Milk Products Hokitika-based dairy cooperative Westland Milk Products has recorded its highest ever one-day collection, with its tankers bringing in a little over four million litres of milk on October 31. In spite of a wet and cold season on the West Coast, Westland’s shareholders have pulled out all the stops to lift production by more than 5 per cent last year. By the end of November shareholders had sent some 335 million litres of raw milk to the company’s plants in Hokitika and Rolleston, with several months of the season still to go. Coast-based shareholders produced a 3 per cent increase on this time last year and their Canterbury shareholders are up by more than 14 per cent. Chief executive of New Zealand’s second biggest dairy co-operative Rod Quin says the record production continues a series of record years for Westland and is a credit to shareholders on both sides of the Alps.
A Westland Milk Products tanker.
“Weather plays a big part in production figures,” Quin says, “but so does farm management practices and our shareholders have shown that they are right up there in terms of efficiency and herd management.” Quin says that the peak flows stretched Westland’s
current processing capacity to the limit and he looked forward to the new dryer seven at Hokitika coming on stream for next season and the UHT plant in Rolleston following shortly after that. The new plant will enable Westland to process more
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higher-value products even through the season’s peak when, traditionally, the company has had to focus on lower value bulk milk powder production to get the volumes through. He noted that, in spite of the current glut of supply on
the world dairy markets, he was not expecting Westland to have any difficulty onselling the record production, with as much as possible being funnelled into addedvalue nutritional products for which the market remains strong.
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Farming Dairy Focus Solar energy
Why solar? The cost of power annually is one of the highest costs farmers can have. It is also one of the most necessary costs with irrigation, milking, grain crushing and grain drying being just some of the important everyday tasks that rely solely on power. The power price only moves in one direction and that is up. With semi privatisation of the energy retailers this will potentially drive the price higher in search of greater shareholder returns, so the time is right to start looking at ways to reduce your energy consumption and control an important cost in the sometimes volatile farming industry. Another important factor is the environmental footprint. Currently compliance with your local environmental body is becoming more of a challenging exercise, moving forward solar is potentially an offset for some of these compliance requests. Industry professionals, including Banks, are looking more favourably towards Solar power and support the move
towards environmentally friendly and cost effective self-power generation.
Choosing Solar If you decide Solar is a good fit for your home or business, Installation and Product quality is a huge part of a successful system. A Solar system has a life of 25+ years so it is imperative it is installed correctly. It’s not a job for your local ‘sparky’ to just ‘chuck’ up, they need to be installed with care and be compliant with the ever changing Solar regulations. Product quality is also important, particularly panels. If you choose the wrong one, in five years it may need replacement and the warranty may have disappeared with the manufacturer. It is important to go with a recognised brand, this will reduce the chance of a future fault to a minimum and also guarantee they will be there to back their product up if needed. Advertising feature
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Outlook for dairy is sound While the reduced milk price forecast means New Zealand dairy farmers will face significant challenges in the coming 12 to 18 months, the medium to longer-term outlook for dairy remains sound, according to agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank. Commenting on announcement that Fonterra has further cut its farmgate milk price forecast for 2014/15, Rabobank New Zealand CEO Ben Russell said while the challenges New Zealand dairy farmers would have to deal with in the immediate term were “acute”, farmers should have confidence in the medium and longer-term outlook for dairy, with Rabobank expecting a price recovery to commence during the 2015-16 season. “Today’s announcement by Fonterra reflects the unfortunate reality of subdued demand and over-supply of milk in global markets,” Mr Russell said. “It also demonstrates the inherently volatile nature of global agricultural commodity
markets and the sharp swings in income that farmers face on an annual basis. “In the past seven years, since 2007-08, dairy prices have shown enormous volatility, with extreme highs, followed by sharp retractions in pricing. And clearly the rollercoaster ride continues this season.” Rabobank director of dairy research New Zealand and Asia, Hayley Moynihan said economic indicators were beginning to emerge that
would lead to reduced global dairy supply. “Importantly, milk prices are now falling in key production markets around the world, which will in time produce a supply response and lower export supply growth,” she said. “European prices continue to ease and US prices are expected to join the trend over coming weeks and months after holding up for an extended period.” However, Ms Moynihan cautioned that low global
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grain prices would delay the magnitude of the supply response, particularly in the US, resulting in plentiful global export supply through at least the first half of 2015. Mr Russell said while a milk price of $4.70/kg would result in trading losses for a very significant proportion of New Zealand dairy farmers, most dairy farmers had entered the current downturn in strong shape, with farmers benefitting from a good season in 201314 and a record high
price. “Many dairy farmers have strengthened both their balance sheets and the efficiency of their operations in recent years, and particularly since 2008,” he said. “We are confident that the vast majority of our clients have the resilience to handle this plunge in dairy prices, unpleasant and stressful as it is. “The high milk price in 2013-14 will assist farm cash flows in 2014-15. Cash flows for farmers will tighten significantly into 2015, when the season tapers off and with little in the way of deferred payments to supplement cash flow through the winter and early spring.” Mr Russell said many dairy farm business would use this time to examine and prioritise their business spending and to make use of professional advisers and banks. Mr Russell said this was also a time for banks to support their clients in need, to communicate effectively.
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Farming Dairy Focus
Manufacturing efficient log splitters New Zealand Company ICS Farm Machinery have been designing and manufacturing log splitters for the last eight years. Like most things created by Kiwis they can handle the harshest New Zealand conditions and are considered heavy duty. Particular attention has been paid to creating a splitter that is not only robust but has a wide table at a good working height for more efficient handling and splitting. Business manager Amanda King commented that ICS Farm Machinery strives to manufacture a log splitter that can handle all types of timber, is well engineered to provide the owner with years of hassle free use, gives value for money and has optional extras that allow the owner to utilise the log splitter to meet their specific requirements. This is evident in the extra wide cutting table providing a better and safer working surface as well as the heavy duty gusseted USB beam giving the construction longevity.
Other features such as the dedicated valve with auto return detent which frees the hands while the cylinder is retracting and an auto kick out for when the cylinder is fully retracted, a quality hydraulic
cylinder all put together with quality Hydraulink hose and fittings can be expected as standard. When it comes down to the engine you can expect to see all ICS Farm Machinery
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From Plucks Effluent Division (since the 1980s)
ADR 500 Effluent Screening Plant COVERED BY N.Z. PATENT APPLICATION No. 591985
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Farming Dairy Focus
Smartphone tech will test drink drive limits Not sure if you are ok to drive? For the first time, Kiwi motorists can now do a police grade breathalyser test via their Android smartphone. The Alcoordi, which has won ‘best invention’ awards overseas, is a compact device that physically plugs into an Android smartphone. It uses a semi-conductive oxide sensor to record the blood alcohol level on a user’s breath, and that data is sent to, and analysed by, the free, downloadable app on the smartphone. The sensor technology is used by the Finnish and Korean police and the analysis measures to within two decimal places. “This is reliable and accurate police grade technology. Each product is factory tested and calibrated before shipping.” says Maurice Wooster, the owner of Robertson Engineering and director of Alcoordi Ltd in New Zealand. “This device will keep our roads safer and hopefully save lives.” The software can be customised to user preferences, configured for multiple users and is able to calculate recovery times, based on measurement history. “This is the device I want my children carrying because I know it will help to keep them safe,” Mr Wooster said.
Mr Wooster said the device comes with a variety of innovative warning features designed to discourage overthe-limit users from getting behind the wheel. “There is the option of having a photo of your partner and children appear on the screen if you are over the limit. That should act as a deterrent to driving,” Mr Wooster said. “The app can also be programed with the phone numbers of taxi companies or other people who can be relied on to help out if you are over the limit.” Other breathalysers are available in New Zealand, but they are three times as expensive. The Alcoordi is also small enough to carry in a pocket. Mr Wooster said he’s importing the device because he sees massive demand for something that’s compact, smartphone-friendly and accurate, given the lower alcohol limits being introduced next month. “Basically, I’m just happy if it keeps a drunk driver off the road.” An iPhone app for the device is to be launched soon. For further information contact Maurice Wooster (027) 4430-842, or visit www.alcoordi.co.nz Advertising feature
Drinking responsibly is about knowing how your body reacts to alcohol. Alcoordi helps track your alcohol levels using police grade technology. Alcoordi uses your smartphone’s power and fits in your purse or pocket so it’s always on hand whenever you need to test yourself.
ARE YOU OK TO DRIVE?
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Farming Dairy Focus
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seminar fixed interest returns high yielding shares. Hamiltonon Hindin Greene has a proud historyand of providing quality investment 10am tuesday August 24, 2010 at the hotel Ashburton advice to Kiwis for over 100 years. As one of the few remaining wholly NZ ownedby andMonday operated broking firms,23, HHG2010. is committed to providing their RSVP August Phone 307 7127. best investment advice. Bookclients nowwith tothe avoid disappointment!
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on revenue generated from the old copper network to support the building of the new fibre network. This decision, along with some shrewd cost management from Chorus, as well as co-operation from Chorus’ bankers (who relaxed banking covenants), Crown Fibre Holdings (who have allowed Chorus more flexibility of funding) and shareholders (who have accepted a halt in dividend payments), has allowed the company to survive this period of great uncertainty. Although Chorus appears to be through the worst of it, uncertainty still persists. The ComCom, having only released a draft determination, will now conduct industry consultation
does not constitute investment advice. Disclosure documents are available by request and free of charge through www.hhg.co.nz.
A BROKER’S VIEW
investors need to pay close attention to the costs of building the Ultra Fast Fibre network. Cost over-runs have been curtailed somewhat, but execution risk still remains. The company is still not quite at the “safe enough for Grandma” point, but those prepared to back the status quo from the draft FPP determination could see good returns once dividend return and earnings stabilise. The regulatory environment will change again after 2020, but Communications Ministry documents suggest the environment may be more conducive infrastructure investors such as Chorus.
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and come back with a final determination in April next year. This final price could be subject to further change as the Government conducts a review of the telecommunication regulation. There is also uncertainty as to whether backdating will be enforced. As of December 1, retail service providers (Spark, Vodafone etc) are only charged $34.44 for each connection. This price will stand until the final FPP determination is made in April. The retail service providers have also enjoyed a lower price on the Unbundled Copper Local Loop (UCLL) for the past 12 months. This could also be backdated, depending on which legal opinion or Court of Appeal ruling you listen to. Backdating will result in a rather large one-off payment from RSP’s to Chorus. The ComCom forced Chorus to back pay the RSP’s earlier this year, so recent ComCom decisions appear to support backdating. Along with the palaver around copper prices, Chorus
The Chorus share register must be a motley bunch. It is likely full of legacy Spark investors from the presplit stage, with a sprinkling of income investors who purchased shares for their apparently good yield in the pre-benchmark phase and will now also include some fairly pleased speculative investors who purchased shares this year in expectation of a more favourable copper broadband Final Pricing Principle (FFP) determination from the Commerce Commission (ComCom). This more favourable decision was released earlier this week, with the ComCom releasing their draft FPP determination. This decision essentially sees the average wholesale cost of a broadband connection reduced from $44.98 to $38.39, as opposed to an earlier decision which would have seen the price slashed to $34.44. This earlier decision cast major doubt over Chorus’ ability to fund the roll-out of the Ultra Fast Fibre network, as the company was relying
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Feds back Aoraki as rural hub Aoraki Polytechnic has launched a quarterly programme of primary industry professional development sessions by connecting agribusiness software specialists with the local farming industry. “Knowledge is power and the more of these sort of events we can get the better,” Federated Farmers South Canterbury provincial president Ivon Hurst said. “Being versatile in today’s market is extremely important and communication is vital to our ability to react quickly to market demands. For example having reliable data allows us to negotiate market prices from a position of strength.” The sessions mirror the increasing provision offered by Aoraki Polytechnic in primary industries including courses such as horticulture, animal care and a newly-developed farm cadet programme. The cadetship came about in response to a demand to the Federated Farmers for a qualification which matched the industry positions and workforce.
Aoraki Polytechnic Chief Executive Alex Cabrera opening Agribusiness Software PHOTO SUPPLIED Specialists event.
Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury provincial president Willy Leferink said many employees arrive on the farm with an empty tool box and limited skills, which is not fair on the employer or the employee. “It’s time that we started filling that tool box again so it becomes more interesting for the employee to execute
their duties and they will be more efficient at it, while the employer will get a more involved staff member which will lead to greater productivity”. “The hands-on experience really is invaluable, especially when you think of the health and safety involved and the expense of the equipment they will be working with.
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“We believe we can better serve the people in our region by working together and by focusing on what we do well. I see the polytechnic as the vehicle for delivering better outcomes for our region.’’ Many of the courses offered at the polytechnic focus around primary industries. For instance, science and technology courses focus on these areas within a primary industries framework. The professional development session, run by Aoraki Polytechnic in conjunction with Lincoln University and the Primary ITO, highlighted the increasing role of software within Primary Industries, with iAgri, FarmIQ, Marmax, Cash Manager Rural, and Overseer presenting their latest applications for improved farm management. “We are waiting with great anticipation for the Rural Broadband Initiative and the likes to be able to make effective use of all that is on offer in the agricultural software range,” Mr Leferink said.
NE W WA TRAC RR TO AN R TY 2013, 141hp, 16x16 transmission, Sigma self levelling loader, 3rd service, soft drive, 721hrs
You can’t really replicate that in the classroom. So the kids [in the cadetship] are going out there mentally as well as physically to do the job that will be required of them,” Mr Hurst said. “It’s putting them in control of their learning within an agricultural setting. We require mentally and physically fit kids, who are well-trained. It’s not a game for the faint hearted, but if they can handle it, the world is their oyster.” Andrea Lesley, Portfolio Manager for Primary Industries Aoraki Polytechnic said the farm cadet programme will see students working an initial blockcourse in the classroom, however most of the course will be split throughout the week with three days of work placement and two days of study at the polytechnic. Chief executive Alex Cabrera said the institute was working with local industry and the community to ensure primary industry courses were relevant to both learners and employers.
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The transfer of the Dairy Core Database from farmer owned co-operative LIC to industry body DairyNZ has been completed and is now part of a new Dairy Industry Good Animal Database (DIGAD). DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle says DIGAD is a new database that will hold the New Zealand Dairy Core Fertigation Pump specials for the next 6 weeks – call us to findallout more. Database, the data required for animal breeding evaluation purposes and some Fertigation Pump specials for the next 6 weeks – call us to find out more. Fertigation Pump specials for the next 6 weeks – call us to find out more. additional data for industry research. Access to the core data will continue to Fertigation is an efficient method to be controlled Fertigation Pump specials for the next 6 weeks – call us to find out more. by an independent panel. Fertigation is an efficient method to Fertigation is an saving efficient time method to money fertilise crops, and “This includes animal performance fertilise crops, time fertilise crops, saving saving time and and money money data from customers of herd recording while improving yields. while yields. while improving improving companies LIC and CRV Ambreed and Fertigation isworks an yields. efficient method toirrigation Fertigation with existing Fertigation works with existing irrigation data collected by breed societies,” he Fertigation works with existing fertilise crops, saving time and irrigation money systems. systems. says. systems. while improving yields. “The transfer of the Dairy Core Fertigation works with existing irrigation Database is an important step towards Benefits ts are: Benefi Benefi ts are: are: systems. the industry’s target of increased No spreading No spreading spreading costs costs genetic gain and industry-wide No costs Reducing soil compaction, data use and was one of the main Reducing soil compaction, Tim Mackle PHOTO ASHBURTON GUARDIAN Benefits are: Reducing soilbring compaction, Precision control over where and when recommendations of the 2009 Anderson Free lunch for those who this advert with them Precision control over where andin when
you want your nitrogen Fertigation tainability Fertigation reading to look like this stainability Or this
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Review. It’s the culmination of years of work to reach this significant milestone,” he says. “DairyNZ, through its subsidiary New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL), the setting of the national breeding objective and Breeding Worth, is leading the provision of animal evaluation as well as providing access to the core data. This reinforces the critical nature of this information to the industry. Industry organisations must have access to collated data so we can evaluate things like Breeding Worth for dairy cattle and Forage Value Index for ryegrass.” DairyNZ and LIC have been working closely for nearly two years to ensure a smooth transition of the database. This work has been supported through the Transforming the Dairy Value Chain Primary Growth Partnership programme, led by DairyNZ and Fonterra, partnering with the Ministry for Primary Industries.
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dustry animal es live “It’s been a huge collaborative effort between DairyNZ and LIC. We’ve also had a number of external organisations assisting with the design and build of the new DIGAD system.” LIC chief executive Wayne McNee also acknowledged the team’s efforts to achieve an important milestone for New Zealand’s dairy industry. “LIC has been looking after the core database since the 1980s, but the industry has developed a lot over the years and the time is right for it to move to DairyNZ. “Handing over the core database to DairyNZ is a significant milestone for the project and achieving this is a credit to the hard work, dedication and commitment of everyone involved. “They had a lot of important data to work with, and we are pleased to report that it has all transferred smoothly. We will continue to work with DairyNZ to ensure the next stages of the project are completed successfully.”
An independent audit of the project was undertaken and submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries as part of the approval process for transferring the custodianship of the Dairy Core Database from LIC to DairyNZ. The audit concluded that the new system was well configured, DIGAD was appropriately designed and built to receive core data and that appropriate arrangements were in place for the ongoing management of the Core Dairy Database. The transfer of the Dairy Core Database is the first phase of a programme of work that DairyNZ is undertaking. The next phase is the transition of the animal evaluation function from LIC to DairyNZ. Work on this has started and will be completed next year. Researchers and others can apply to the independent panel for access to the core data on the DairyNZ website dairynz.co.nz/DIGAD.
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Thank you to our clients for their continuing support.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We will be closed from December 19 to the January 6.
Contact STEVE WATERS 027 640 1333 EMAIL email@example.com
To our valued Customers and Suppliers… Thanks for your support in 2014 and we look forward to working with you all again in 2015.
Wishing you a “Dairy Christmas” and a Happy “Moo Year”! From all of the team at
Dairy Business Centre (NZ) Limited 0800 COW FEED (0800 26 93 33)
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Ashburton Guardian, Dairy Focus, December 16, 2014