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Dairy Focus SEPTEMBER 2017


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House of Hearing


Dairy Focus Farming



Dairy Focus


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By the time you read this what has turned into a very divisive election will be over and hopefully the result is clear enough that we will know who will be holding the reins for the next three years. Many dairy farmers will be hoping it’s another National government, given Labour’s well-publicised plans to tax those farmers who irrigate their properties for the water they use, along with another proposal that would include agriculture in the emissions trading scheme sooner rather than later. However, if we’re to believe what Winston Peters told an audience in Ashburton last week, National is set to hand over ownership of water to Maori, who will then charge those who use it for a commercial purpose, such as farming. It’s time dairy farmers were given some sort of clarity about water charges, rather than have to deal with vague ideological concepts that have not been costed properly, or claims of other charges coming by stealth. No other section of society has had to put up with more vitriol and proposals of targeted charges aimed at them this election campaign than farmers - and I’ve yet to find someone who can justify that sort of behaviour.

Colin Williscroft


Let’s hope that now the election is over for another three years all sectors of society can just get on with working together to achieve the common goals that unite us, rather than capitalising on misinformation about perceived differences to drive a wedge between town and country. Speaking of working together, it was encouraging last week to attend the official completion ceremony for a new goat milk infant formula canning facility in Ashburton. It’s a joint venture between local investors and a Chinese company and it was good to see representatives from both countries talking about wanting to strengthen the relationship by establishing other ties between businesses or investors in New Zealand and China. The spirit of co-operation can take you a long way.






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Pasture first not DairyNZ’s only focus DairyNZ’s principal scientist has rejected claims that the industry good group’s research focus is too narrow and ignores some areas of work because they do not fit into a pasture only diet policy. John Roche said the claims made by South Canterbury arable farmer Jeremy Talbot that DairyNZ has not followed up on research that suggests feeding cows a more “balanced” diet of pasture and other feeds, including maize and cereal, were wrong. He also denied Talbot’s assertion that DairyNZ’s was actually to blame for some of the environmental problems being laid at dairy farmers doors, such as nitrate leaching, due to the high protein levels of a purely pasture diet. Roche said DairyNZ was a supporter of pasture plus systems of farming, that is ones that put pasture first but then also used supplements as just that, to supplement the grass diet. It did not tell dairy farmers they should all be using a pasture only diet and had done plenty of research into getting

Colin Williscroft

the best out of a pasture plus method of farming. Talbot is part of a group of scientists and farmers who have questioned current and past research into reducing the environmental impact of dairy farming. He said by using a new computer model that can predict an animal’s emissions based on feed intake, along with established rumen science, then also looking at growth patterns and protein levels for pasture and other feeds under current management conditions, then comparing them with what the animal can actually use, “we find that there is an answer as to why we now have a huge nitrate and nitrous oxide increase in our environment

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DairyNZ principal scientist John Roche said the organisation advocates a pasture first approach. PHOTO SUPPLIED 

that is greater than the increase in stock numbers alone. “But by also taking this a little further and looking at how we can overcome this, we find that we can also reduce significantly our reliance on irrigation, produce more milk

and also milk of a higher value that is also more suited to making the higher value products such as cheese and butters.” The answer lies in balancing the protein levels in the rumen, he said, adding that it is accepted that cows cannot

use more than 16 to 17 per cent protein and “it would seem that the protein levels in the grass vary from month to month but from 18 per cent to over 34 per cent.” continued over page

Dairy Focus Farming

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From P3 Talbot said the computer model showed that when protein grass levels are around 23 per cent, nitrates excreted in dung and urine are around 400 grams per cow per day, rising to around 1000 grams at 30 per cent of protein in the grass. “An animal on a high protein grass diet is a bit like a human on a protein only diet and with the same result – weight loss, diarrhoea and lethargic performance,” he said. The solution, Talbot said, was to grow either maize or whole crop cereal silage on around 10 to 20 per cent of the farm. That was because the maize and whole crop silages were low in protein and high in carbohydrates and fibre, which would balance the very high grass protein. “Maize and to a lesser extent cereals need the higher temperatures and sunlight to produce the high tonnages, which is why they grow best in summer months when grass doesn’t.” Using the system he was advocating would allow the operation of dairy systems that do not destroy the environment, he said, as the problem would be reduced by

Jeremy Talbot. PHOTO COLIN WILLISCROFT  190917-CW-047

almost 80 per cent. Roche said millions of dollars in recent years to evaluate systems that were both profitable, while also reducing farms’ environmental footprints “and to claim we haven’t is wrong”. He said DairyNZ’s approach was that pasture came first and it was important that it was utilised, and to not utilise feed that was already being produced on farms would be “economic suicide”. However, that could be managed with feeding supplements at the appropriate time.

Dairy cows in New Zealand feed on crops as well as pasture. 

Roche said debate over how to best feed cows had been going on for a very long time and unfortunately some of the important stuff gets lost as people get polarised. There was a very good argument that the perennial ryegrass and clover pasture on New Zealand farms was the most balanced feed a dairy cow could eat. It contained the same energy density as wheat or maize, although the energy came from the fermentation of fibre instead of grain.

On top of that the composition of protein is ideal to maximise milk production. It was also important to remember that for every tonne of barley that was brought onto a property there was a corresponding extra 15 to 20 kilograms of nitrogen produced, he said, “and that extra nitrogen has to go somewhere”. Roche said Talbot’s claims about DairyNZ’s approach and research were unfair and Talbot had never been to see


him to discuss it. DairyNZ is a noncommercial organisation and farmers could be confident that its advice, on pasture or any other subject, is evidence based and provided by researchers whose work was peer-reviewed. The organisation advocated the best solution for each farm and no two farms are the same. Talbot said pasture first is a good system and New Zealand was fortunate that it had that in abundance.

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Goat milk canning plant opened The completion of a new goat milk infant formula canning facility in Ashburton was celebrated at a special ceremony on Friday. Built by the New Zealand Dairy Collaborative, the factory and warehouse build took about 12 months, NZDCL general manager Brad Harden said. Harden said it was hoped the facility would be up and running by mid-November, once validation and commissioning processes had been completed. It would employ about 30 people initially, he said, but it was hoped that would rise to about 80 in the future. The canning facility would take goat milk powder it had dried in Hamilton and blend it with vitamins and minerals needed in infant formula, before it was put into 900gm cans for export to China and Australia. Harden said it was capable of producing about 16,500 cans of formula per day, with room for a second chain to be installed at a later date, which

Colin Williscroft


if that happened would double the capacity. All the milk powder NZDCL used in the process would be from North Island goats at this stage but that could change in the future if more South Island farmers started milking dairy goats. The main shareholder in NZDCL is Chinese company Fineboon Foods, that country’s major infant formula goat milk powder brand owner. New Zealand investors are also involved in the cooperative. The factory completion ceremony was attended by a number of dignitaries who flew in from China specially for the event. They included vice-gover-

New Zealand Dairy Collaborative general manager Brad Harden presents Shaanxi province vicegovernor Feng Jiang with a gift of a glass infinity symbol, representing the bond between NZDCL PHOTO COLIN WILLISCROFT 220917-CW-044 and Shaanxi province. 

nor of Shaanxi province, Feng Jiang and founder and current chief executive of Fineboon Foods John Zhang. The ceremony began with a welcome by Borough School’s kapa haka group, before an official ribbon cutting by Jiang, Ashburton District mayor Donna Favel and Jo Goodhew, in one of her last jobs as Ran-

gitata MP. Goodhew later told the gathering that the last time she had an official role in a ceremony at a goat milk facility, a goat bit her on the nose. She congratulated everyone involved in the project, both local and Chinese investors, for working together to produce a product she was sure

would be much sought after. It was particularly pleasing, she said, that the region was adding to the number and type of primary producers operating in the area. “This is a great example of investment growing in our region, offering opportunities for our farmers to diversify how they farm.”

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Workshops target professionals More than 100 people attended a recent DairyNZ workshop on climate change held at Lincoln University. It was one of nine greenhouse gas workshops held around the country, run as part of the Dairy Action for Climate Change, which targeted rural professionals who wanted to hear about the science of climate change, mitigation options available to farmers, and how they could help their farmer clients reduce emissions. “Addressing on-farm emissions – methane, which is formed when ruminant animals burp, and nitrous oxide, formed when nitrogen escapes into the atmosphere – is one of the most challenging issues facing the dairy and food producing sectors, globally and in New Zealand,” Kara Lok, DairyNZ’s senior adviser leading climate change. “Many farmers are already doing things onfarm that lower greenhouse gas emissions; such as planting trees, and better soil management to reduce

Colin Williscroft


nitrogen leaching. “Then there are the other science-based endeavours that are well under way, like the research to breed cows that produce fewer methane emissions, and the possibility of a methane inhibiting vaccine in the future. “Many farmers are just starting this journey towards lowering their emissions, and rural professionals have an important part to play in providing consistent advice to them about how to go about it,” Lok said. “Feedback from participants has been great. While they understand there is no silver bullet, they now know what options farmers can adopt right now. I hope this translates to the message

A series of DairyNZ workshops for rural professionals held around the country attracted a good PHOTO SUPPLIED turnout.

getting out to farmers about what emissions reduction options they can implement. “While our dairy sector is one of the most emissions efficient producers in the world, we know more action is required to address our emissions over the longer term. Rural professionals can make a difference by providing the leadership to ensure knowledge transfers to the

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Dairy award nominations open Nominations have opened for the 2018 Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award. Organised by Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) and sponsored by Fonterra since its inception in 2012, the award celebrates the vital role women play in the dairy industry. The Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year award recognises an outstanding woman who has significantly contributed to the dairy industry with passion, drive, innovation, influence and leadership and who represents a positive role model for women in dairying. Previous winners include the current MP for Taranaki/ King Country, Barbara Kuriger (2012), Katie Milne (2015), the first woman president of Federated Farmers in its 118 history, Justine Kidd (2013), former chair of Dairy Women’s Network, and Fonterra Shareholders’ Councillor Jessie Chan-Dorman (2017). The judging panel includes representatives from DWN, Fonterra, Global Women, Ballance Agri-Nutrients and a

previous Dairy Woman of the Year winner. The award includes a scholarship for the winner to undertake a professional or business development programme. The Global Women Leaders’ Programme has been the natural choice for previous winners. The 12-month course provides opportunities for women to meet and network with others from different sectors, share knowledge and learnings and gain or improve their management and leadership skills. Mentoring others and encouraging more women to pursue a career in agriculture is a common theme for previous Dairy Women of the Year winners. Rebecca Keoghan, who won the award in 2016, said there were plenty of benefits for those who took part in the award. “One of the main benefits of awards like the Fonterra Dairy Woman of the Year is providing role models and inspiration, especially for the younger generation, to show them there are great opportunities for recognition and

ways to advance their careers.” Charmaine O’Shea, who won the award in 2014, said it was important women in dairying told their story. “We have a really good story to tell and we need to be doing more of this, talking about the success of women in farming because they are doing great things, and not just because they are women. Barbara Kuriger, the award winner in 2012, had this to say: “There are many women with the skills and experience needed for a successful career in agriculture, and sometimes they just need to believe in themselves a bit more to make the step up. Having said that, it’s pleasing to see the next generation of women coming through and filling a wide variety of roles in the primary sector. Nominations close on February 9, 2018 and the winner will be announced at the DWN conference in Rotorua in March. For more information or to nominate someone for the award, go to the Fonterra website.

Federated Farmers president Katie Milne won the award in 2015. PHOTO SUPPLIED 

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Cream named innovation Fonterra names awards finalist new CFO Cream, a revolutionary online trading platform for food supply businesses founded in 2012 has been selected as a finalist in the category of Innovation in Financial, Professional & Public Services at the 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards. Cream’s online platform has been selected due to its highly configurable e-commerce sales solution that gives food supply businesses a powerful tool for accessing suppliers, products, customers, and market information. Cream also powers Europe’s biggest b2b dairy trading platform DAO, Dairy Auctions Online. Cream connects perishable food supply chain industries in a cloud-based e-commerce environment, with e-commerce platforms that aim to revolutionise the sales process within these industries. It offers secure data access, transparency and flexibility on live sales, while gathering data

to help target markets and to analyse consumer habits. Cream chief executive Kevin O’Sullivan said that the five

year-old business has exceeded growth expectations and becoming a finalist in the New Zealand Innovation Awards is a humbling achievement for the team.“We’ve made it our objective to help businesses cut through the clutter and to make their business decisions clear and simple. “We want to ensure that using the Cream platform is a simple and enjoyable interaction with powerful technology, but, behind-thescenes is a robust solution able to handle the complexities of dealing in globally traded food products.“ We’re looking forward to the awards night and whatever happens, will be making sure we’re doing our bit to help Kiwi businesses compete in a global marketplace,” O’Sullivan said. The winners of the 2017 New Zealand Innovation Awards are announced on October 19 at the Viaduct Events Centre.

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Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings said Rivers would be a great addition to the Fonterra management team. “His track record of global financial leadership and his personal alignment to our Fonterra values will be a real asset to us.”

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NPK fertiliser outdated science At last there is a change on the horizon. One of our major fertiliser companies has stepped up to the plate to offer a helping hand to save our rivers and streams from future pollution. Of course this would be like putting the handbrake on a fully laden logging truck on a downward slope. With the unquestionable evidence that these NPK fertiliser companies are largely to blame for this mess, they are running out of road. To keep their foot on the accelerator is not a viable alternative. I applaud the CEO for joining the team. Although there is an utterance from this committed team to stop the pollution, the answers of how to do it will need to be found. The current science is failing the environmental futures test and the two large NPK fertiliser companies who are applying this outdated science are failing the majority of the farmers of New Zealand. Although farmers are the focus of the attacks from environmentalists on water

“ David Law


pollution, the fault lies with the two large NPK fertiliser companies who provide a specialist service and sell the fertiliser to 95 per cent of our farmers who are following their advice. Because soil fertility is so specialised, these companies have been getting away with focusing on sales rather than honest advice and honest science. Evidence of this is the propaganda that has led to the acceptance that superphosphate and urea grow grass. This is so entrenched in farmers’ minds that a lot of fertilser applied is carried on the back of superphosphate. If you need K and S a likely brew could be potassic sulphur super.

Although farmers are the focus of the attacks from environmentalists on water pollution, the fault lies with the two large NPK fertiliser companies who provide a specialist service and sell the fertiliser to 95 per cent of our farmers who are following their advice.

If you needed Mg a likely product would be surpentine super or, if your budget is tight, Super 10 would do the job. A modern change lately is the use of DAP, which is a brilliant product to deliver soluble phosphate, which is particularly efficient for cropping. Research has proven that it will not lift phosphate reserves in the soil unless applied at heavy applications. Where soil phosphate levels are already adequate, (30+ Olsen P), to use super phosphate as a carrier is wasting farmers’ money and only helping fertilser companies increase their sales and profits and the excess is polluting our rivers and streams. A soil nutrient that is being used up with every tanker load

of milk leaving the farm is calcium. Research has shown that an average dairy farm would need 300kg of lime per hectare per year to keep up with what is leaving the farm as milk. Lime would therefore be a much more cost effective carrier for elements that are essential like potassium, magnesium, sulphur and trace elements. Another fallacy is the acceptance that pH should be 5.8 to 6.0. A scientific table showing the availabily of nutrients at differing pH levels illustrates that phosphate is twice as available at pH 6.3 compared to the availability of phosphate at 5.8 pH. This is real scientific evidence that farmers have been taken for a ride. So to increase your current

phosphate levels just move your pH from 5.8 to 6.3. Your soil phosphates will actually increase without applying any phosphate. There are two points to this picture I have painted. 1) Superphosphate, DAP and urea are all water soluble. If these products are applied in excess and they are water soluble, where do you think they will end up? 2) To stop the cause of the pollution, not only will these water soluble products need to be stopped but the NPK trained specialists will need reprogramming. To change the direction of such an entrenched system won’t be easy for these chemical NPK companies or the farmers who follow them.

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Dairy Focus Farming


Shareholders to vote on governance Westland Milk Products shareholders will vote next month on a package of proposed changes designed to improve and update the cooperative’s governance. Westland chairman Pete Morrison said, “We believe the changes recommended will set the structure and tone of the governance of our co-operative, and better equip Westland for the opportunities and challenges ahead of us”. The recommendations in the package include reducing the number of Westland board directors from 11 to eight (including a reduction in shareholder-elected directors from eight to five), while the eligibility criteria for all director roles has been reviewed using best practice models and benchmarking against companies similar to Westland, which includes an independent candidate assessment that will be visible to shareholders. Other recommendations, if passed, will mean shareholder candidates can nominate themselves and will undergo a transparent

shareholders, directors and a governance consultant. The review was sought by shareholders at last year’s annual meeting following criticism of the then board for its performance in a year that saw a $17 million loss and the lowest of any New Zealand dairy company payout to shareholders. Morrison said that the Westland Governance Review was reported to the co-operative’s August board meeting and its recommendations accepted. The final requirement is ratification of the package by shareholders.  “This was an independent, robust and highly analytical review undertaken at the request of shareholders,” Morrison said. “It drew on best practice and was led by Sue Suckling, one of the country’s leading board directors, who has a wealth of practical governance expertise.” The vote will take place at a special general meeting at 11am in Hokitika on Thursday, October 5. Shareholders will be able to vote by proxy.

Westland Milk Products chairman Pete Morrison says a review of the co-operative’s governance PHOTO SUPPLIED will better equip it for the future.

election process, including a “roadshow” where nominees will present to shareholders within strict electioneering protocols; the three remaining independent directors will be appointed by the board,

and their competencies and suitability for the role will be transparent to shareholders; and a director “pipeline” will be developed, with clear process for nurturing highly capable future Westland board

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App to help protect the environment Farmers have a new tool to help them identify opportunities on farm to get even better environmental results. DairyNZ has developed an app, called EnviroWalk, to make it easier for farmers to assess their fertiliser use, effluent, waterways, races, cropping, water use and irrigation, and create an action plan on their smartphone. About 1500 farmers have already downloaded the free app since it was launched in July. DairyNZ Lower North Island catchment engagement Leader Adam Duker, who led the development of the app, said farmers were always looking for ways to improve their environment and DairyNZ wanted to make it as easy as possible for them. “The app allows them to have all the information they need at their fingertips.” He said the app has a series of yes/no questions to help farmers identify areas on their farm that have opportunities to do things differently and get better environmental outcomes. Depending on the

answers to the questions, the app suggests solutions or actions. These form the basis of the action plan, which can

be downloaded, printed and updated at any time. “An added benefit is that once the app is downloaded it

can be used with no internet connection and accessed anywhere on-farm.” “We knew it would be suc-

cessful because farmers helped us build the app and were part of its development.” Otago dairy farmer John Den Baars piloted the app on his Milton dairy farm. He said the app helped take the guess work out of assessing a farm’s environmental impact. “The EnviroWalk app is all things environmental for your farm in one place. It is user-friendly and a great tool for training the younger generation. “I know the young staff I work with would rather do it on their phone than on a bit of paper and it’s certainly faster than working out a plan the hard way.” The app is one of three apps that DairyNZ has developed to help farmers. The others are the Dairy Effluent Storage Calculator and BCS Tracker App. About 11,700 farmers around the country have downloaded the apps. The EnviroWalk App can be downloaded on any device via the DairyNZ website, Apple App Store or Android Google Play Store.

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Dairy Focus Farming


Asking the right environmental quest As many environmental regulations start to take effect, farmers are grappling with the complexity of the work they need to get done, the new limits they need to farm to and if or how their property values are being affected as a result. With all that complexity, visibility and risk comes the opportunity for consultants to step in and help farmers with their challenges. Farmers, of course, are used to contracting professional support, whether it be accountants or agri-consultants, but farm environmental consultants are a fairly new breed with lots of new specialists now pitching themselves as experts. So how do you know the environmental advice you’re getting is what you need and you’re not just being told what you want to hear? Here are six questions to get started. 1. Are they a certified nutrient management advisor (CNMA)? Having this qualification shows you they have met

Make sure you can trust your farm environmental consultant implicitly, Mark Fitzpatrick says 


the nationally recognised standards for those who can provide certified nutrient management advice. Advisors are required to have completed appropriate university qualifications, or have had suitable work experience in agriculture. They also need to have successfully completed the intermediate and advanced courses in sustainable nutrient management in New Zealand Agriculture via

Massey University, as well as demonstrate that their skills and knowledge meet required standards through a competency assessment. 2. Will they tell you what

you want to hear or what you need to hear? Farm environmental work is important. A poor piece of technical work linked to a resource consent can result

in legally binding conditions with the council that put your farm’s value at risk. So, make sure they’re giving this work the effort it deserves. Keep an eye out for someone


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tions Make sure your farm environmental consultant has access to your fertiliser history.

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who may be taking shortcuts that could end up costing you a lot of money in the long run. It’s worse than a false economy; it’s a false sense of security. 3. Will they stick with you and defend their work in event of prosecution? Farm environmental management is here to stay. Ongoing support is likely to be needed whether it be farming advice or compliance assessments for reporting to councils. You need to know the person working with you to meet regulatory requirements and obtain consents will also be there to help you for the years to come. Worst case scenario is you need their support in the Environment Court. If a consultant wouldn’t defend their work in a legal setting, then you aren’t getting what you’re paying for. It’s the ultimate test of their confidence in their data, analysis and recommendations. 4. Do they understand your farm? If they are not visiting your farm and discussing your goals, then alarm bells

should ring. Having access to fertiliser history, soil test results and spreading maps are all going to speed up the process. Knowledge of the region and the challenges faced by neighbouring farms will also be helpful. 5. How thorough is their process? Complex modelling and scenario planning of farm systems through Overseer is no walk in the park – it can take time to do the work well. To ensure nothing is missed, all work should be reviewed by another senior ranking advisor. The reviewer should have the experience and knowledge to really understand the work and give it the critical eye it deserves. 6. Do they understand the rules? The regulatory framework can be complex and contain a lot of specific details. Knowing the ins and outs of the latest plan change ruling and applying these to your case is part of what you’re paying for. The way rules are implemented changes all the time, so if your advisor isn’t up-to-date with the variations, they may be missing a vital piece of the puzzle. Ask them how they stay in touch with what’s changing and how much contact they have with regional council officials. The best way to tackle environmental management is to think of it as business risk management. It’s important because failing to put the right measures in place now could have long-term consequences for your farm. It always pays to do it right and as the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. If you’re compromising on quality advice, you may be compromising your farm’s sustainability By Mark Fitzpatrick business manager Ravensdown Environmental

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Dairy Focus


Their favourite feed is also New Zealand’s



Colostrum – for the best start For fantastic, well grown calves, we need to start early. These benefits can then be built on right through the season. Colostrum is the most important feed for our calves. It is essential to provide this to calves before they are 24 hours of age; ideally in the first 12 hours. Getting this to the calves helps to build their immunity to disease and illness and is a fantastic source of nutrition. Colostrum is higher in vitamins and minerals than saleable milk; it also contains energy to kick start that growth. This superior level of nutrition should continue through the whole rearing period, including any hard feed offered. Introducing muesli or pellets to the diet helps the calf ’s rumen development. The breakdown of starches and sugars (from grains, eg barley, and molasses) contributes to the growth of rumen papillae. These papillae are finger like protrusions that line the rumen; the more we have, the more surface area there is for absorption of nutrients and so improved potential for growth rates. SealesWinslow feed contains a high level of energy and a great balance of protein to help with lean tissue growth. It is formulated to international DJ6743_SW_calf_campaign_ad_360x124_v5.indd 1

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standards of nutrition as well as taking into account the particular needs in New Zealand. It also contains premium additives, essential oils and prebiotics. These ingredients help improve gut health in the calves, so pushing that growth potential even higher. The same great taste runs through all of premium products meaning an easy transition if you want to move from muesli to pellets. Meeting targets for replacement heifers or finishing is made easier when offering palatable feed. Great smelling and tasting feed means early intakes - the calves get off to a great start. Feeding normally continues to the traditional goal of 100kg, however providing low levels after this (0.5-1kg) means targets are within easy reach. It’s also good practise to send one bag per animal if they are going off to grazing in order to prevent any growth checks following the move. SealesWinslow’s calf feed range includes 20 per cent muesli, 20 per cent pellets and 16 per cent pellets. For further information contact your merchant or SealesWinslow representative or visit www. sealeswinslow.co.nz Advertising feature



No. 5252


Unique enzymatic production process which allows all nutrients to be retained in their natural form. Feeds important soil organisms such as beneficial bacteria and fungi – all essential for plant and soil health. Can assist with the increase of biological activity and organic matter production which helps retain nutrients and soil moisture. Helps to increase disease resistance and can help to reduce the need for insecticides and fungicides. Complete major and trace mineral range. Non-toxic, nil withholding period. Biological and Organic options available. Visit www.biomarinus.co.nz for further information PRODUCED BY: UNITED FISHERIES LTD 50-58 PARKHOUSE ROAD CHRISTCHURCH 8042



Dairy Focus



There when you need us RR Spreading acquire Mt Somers Spreading On the 8th July 2016, Stewart and Lisa Norrie took over ownership of this innovative company. After 3 and a half years working with Dave, Stewart and Lisa were excited to take over the reins and continue providing quality, cost effective feed to the farmers of Canterbury. Stewart and Lisa have been joined by their son-in-law Devin, who is a fulltime driver/operator. From as little as $40 per tonne plus GST, your herd can benefit from Feedmix Ltd’s Mobile Feed Processing Service.

will begin to dry out, however calves are usually not deterred - once they’re hooked on our calf meal, they will continue to eat it. It is best to have fresh meal made regularly, especially for younger calves, which is why we can visit your farm as needed. GENERAL PROCESSING - Peas, Maize etc. Rolled grain can be supplied in bulk or processed on farm. Feedmix Ltd will operate four mobile units (both with large roller mill and hammer mill) within the greater Canterbury area. Additives and supplements can be supplied and mixed. Liquid molasses can be blended if required. BULK FEED DELIVERIES Bulk trucks are regularly used to deliver freshly mixed feed to the West Coast and other South Island areas where grain is not grown. This grain is processed straight from the storage silo onto trucks with supplements added and mixed as required. Advertising feature

ON THE FARM DAIRY MEAL - From as little as $40 (grain silo to meal silo or truck to meal silo) Custom blending for individual farms. We can supply and add extra protein and other micro ingredients if required. Most are carried on the machine or supplied by the farmer. We can suck problem materials from blocked auger tubes supplying your roller mill. We can roll your grain if there is a problem with your roller mill. CALF MEAL (mixed onsite into sacks or bulk) Our calf meal begins at $140 per tonne, included in this price is premix vitamins and minerals, molasses and Bovatec. After 2 - 3 weeks the meal

dndthat that Stew nd Stew

RR Spreading have recently acquired Mt Somers Spreading Limited which will further expand their fleet and reach within the Canterbury region. Speaking about the purchase, Ben Smith of RR Spreading said, “We will be continuing to operate the new business as Mt Somers Spreading Limited. We are delighted to be retaining Stu Husband so we can make sure farmers receive the same level of service and local knowledge they have come to expect. Stu will be joined by operator Shaun Cornelius to make up the Mt Somers team.” Founded in 1999, RRSpreading are a family owned business which is based in Methven. They specialise in fertiliser and lime spreading and are members of the New Zealand Groundspread Fertiliser Association and are Spreadmark Certified. All RRSpreading trucks are fitted with a Topcon X20 computer which are capable of variable rate spreading. GPS sampling identifies areas in paddocks where nutrient deficiency is affecting the yield. There may be areas where levels are high so that less or even no fertiliser need be applied. An agronomy partner can create easy to use nutrient maps to highlight these

RR Spreading are a family owned business which is based in Methven

areas. This data is then loaded into the Topcon X20 unit. The adjustment in rates happen automatically when passing over these different areas. Environmental regulations are continuing to get tighter. Farmers can now be held accountable and must retain proof that they are complying with regulations. The RRSpreading fleet are fitted with Precision Farming Limited’s GPS tracking systems which can provide proof of placement. These units document the daily movement of our fleet and the exact location and timing of when fertiliser is applied. Our technology partners Precision Farming securely store this data is available on demand from them. For further information about their services get in touch with Ben or Ron Smith on 03-302 8650. Advertising feature

“We have been using Feedmix Calf Meal on our farm for 5 years. We find that our calves take to Feedmix a lot easier than other products . Dave and Stew are excellent to work with too.” – Graham Thomas, Hinds. Call 03 302 8650

info@rrspreading.co.nz 55 Line Road, Methven, 7730, Mid Canterbury.

• Precision Nitrogen Application • Lime & Super Spreading • Advanced GPS Technology • Proof of Placement Mapping • Variable Rate Spreading • Prescription Spreading

Our modern fleet of Scania and Isuzu spreaders are fitted with the “We “We have have been using using Feedmix Feedmix Calf Calf Meal Meal on on our farm farm for for55years. years.We Wefind findthat that latest Topcon guidance systems our our calves take taketotoFeedmix Feedmixa alotloteasier easier than than other other products products . Dave . Dave andand StewStew to deliver precision placement for PROCESSED PROCESSED ON ONFARM FARM PER TONNE TONNE Thomas, Graham Hinds. Thomas, Hinds. are are excellent excellent to towork workwith withtoo.” too.”PER each and PROCESSED every application. PROCESSED ON ONFARM FARM FARM FARM FRESH FRESH | BLENDS | CUSTOM CUSTOM BLENDS FARM FARM FRESH FRESH | BLEND | CUSTOM CUSTOM BLENDS Spreadmark Accredited FROM



Give your calves the best start this season with fresh feed rolled, mixed, and blended on your farm with our Mobile Feed Processing machines. Convenient, one-stop, at your farm service. Fresh calf meal from just $140 per tonne using your grain or grain supplied by us. Supplied in sacks, ready to use. Price includes molasses, premix minerals / vitamins & bovatec. PHONE:

STEWART - 027 462 2529 DEVIN - 027 930 4906



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www.feedmix.co.nz | Ron 027 445 2355 Ben 027 445 2356

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For all your broadacre We are rural people spray requirements finding rural People Greenline Ag Limited is a broadacre spraying business, based in Chertsey, Mid Canterbury. Owned and operated by Tel and Kat Green. We took over this local agricultural spraying business in 2014. While we are relatively new to this business we are not new to the agricultural industry or broadacre spraying. We bring over 30 years’ of combined experience in the agricultural industry. Tel is our sprayer operator. Tel has 18 years experience in the agricultural industry, including 10 years’ managing a large cropping farm and time working for agricultural contractors. Tel is a GrowSafe approved handler. Kat manages the office, and two busy boys. Kat has 16 years experience in the agricultural industry, including working on dairy and sheep and beef farms, three years as a fertiliser representative. Kat is currently working as a nutrient budgeting specialist. We have a new Amazon selfpropelled sprayer. We can spray at 24, 32 and 36 metres. The sprayer has GPS for greater spraying accuracy and proof of placement. Our focus is to provide you with a professional and timely spraying

service. As we are owner operated you can have confidence that the person you discuss your spray requirements with is the person who will carry out your spraying. We can offer you independent agronomic advice. We also supply agrichemicals at very competitive prices. Contact us today to discuss your spraying requirements and see what sets us apart from the others. Advertsing feature

Nicky Fairbairn and Paula Conti, the owners and operators of Rural People Ltd, share a passion for working with the dairy industry and assisting dairy farmers to find the right people for their farms. Having worked together now for around two years, they believe their success in finding the right people lies in how well they get to know their clients and their businesses. Finding the right person isn’t just about matching a skill set. It’s about ensuring that the new person is going to fit in with the team. We always say, “you can teach skills but you can’t teach ethics, morals and certainly not personality”. Anyone can “fill a job” but that’s not us. We will come to your farm and take the time to really get to know you, we intend to build long term lasting relationships with our farmers and so it is important for us to spend this time so that we get to fully understand your business and operation. Once we have found you the right person we will continually work with you to ensure you retain your best people. Nicky and Paula are not just recruiters, they also offer a range of

HR and immigration services. For further information call Paula on 0275 11 88 14 or email info@ruralpeople.co.nz. Advertsing feature

Struggling to find good Dairy Farm Workers?

• • • • • • •

Not having any luck sourcing the best possible fit for your farm?

FOR ALL YOUR BROADACRE SPRAYING NEEDS Locally owned and operated family business

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We offer a range of services including but not limited to:

Agri-chemical supply

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Contact                  Phone:     027 233 4716 

End to end recruitment Candidate services Tailor made advertising Reference & Police Checks Individual Employment agreements Job Descriptions

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Dairy Focus



Innovative farming solutions HerdHomes® Systems was originally invented by Northland dairy farmers Tom and Kathy Pow to address the ever present issue of animal welfare. The Pow’s have a dairy farm in Northland and weren’t satisfied with recommended wintering facilities. Having used cubicle barns, concrete, metal, wood chips, sawdust stand-off areas and sacrifice paddocks, there was frustration that all systems failed before weather extremes ended and staff workloads significantly increased. The issues with traditional cubicle barns, stand-off pads and sacrifice paddocks include: • Stock health and welfare • Complicated effluent systems • Ongoing maintenance • Staff problems • Pugging of pasture These problems had to be solved while increasing the profitability of the farm. The Pows started with HerdHomes® Shelters on their Northland dairy farms. Over the past few years, several design changes have occurred following feedback from users and research work. The business has rapidly grown and HerdHomes® Shelters are now located all over the country. Considerable benefits are being gained throughout the season with huge gains to be made from summer, winter and between. The introduction of shade cloth and a vented roof option has significantly reduced summer heat stress on cows. The clever airflow design ensures that during cold periods of the year, the cows’ own body heat is fully utilised to help maintain warmth of the animals in the shelter. When this heat combines with trapped solar energy it assists with drying of the floor. This patented technology means the stock are not only naturally keeping their shelter clean, they are keeping themselves warm in winter and cool in summer. HerdHomes® Systems provide a profitable innovative farming solutions even at reduced payouts. Their shelters have the added advantage of protecting farmers from the effects of weather extremes and its associated negative effect on production, something that can be crippling in reduced payout years. Contented cows, happy staff, reduced fertiliser costs, better pasture and profits. Talk with HerdHomes® today to find out more about how together we can devise the best solution

for your herd and farm. The original HerdHomes® shelter includes a very low maintenance slatted floor over effluent bunkers (either 1.2m or 1.5m deep). There is no on-going maintenance requirements with effluent deposited within the shelter, because it simply falls through the slats into the storage bunkers below. During low light, damp periods, straw or rubber matting can be placed on the slats to help cow comfort. If straw is used, it will gradually work its way through the slats without human intervention. Bunkers are designed to be

cleaned out either through a dry dig out, or through a wet slurry removal once or twice a year, depending on the farming system. Having a large open sheltered area means there is maximum flexibility of potential uses, such as a feed pad, stand-off pad, calving and splitting herds. Shelters can be either two or three bunkers wide. Three bunker options have the benefit of increased effluent storage capacity and cleaner stock due to the reduction of solid concrete areas. HerdHomes® patented roof design harnesses natural

light, wind flow, solar energy and the heat radiated from the animals themselves. This creates a markedly different environment from that of traditional animal housing. The rubber matting placed on our free stall barns does not need to be specifically cleaned. Over the years they will acquire a small layer of dried crushed manure which in itself is a great surface. The rubber mattresses are able to remain dry and clean due to a clever patented design that encompasses sunlight, airflow, moisture control and flooring. As HerdHomes® has developed its own industrial

grade roof there is now the option to cover existing infrastructure such as feed pads/stand-off areas or can be constructed on a new site. As HerdHomes® natural airflow technology creates a dry, warm environment, lower cost flooring options can be used. Compressed materials such as limestone or rotten rock or combinations of these with concrete can be installed. For more information, contact us info@herdhomes. co.nz or 0800 HERD HOMES.

Advertising feature

Winter Grazing Available (and Spring, Summer & Autumn also …)

Feed efficiency

Improved calving

Increases of up to 40% have been gained meaning lower cost wintering, greater weight gain or an increase in production

Calving with shelter means greater survival rate and less stress for staff

 Flexibility Lactation can be extended, giving greater production and profits

 Simple Every farmer whose built agrees, a HerdHomes® shelter gives more control, makes decision making simpler and increases staff satisfaction.

See the new and improved design. More loafing space, increased effluent storage and a stronger roof. Ask farmers why they picked HerdHomes® shelters and see for yourself how it is working out.

Make your own mind up. Contact us about an on farm visit in your area

Winter HerdHomes® shelters users throughout New Zealand enjoy control over their winter grazing without the damage associated with wintering on farm. Feed costs are down due to far higher utilisation and lower maintenance requirements plus calving is in a warm dry environment. Make the decision, build a HerdHomes® shelter and take control of your winter.

0800 HERDHOMES (0800 437 346) NZ Patent Numbers: 521150, 544190, 550635, 545042. Further patents pending. International Patent Numbers: 2003267874, 03748807.9. Further patents pending

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www.guardianonline.co.nz ON FARM STORAGE FEATURE


Inspection specialists As Rural Tenancy Inspections celebrates five years of business the husband and wife team of Heath and Rebecca Smith are proud to be expanding the business and bringing a wider range of tenancy services to the farming community. Rural Tenancy Inspections specialise in providing tenancy inspection services to people who manage their own properties, especially those in the farming industry. The response to this service has been overwhelmingly positive from both the farm owners and employees perspective. Both parties like having a neutral party carrying out the inspection, which not only checks for cleanliness and tidiness, but also identifies areas needing maintenance. At the beginning and end of every tenancy an inspection report is proving to be an invaluable resource to help minimalise discrepancies. Originally beginning in Mid Canterbury, where Heath and Rebecca are dairy farmers themselves, Rural Tenancy Inspections has now expanded in to the wider Canterbury region. They have a fantastic team of six and can offer inspections in all areas of Canterbury – the most recent additions being the Culverden, Waimakarriri and South Canterbury regions. In addition to expanding in the regions Rebecca is also using her knowl-

edge and education in the property management area to try and bring more information to the farming community about the changes to residential tenancy laws and how these apply to farming. Many farmers do not realise that although they have service tenancies, the recent changes in the Residential Tenancies Act also applies to them. Farmers keep busy farming and with three to four houses, on average, on each farm, a majority of their business is also being a landlord. Suddenly they need to know about insulation, smoke detector numbers and have knowledge around meth contamination. As well as offering tenancy inspections, Rural Tenancy Inspections can also offer property management on farm houses which are part of a service tenancy, tenancy checks on perspective tenants and can help with information on, and contracting of, other services. Rural Tenancy Inspections is pleased to be bring, for the first time, information evenings for farmers to be held during October. They plan to discuss the services they offer as well as bringing in guest speakers to discuss pressing topics. Please see the advertisement on this page for an evening near you. Advertising feature

- Save time and money by utilising farm saved seed - Seed treatment is your first line of defence against pests and disease - Operating a high capacity gravity table to increase quality for re-sowing and contract specifications - Mobile trailer with indent cylinders for fine cleaning and length separation with cereals or rye grass

Invites you to a FREE information evening

FARMERS AS LANDLORDS We will present what RTI has to offer and bring along other industry experts to answer your questions.

Tuesday October 3rd Thursday October 5th Tuesday October 10th Tuesday October 17th

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Culverden Hotel Blue Pub Methven Railway Tavern, Rakaia Geraldine Heritage Hotel

TOPICS COVERED INCLUDE 3 Inspections - Why do them? 3 Meth Contamination and testing 3 Insurance discussion around Meth Contamination 3 Insulation and the changes in the Residential Tenancies Act 3 Smoke Detectors

EVENT OPEN TO ALL Call Rebecca 027 313 2270 for more info


- Twin rotor screening machine with aspiration for screening all types of seeds for contract specs. Contracting available or FOR DRY HIRE.


Dairy Focus



Guide helps on-farm water For many dairy farmers in the South Island, especially those outside the West Coast, parts of Otago and Southland, if you’re talking about storage the first thing that springs to mind is water. In short, how do you store enough of it to get you through the dry periods? Colin Williscroft looks at what Irrigation New Zealand has to say on the subject. To help farmers who are thinking about their options when it comes to water storage Irrigation New Zealand has published a guide on the subject, especially designed for those thinking about going down the irrigation path. It examines the process of constructing a freshwater storage facility for irrigation – also known as building a dam. The guide takes you through each part of the dam-building process – from concept through to construction and sign-off. It includes information on council requirements and engaging professionals (like designers and engineers). So what will a dam mean to you and your farming system? A correctly designed and constructed pond will provide: • Surety of supply (reliability).

Design and of Irrigatio Construction n Storage P onds


• • •

Flexibility – you choose when you irrigate. Effective utilisation of water. Reduced risk of non-







compliance. Through the feasibility, design and construction phases of the pond you need to ensure:

You have enough water to recharge the dam every year – or the recharge period for which it is designed. • Consideration has been given to the lining material – clay or artificial. • The dam is the appropriate size for your irrigation area and crops. • The pond meets all regional and district council Resource Management and Building Act requirements. The guide also introduces the fundamental questions that need to be answered before, and while engaging third party professionals, to deliver the most suitable on-farm storage option for your needs. It provides a detailed outline of the decision-

making process required to ensure you build storage that is best suited to your needs along with basic design and construction information. There are two key factors used to define dams in New Zealand, the guide says. Firstly, the height of the dam wall from toe to crest, and secondly, the volume of water stored. The volume of water stored is not the same as the water able to be used, the guide says. To determine the active storage, two water levels need to be known – the highest level that water can be safely stored, at and the lowest level from which water can be abstracted. The difference between the two is called the draw down. The draw down height, multiplied by the area of the reservoir gives the usable volume of water – the


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storage active storage. In New Zealand, smaller reservoirs are more commonly referred to as storage ponds. Ponds are generally used to top up the reliability of runoff river or irrigation scheme water supplies, provide water for frost protection or to irrigate small areas. Ponds used for irrigation and frost protection are broadly divided into embankment and excavated ponds. An embankment pond is made by constructing an embankment dam perpendicular to a flowing river or watercourse. An embankment dam can be earthen, rock fill or composite based. When the topography limits the storage volume available, a series of embankment ponds is often constructed down a river system. An excavated pond is made by constructing an enclosure parallel to a river (often abutting a river terrace) or by digging a pit/dugout in the ground. They require more earth to be moved than an embankment pond for a comparable storage. Due to their increased cost, excavated ponds are typically only used where a small supply of water is needed. Although, due to the numerous challenges of consenting a dam on a river in New Zealand, there are a growing number of large excavated ponds being built

– these are part embankment and part excavation. Under the Building Act, a building consent, which includes subsequent compliance monitoring, is required to build a large dam in New Zealand. A large dam is defined as a dam that has a height of four or more metres and holds 20,000 or more cubic metres of water or other fluid. A building consent is not required for dams under this threshold. Building consent applications for large dams are made to the regional council or unitary authority in each region. Any dam design must meet the requirements under the Resource Management and Building acts, and any regional or district plan rules. There are also numerous engineering design standards that different dam types must meet. Irrigation ponds often need an earthwork consent to demonstrate how the construction process will mitigate for noise, dust, and sediment runoff. Resource consents are also required in most regions for earthworks near to, or within, a waterway. If cut-to-waste is being used there may be a consent requirement for transport, stockpiling and processing of material Thanks to Irrigation New Zealand for permission to use their material.

• Concrete Water/Feed Troughs • Precast Panels • Silage Pits • Water Tanks/ Effluent Tanks • Concrete Bunkers • Weeping Walls • Killing Sheds • Cattle Stops

Irrigation Pump Sheds/Storage

These sheds are made to be easy to install with the middle piece of roof iron having been left off for easy Hiab onto your concrete pad. A 50mm overhang has been allowed to fit over your concrete pad so that you have no leaks. There is hex bird netting over the ventilation gap across the front. Made from quality H3 90x45 framing timber and finished with either zincalume or your choice of colorsteel. Sheds can be made standard or to your individual requirements. All sheds are made to order and individually priced - large & small we make them all!

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Sebco ticks all the boxes Sebco specialises in fuel storage systems for farming and industry. They have proudly led the way for quality and innovation, all over New Zealand, since 2007, and are proudly New Zealand owned and operated. As Sebco is based in Mid Canterbury, one of the major primary producing areas in New Zealand, it is easy for them to consult and develop systems that meet the needs of the market, something that they continually do, always looking for opportunities to improve and develop. On-farm storage for diesel, waste oil, and now SCR exhaust fluids, have been the main focus of the company. Sebco products are designed to provide the users with fuel storage and

dispensing facilities that are smart, safe, secure and compliant. In a world where environmental protection, workplace safety, efficiency, security, compliancy, record management and fuel sterility are priorities, Sebco products tick all the boxes. Sebco have a comprehensive range of sizes and specifications in each product range, making sure that they have something that will meet the varying needs of different farm applications Currently Sebco are offering spring specials on diesel, waste oil and blue stations – but only for a limited time. Visit www.sebco.co.nz or phone 0800 473 226 for more details. Advertising feature

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Dairy Focus Farming


Employees, success and your farm In the Herald on Saturday, September 16, there was an article written on Xero’s new growth strategy. Rod Drury gave two reasons for its continued growth as a company, firstly having the capital to do it properly and secondly, being able to hire great talent. However, it’s not all about the money, having a range of strategies to help your business performance improve is important. During the seasons of any business, different strategies will be more attractive and provide a greater return on your time and money than others. When times are tough, strategies that are about improving business performance through other means can make all the difference. The dairy industry has greater challenges than most businesses, with crucial factors being ones that you cannot control. Look at this winter and spring, the weather has been atrocious in many parts of the country, the pay-out for the last two seasons has been low and for sheep and beef

farmers, lamb prices are low. During such times it is important to focus on those aspects of our businesses that you can influence and change. Having recently purchased Fegan’s Rural Recruitment and HR Company, we have observed the struggles that the industry faces due to lack of talent. Of interest was Rod Dury’s second point “talent goes to businesses where it can grow quickly and be part of the growth stories”. Crucial to changing this current course, attracting talented employees is often more about how the business operates than remu-

neration. Back in 2014 a Ministry for Primary Industries report suggested that businesses needed to recognise that to be sustainable and grow, they need to recognise the capability of their staff and growing skills and talent should underpin any growth strategy. This idea of recognising the importance of growing the human talent pool is one that has been slow to be addressed by the industry. There is an obvious gap between ‘how young people have naturally found themselves working in the industry’ and actively re-

cruiting them from those who have never been on farm. We recently had a young man come through our doors looking for work with an agricultural degree, he was looking for a job where he could develop a career in the primary sector. He didn’t really know what he wanted to do, he did however know what he didn’t want, having grown up on farms and having worked overseas for a couple of years, his experience had shown him different options of how things can be done. He isn’t unique. For many like him the key

issues central to working in the industry continue to be slow to change, such as rostering, work life balance, career development and remuneration. Your opinion on each of these will vary greatly, however any changes considered need to take into consideration the thoughts of those you are wanting to recruit into the industry and of those you wish to retain. When you look to see how you can retain staff firstly identify them as an important resource for your business and actively engage them by including them in team meetings, have clear goals for performance and provide opportunities for training, all can make a difference to the overall performance of your business. As a company, we aim to look beyond the traditional methods of recruitment processes and aim to show clients, and potential candidates, the opportunities that exist for both parties when looking for the next employee or farm position. Advertising feature

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Disease deserves attention I have just come back from the International Lameness in Ruminants Conference in Munich. This is a conference where scientists, veterinarians, hoof trimmers and interested parties come together to talk about lameness issues, and the latest research results are presented. It is a fantastic opportunity to catch up with what is going on around the world from a lameness perspective. It is very obvious that the biggest problem facing most farmers worldwide is digital dermatitis (DD). Most of the presented research was about this disease and has been every time I have been to this conference. In fact, if it wasn’t for DD there probably wouldn’t be a conference. DD is a nasty skin disease that seems to be very difficult to understand. It was first described by an Italian professor in the early 70s. Since that time there have been more questions raised than answered. Fortunately, in New Zealand we don’t have the problem

Fred Hoekstra


to the same extent as our colleagues overseas and I have yet to see a cow in New Zealand which was actually lame because of DD. However there are reports that 60 to 70 per cent of farms in New Zealand may have low occurrences of the disease maybe 1 to 4 per cent with the occasional exception. DD lesions have been observed in dairy cows in New Zealand for at least 10 years without any significant consequences, which is quite different to the experiences of farmers in other parts of the world, and this probably contributes to the sense of apathy over the potential risks and consequences it could cause in our industry. What strikes me is that not

many people in New Zealand seem to be overly worried about DD. Yet if (with a big “if ”) DD gets established here, like it has in nearly all dairy countries in the world, it would make farming much trickier and less profitable. Now in contrast to DD, the mycoplasma bovis bacteria has got farmers much more on the edge of their seats. We have had several farmers calling us to find out what measures we have put in place to make sure we are not contributing to the spread of the disease. I can totally appreciate the concern farmers have about this issue but I wonder why we are so much more relaxed with DD. Is it because Mycoplasma bovis got much more airtime? Or is it because of the frog syndrome? If you put a frog in a pan of cold water and you warm it up slowly to the boil the frog will boil to death as it doesn’t notice the problem until it is too late. Mycoplasma bovis would be much more like dropping



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A typical digital dermatitis lesion.

a frog into warm water. The nastiness of the disease is instantly noticeable and that triggers a response much earlier. I would encourage you to become more educated about DD; how to recognise it and what treatments are most


effective, and the potential damage it could do to your business if it were to become more established here. Please feel free to email me: fred@veehof.co.nz or call Veehof Dairy Services if you would like to discuss this issue further.

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Dairy Focus Farming


Meeting to explain freshwater policy Last month I attended a water meeting in Ashburton hosted by David Parker, Labour’s spokesman for water and the environment. The meeting had been planned for months and would, I imagine, have attracted little interest were it not for Labour announcing their policy to tax irrigation just a few weeks earlier. I know Labour call it a royalty on commercial water use, but as it only affects irrigators and some water bottlers I think irrigation tax is a fair summary. Many column centimetres have been written about this tax in the past month and it depresses me to see so many commentators still getting so many things wrong, but I’d like to focus on the meeting itself because it was truly a fascinating game of two halves. Parker was on a circuit of the country to promote Labour’s plans to improve water quality and Ashburton was his latest stop. He started by taking us on a photo tour of dodgy farming practices throughout the country that

Craig Hickman

ELBOW DEEP @dairymanNZ

were affecting water quality: beef feedlots in Hawke’s Bay with sediment traps overflowing into waterways, cows being wintered in Southland with massive pugging next to rivers, high country break feeding of deer and ‘spray and pray’ cropping practices on hill country. There was, at the insistence of Federated Farmers, one slide showing a polluted urban waterway in Auckland. With each new slide the confused muttering in the room became more audible; “that’s not Canterbury”, “that has nothing to do with irrigation”. It was becoming increasingly clear that Parker was there to talk about one thing and the audience another.

He showed an excellent grasp of the issues surrounding water quality but brushed urban pollution to one side. When the picture of Coe’s Ford popped onto the screen he again showed good knowledge, conceding that the river had always disappeared underground at certain points and that irrigation was but one factor in an extremely complex system, exacerbated by three dry summers in a row. Parker surprised me by saying that he supported National’s decision to fire the ECan board and install a commissioner, the first time I’d ever heard anyone in opposition deviate from the “death of democracy” line. Parker’s pitch was this: regional councils have all the power at their disposal to implement and enforce nutrient management plans and to manage land use change but, with the exception of ECan, they’re not doing it and he’s pissed off about it. Labour, he said, would issue a national policy statement outlining their expectations

David Parker, Labour’s spokeman for water and the environment.

and this would force the councils to act. It shouldn’t be necessary to do this, and ECan have proved it can be done, but other councils had dropped the ball. He was charming, he was persuasive, he was knowledgeable and he summed up by saying that we had nothing to fear from Labour as ECan was leading the way and nothing would change. Had a controversial new policy not just been released he may well have sewn up a few votes by that stage. Parker then invited questions from the floor and, no surprise, the first one was

about water pricing. The mood changed immediately and the audience became “you people”, we were told the rural/urban divide was huge and it was mainly the fault of Federated Farmers for defending indefensible practices.

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a real game of two halves

He conceded Labour had made a mess of the Foreshore and Seabed situation and this, combined with Brash’s Orewa speech and Tuhoe “running around with guns” had made it impossible to address water rights, but that time was finally here.

Parker expressed frustration at the wild speculation on pricing and felt pushed into a allocating a 1 to 2 cents/ cumec band, totally failing to accept that releasing the policy with a price would’ve avoided any speculation at all. Farmer after farmer stood

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up to speak: some like myself spoke of the cost to business and were told we were wrong, others like David Clark expressed concern at being labelled polluters and spoke eloquently about the effect on the community of losing that money. He was ignored.

Tiring of our questions Parker snapped “I’m not here to negotiate with you; if you push me the tax will be closer to 2c than 1c”. He soon called the meeting to a close saying that neither of us was going to convince the other, he clearly thought

our concerns should be saved for the consultation period. By this point I was convinced of one thing; the tax has nothing to do with pollution. The money going to iwi and ECan would be used at their discretion as it’s not central government’s job to direct regional councils how to use their resources. First and foremost the tax was a tool to halt Labour’s slide in the polls by grabbing the urban voter, to snatch votes back off the Green Party. With 70 per cent public support for the policy they’d be mad to back down, no matter how ineffectual it will be in cleaning up waterways. Parker had his supporters in the room too, and the comments of one rammed home to me how much work we have to do to connect with non-farmers. “You bastards” he said, shaking with rage and pointing his finger at the crowd, “have had it your own way for far too long. You deserve everything you’ve got coming to you.” And Parker nodded in agreement.

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Dairy Focus Farming


Good work needs to be recognised It’s been an exceptionally stressful time for many farmers over the past month or two. A water tax and a range of other taxes have been on the election agenda. Irrigation NZ has been working hard to raise awareness of a whole range of issues relating to this tax. One of the common points which has come up in debates is a lack of understanding of what farmers have already done to minimise impacts on our waterways. Regardless of whether there is a water tax or who is in power, this is something that farmers need to know because issues around the state of our waterways come up so often in the media and public. If we don’t spread our own good news, who will do this for us? Here’s a summary of what’s being done. Fencing off waterways in intensively stocked areas is already happening – many local councils have rules in place requiring it, while other farmers have already done this voluntarily. More than 26,000kms of waterways have

Andrew Curtis

has also helped improve groundwater levels and resulted in significant reduced nitrate levels. There are a number of examples of farmers and communities working together to improve rivers – for example at Hart’s Creek in Canterbury and Pomahaka in Otago (both have videos of the projects on YouTube). When you’ve done something to help our waterways or environment on your farm, why not take a picture of it and share it on Facebook or send it to Irrigation NZ on Facebook so we can share it with others? Finally, in the next few months management of freshwater and policy towards irrigation will be under the microscope, given the public focus on these issues. Irrigation NZ will continue working on behalf of irrigators to represent their views and add some facts to the debate. If you want to support our work and be kept up to date on progress you can visit www. irrigationnz.co.nz/membership


already been fenced to exclude stock (12 times the length of New Zealand). Riparian planting is also under way on many farms. Around 44 per cent of the irrigators we surveyed had already undertaken some riparian planting on their farm. Regional councils have a range of other rules in place to minimise environmental impacts. For example, in Canterbury all farms have to have farm environment plans in place showing what farms are doing to manage and reduce any adverse environmental effects from their activities. These plans need to be independently audited. Farmers also need to meet nutrient discharge limits. Water allocation issues are

The managed aquifer recharge project near Ashburton has also helped improve groundwater levels and resulted in significant PHOTO SUPPLIED reduced nitrate levels. 

being looked at by regional councils. There are some good examples of areas which are making progress on this – for example the Central Plains Water scheme in Selwyn will help reduce pressure on groundwater by shifting many consent holders off groundwater and onto alpine water. This will help recharge groundwater-fed lowland

streams like the Selwyn. There are some promising initiatives under way looking at how to reducing nitrate levels – for example Dairy NZ has been researching ecotain plantain, which has been showing significant reductions in nitrate leaching from animal urine. A managed aquifer recharge project near Ashburton




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Rule changes bring new challenges What an interesting election it is turning out to be! And what happened to immigration? For once, there has been comparatively little debate on this perennially hot election topic. Perhaps it is because, as politicians speed around the country, they are getting the message loud and clear skilled staff shortages affect most industries and most regions. More likely, it is because politicians have made large house-building plans core to their election policies. These need construction workers. Tens of thousands of them according to the recent TV3 leaders debate. And, until training catches up, we all know where these need to come from - overseas. One frustration is that the election noise has drowned out the fact that farming has been on the blunt end of the recent immigration rule changes. Working with the new changes for a few weeks now, our team is already seeing the negative effects on farming visa applications.

Graydon Sharratt


Two main issues stand out. The new mid-tier skill band for work visas requires (1) an applicant to be paid at least $19.97 per hour and (2) be an ANZSCO skill level 1, 2 or 3 position. The first demands immediate attention from farmers. Whilst this pay level may seem to be quite achievable on the surface, the devil lies in the detail. This policy states that where employees are on an annual salary and work variable hours (the case on most farms) the maximum hours worked will be used to calculate pay per hour. So if your staff member is working 55 hours/week in spring and 35 hours/week in summer, Immigration New Zealand will calculate using

the 55 hours/week figure for the entire year, to determine pay per hour. For this reason, we are encouraging farmers to move overseas staff onto per hour wage regimes. This will save a lot of angst as the alternative will see Immigration NZ demanding reams of paperwork to support claimed work hours. Not only that, but remuneration has now become a condition of a migrant’s visa. Therefore even with pay per hour employment

agreements, salary papertrails and timesheets are still imperative. These should be standard now on all farms. The second part of this is of even more concern. Only farm managers are currently classified as ANZSCO skill level 1, so what about assistant farm managers? Most farmers want these skilled staff to fit in the mid-tier skill level so they can get three-year visas for them and so that their family members will have better visa rights into the future.

But Immigration NZ is not seeing it this way. Despite assistant farm managers being classified as skill level 1 in the Immediate Skills Shortage List, many case officers are not taking this into account and are requiring proof that tasks performed on farm must be a substantial match to the tasks of a farm manager. This means that most are being assessed as low-skilled and get one-year visas – hardly a satisfactory outcome for very skilled staff. If a new immigration policy for mid-tier (but still skilled) farming positions is not introduced in phase 2, as promised by Immigration NZ, I fear the ability for New Zealand to both attract and keep the top farming talent from around the world, will be dealt a lasting blow.

Graydon Sharratt is Director of Greenstone Global Immigration Advisors and Greenstone Recruitment, farm staff recruitment specialists. greenstone-recruitment.co.nz

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A new sanitiser that’s scientifically engineered to replace Chlorine. The problem with Chlorine The way farmers typically destroy pathogenic microorganisms is with chlorine. And it works: chlorine is a good sanitiser. The problem with chlorine is that it doesn’t differentiate between bad bacteria and good bacteria. It is a blind bomb that kills by burning everything it touches.

Chlorine kills the bacteria good guys Good bacteria are a farmer’s allies. For a farm to thrive, good bacteria need to be present and active. These good guys do the following: Mineralise nutrients into plant-available forms Release nitrogen and nutrients for plants to use Increase nutrient retention Suppress disease-causing pathogens Detoxify the soil by degrading toxic materials Improve the accumulation of organic matter Produce plant-growth hormones Ensure root architecture is correct and extensive Enhance soil structure to improve water flow and reduce erosion

Chlorine and soil sterilisation The sterilising nature of chlorine has the upside of killing many pathogens. Unfortunately, when chlorine is washed into the effluent pond and then spread onto the soil, its sterilising properties has a negative affect on the soil biology.

Chlorine and milk tainting Unlike other countries, New Zealand does not test for chlorine residues in milk. Given the growing global desire for eco-friendly products, it is unclear how long we will be able to abstain from this practice. If the eco-push comes, the New Zealand dairy industry will need to think of ways to negate the downsides of chlorine.

Stabilised Chlorine Dioxide Though it sounds similar in name, Chlorine Dioxide is very different from elementary chlorine, both in its chemical structure as in its behavior.

Chlorine Dioxide only kills pathogens DX50 Chlorine Dioxide is extremely selective in its oxidising: only pathogens are destroyed. Here’s how its targeted sanitising works. Pathogens are small and carry a low energy charge – 200MV. Chlorine Dioxide carries a voltage of 942MV. This superior voltage gives it an electrical strength that overpowers the weaker bacteria. When DX50 comes into contact with bacteria, it seeks to give one of its four electrons to the micro-organism. Pathogens don’t want to make the exchange but are forced to receive the extra electron because of DX50’s superior electrical strength. This give-and-take process is called oxidation, and it is lethal to bad bacteria.

With the enzymes ruined, the pathogen is instantly destroyed. This different killing mechanism enables DX50 (Chlorine Dioxide) to kill pathogens more effectively that chlorine.

Chlorine Dioxide cannot be resisted The triggering action for DX50 Dairy Sanitiser is the sugar-like substances that are an integral part of the target pathogen cell walls. Due to this mode of action, disease bearing organisms cannot build up resistance to the product.

Very wide kill range Another significant upside with stabilised Chlorine Dioxide is that it is not pH dependent and works most effectively in cold water. DX50 also breaks down the protective bio-film surrounding a wide range of pathogens, a film which shields them from other sanitisers.

Good microbes are unharmed Good bacteria are larger in size and carry a voltage of 1000+MV. This superior voltage gives the Good Guys enough strength to resist the electron exchange that DX50 seeks to enforce. Because no electron exchange is possible, good bacteria swim happily in the DX50 wash.

DX50 kills 2.46x better When oxidation occurs, the cell wall of the bacteria is dissolved, exposing the enzymes that lie beneath the surface. These enzymes control the biochemical reactions within that cell. When DX50 contacts these enzymes, it immediately deactivates them by breaking their chemical chains. Chemical

Killing Power


High 2.46


Moderate 1.0

Chlorine Dioxide

No residue or tainting DX50 does not leave an acid residue. That’s because DX50’s chemical make-up is altered as it sanitises. When DX50/Chlorine Dioxide oxidises pathogens by giving one of its electrons, it becomes a different chemical – chlorite (ClO2-). This new chemical is so low in residue, it is below the level of detection. That’s why Chlorine Dioxide has an EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) rating of 9.1D – the lowest rating available. With DX50 there is no taint on the milk and no corrosive acid in the shed.

Parts Per Million


Killing Speed

Broad Spectrum: effective against all bacteria, E coli, virus, mould, fungi algae and spore formers

50 ppm


Negligible at use concentration

2-11 pH

Less effective against fungi & spore formers. Ineffective against viruses.

600 ppm

Minutes to hours

High for most metals

6.8-7.3 pH

Microbial Range

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Optimal Kill conditions

Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Dairy Focus | September 2017  

Dairy Focus | September 2017