Page 1



Guardian Ashburton





Dairy Focus



Judge a winner Pages 2-4


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2 Dairy Focus February 2014

Region packs a dairying punch D

airy award season is well and truly under way. In this edition of Dairy Focus we look at the outstanding success of the Gilbert boys – fifth generation dairy farmers at Winchmore, near Ashburton. Michael Gilbert was the young judge star at this year’s New Zealand Dairy Event, following in his older brother Nick’s footsteps. The youngest member of the family, Luke, is already

Michelle Nelson RURAl reporter

shaping up to make it a hat-trick. The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards is celebrating 25 years and is gaining momentum with each anniversary. The

Dairy Focus

Canterbury North Otago region has a proud history in the event, claiming the Sharemilker of the Year title four times. The national Farm Manager of the Year title has been held by farmers in the region three times, and the SharemilkerEquity Farmer of the Year has also been successfully contested. In 2012 Canterbury took the trifecta, claiming all three titles in a contest first. Enda and Sarah

Hawe, farming in the Ashburton district at the time, won the New Zealand SharemilkerEquity Farmer of the Year, Mick O’Connor from Dunsandel took home the national Farm Manager of the Year trophy and Nathan Christian, also based in the Ashburton district, was the 2012 Dairy Trainee of the Year. Other successful contenders were Matt and Julie Ross in 2007, Leo and Kathryn van den Beuken

in 2005 and Geoff and Lynn Walker in 1993. Last year Hinds farmer Richard Pearse was named Farm Manager of the Year and David and Shirlene Cochrane held the title in 2006. Eight of the 18 Canterbury North Otago finalists work in Mid Canterbury, but we will have to wait until March 4 to learn who will represent the region in the national finals in May.

Terrific trio of brothers The brothers Gilbert (from left) Michael, 19, Luke, 16, and Nick, 22, who were winners of the Shirley Caruthers Award presented to outstanding youth ambassadors at a Dairy NZ event in Feilding.

An advertising publication of the Ashburton Guardian Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the Ashburton Guardian Publication date: February 25, 2014 Next issue: March 25, 2014 We welcome any correspondence to either: Michelle Nelson, phone (03) 307-7971 email: michelle.n@theguardian.co.nz Desme Daniels, phone (03) 307-7974 email: desme@theguardian.co.nz

FRONT COVER: Micheal Gilbert in his family’s jersey herd at Winchmore.

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Dairy Focus February 2014


Breeding runs deep for Gilbert family Michelle Nelson RURAl reporter


oung Winchmore dairy farmer Michael Gilbert has won the prestigious World Wide Sires All Breeds Young Judge Competition at the New Zealand Dairy Event in Feilding after taking out the Arran Trophy for the Ayrshire Young Judge competition the day before. Nineteen-year-old Michael was back in the limelight with his brothers Nick, 22, and Luke,16 – all three boys were named winners of the Shirley Caruthers Award presented to outstanding youth ambassadors. And little wonder – dairying is in their blood. Nick, Michael and Luke are One of the Glenalla Stud jersey cows.

fifth-generation dairy farmers, with the jersey herd at the centre of the Gilbert operation down through the generations. Their great, great grandfather Thomas Gilbert established the herd in the early 1900s, beginning the family tradition of breeding, showing and judging jerseys. Their great grandfather founded the Glenalla Stud, which the family continues to run on their Winchmore property. The boys have every opportunity to hone their skills under the guidance of their father Peter. All that practice has paid off with the Gilbert boys taking a swag of junior judging awards from the country’s premier show – the National Dairy Event. Nick blazed the trail, taking national junior judging awards in 2010 and 2011, in both the jersey and all-breeds categories. This year it was Michael’s turn to shine, on the back of his win in the jersey section in 2013, he

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came home from Feilding with the junior ayrshire judge and junior all-breeds judge titles. Not to be outdone, 16-yearold Luke stepped up to take the honours as the junior jersey judge of the year, making it three in a row for the Gilbert boys, and he took third place in the all-breeds competition – just two steps down the podium from his brother. While jerseys make up the bulk of the Gilbert herd of about 650 cows in milk, 180 in-calf heifers and about 150 rising yearlings, the brothers Nick and Michael have diversified. Michael has founded the Glenalla Ayreshire stud, comprising 30 head of cattle, and Nick has established the Snowfed Stud with both a jersey and holstein herds. “A few years ago we bought another block and there were ayrshires in the herd, I just carried it on from there,” Michael said. Continued page 4.

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4 Dairy Focus February 2014

Gilberts get down to judging From page 3. Nick likes the price stud holsteins bring at sales, and the extra volume they put in the vat, but more importantly he respects the breed. But there’s no fear of the newcomers taking over from the jerseys in Gilbert hearts. Out among the milking herd, Nick, Michael and Peter refer to the cows by name, discussing their particular attributes as they affectionately scratch their heads. The Gilberts spend a lot of time with their cattle, walking through the herd and looking at the characteristics of each animal. This is where the boys have honed their world-class judging skills. “We judge every cow we see really,” Michael said. Before a competition the family select three or four animals, then make a final decision – one that is sometimes controversial. “We don’t always agree,” dad Peter says. Preparation for showing includes teaching the cow to lead, no mean feat if it hasn’t learnt as a calf. A bovine beauty treatment also includes washing and clipping.

Show cows are kept off the grass and fed a special diet consisting of a grain mix and hay to prepare them for travel. During a show salt is added to the feed to encourage the animals to drink.

The Gilberts trucked three of their top cows and a calf to the New Zealand Dairy Event – a journey which took 14.5 hours. Although first places evaded the family this year, they came home with a fist full of second prizes.-

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Young Judge Competition at the New Zealand Dairy Event in Feilding. Above: Home on the farm (from left) Peter, Michael and Nick Gilbert, with Daisy the jersey cow.

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Dairy Focus February 2014 5

The importance of maintaining body condition By Rensinus Schipper, Ruminant Nutrition Consultant With the summer conditions continuing and the autumn season looming, we remind farmers of the need to be “feed smart” in relation to planning feeding strategies aimed at increasing body condition.

supplementing them feed to help gain more condition. As a dry cow only requires two-thirds of the feed of a lactating cow, the practice would be to dry cows off when you are short of feed.

Body condition is important for the productivity and profitability of a farm - monitoring body condition gains, and potential losses, are important aspects of current herd management practices, as is minimising the energy demands of the animals.

Supplementation for both milking and dry cows needs to meet the cow’s energy and fill requirements. Where lactating cows require dietary protein to produce milk, a dry cow’s protein needs are less important. Palm kernel is the next best supplement to pasture silage as it contains both energy and protein. When feeding to meet the cow’s requirement to maintain health, and increase body condition and potential milk production, the amount of supplements needed to maintain these factors can be adjusted by monitoring the animal’s body condition.

Common strategies are to dry off skinny cows that are calving early next season. However, it is known that lactating cows are more efficient in gaining body condition that means cows can gain condition better when they are milking. Only at the end of April, when there has been no improvement in condition gain or condition is below a 4.5 point score for these early calving cows, should they be dried off. With the high pay-out, and good autumn growth rates, we can afford to keep milking all animals while

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6 Dairy Focus February 2014

Getting to grips with grinding Griding discs for cows’ hooves. Fred Hoekstra veehof dairy services

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ollowing my earlier articles on tools, this month I would like to talk about angle grinders and discs. The angle grinder is becoming increasingly popular for hoof trimming and I am often asked my opinion of it. If it wasn’t for the angle grinder we would walk around with repetitive strain injury. It does make the job easier and quicker, but there are a few things to watch for. There are still people who use normal grinding discs meant for steel on hooves instead of the correct specialised discs. I am sure you wouldn’t use a hoof disc on steel; therefore you shouldn’t use a steel-cutting disc on a hoof. The cutting disc will clog up quickly and overheat the hoof (the burning smell comes from that), which causes damage to the live tissue of the hoof. There are a range of discs made especially for hooves, yet I can


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appreciate that it may still seem daunting deciding on the right one. Let’s have a look at some of those discs and what their pros and cons are. The cheapest disc we stock is the Wopa grain disc. Obviously, the price is their biggest pro. It is an effective disc and will last for a good number of cows. Most people who use them tell me that they last for at least a year. The disc looks like a really coarse sandpaper and many people think that it must be aggressive. In this case looks are deceiving. It is not too aggressive but because of the way they are

made it can lose some bits of grit as you work with it. This may unbalance the disc which will make it vibrate slightly. Another disc we stock is made by Demotec in Germany. This is an aluminum disc with seven little carbon blades in it. I was impressed with this disc. It would be too slow for professionals dealing daily with large numbers of cows, but for a farmer it is ideal. It is a well-balanced disc which leaves a nice clean smooth surface on the hoof. This makes it easier for the trimmer to see what he or she is dealing with. This disc is about $80 more than

the grain disc, but the great thing about them is that you can turn the blades around as they have two sharp sides to them. When both sides of all seven blades have been used you can replace the blades rather than the whole disc. This makes the disc more cost-effective in the long run. The last disc I want to mention is the disc that full-time trimmers use. It is a professional disc that is available in aluminum and titanium. We would be reluctant to recommend this disc to a farmer. It is aggressive when the blades are sharp and I could almost guarantee





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8 Dairy Focus February 2014

Quality pastures proving popular F

armers are turning to specialised high-yield pastures to off-set the ravages of Mother Nature. Latest market data show more than 8700 tonnes of perennial, hybrid, Italian and annual ryegrass seed were sold in 2013, as farmers regrassed droughtstricken pastures in the North Island and the West Coast of the South Island. This figure was well up on 7300 tonnes sold in 2012. Over five years, total companyowned (proprietary) ryegrass seed sales have exceeded 37,500 tonnes which at an average sowing rate of 20kg/ha are enough to cover 2.1 million hectares – the equivalent of 35 Lake Taupos. General manager of the New Zealand Plant Breeding and Research Association (NZPBRA) Thomas Chin said it was good to see farmers increasingly using modern purpose-bred pastures to build resiliency into their farm systems. “In farming, times of adversity via droughts or floods undoubtedly occur and better times do return,” he said. “It is true such an investment is no guarantee against Mother Nature but it can be seen as an insurance policy of sorts. Thanks

Farmers have increased their use of proprietary rights seed in recent years.

to New Zealand’s internationally recognised plant-breeding and research industry, farmers today can choose from the most innovative and productive pasture seed suitable for a range of local climates, stock type and farm systems.”

The latest sales data covers proprietary ryegrass, clover, cocksfoot, tall fescue and lucerne seed and comes from NZPBRA member companies. Nearly 670 tonnes of clover seed was sold in 2013 (compared with 650 tonnes in 2012), with

200 tonnes of tall fescue (217 tonnes) and 150 tonnes of lucerne (115 tonnes). Combined with proprietary ryegrass sales, these species take the amount of seed sold over the past five years to about 43,000 tonnes. Mr Chin says that’s good

news for both farming and the economy as a whole. “The productive gains from modern plant genetics and pasture innovation have already proven their worth in today’s pastoral farm systems. The role they play in underpinning New Zealand’s productive base will only increase in the future.” One such instance is for dairy farmers where DairyNZ in conjunction with the NZPBRA has just released new Forage Value Indices for ryegrass cultivars for both 12-month and winter-feed categories. The first is for dairy farmers looking for economic ratings and seasonal performance values for ryegrass cultivars for 12-month production, while the second is for those seeking information on cultivars with fast establishment and excellent pasture production through winter and early spring. Perennial Ryegrass Forage Value Index lists have also been updated with the latest data from NZPBRA. Dairy farmers can use these lists to look for the perennial ryegrass cultivars for multi-year performance. • All Forage Value Indices lists can be found at www. dairynzfvi.co.nz

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Dairy Focus February 2014

NZ system to the fore



new product developed for New Zealand dairy farmers has won a 2013 global Bosch Innovation Award, one of only two winners in the Business Solutions category. It is the first time a New Zealand-developed product has been entered for the award. Bosch’s thermotechnology division general manager for Australasia, Mark Blacker, attended the awards in Stuttgart, Germany. Mr Blacker said that it was a significant occasion for the region and a first for the company in many ways. “It is the first time there’s been an entry from New Zealand and it is the first entry that is for an agricultural product,” Mr Blacker said. “So it is the first time that a New Zealand-developed product has won.” The award-winning system is a customised installation to provide dairy farmers with a cheaper and more reliable supply of hot water to clean the equipment in and around the

Pleased with picking up a Bosch innovation award (from left) Iain Hilton, of Bosch New Zealand, Nick Shepherd, of Bosch Australasia, Sonia Wilkinson, of Longveld, Mark Blacker, general manager thermotechnology, Bosch Australasia, and Les Roa, a Longveld director.

dairy milking shed. It uses a commercial Bosch gaswater heater and was developed with the assistance of Hamilton manufacturer, Longveld, the New Zealand distributor for the product. Each system is manufactured and installed according to each farm’s individual specifications. Longveld’s managing director, Pam Roa, said she is delighted

the system won the Bosch Innovation Award. “Bosch is involved in such a vast array of science and technology developments around the globe,” she said. “This is another testimonial for how, with a bit of lateral thinking, we are able to develop clever products in New Zealand that challenge the rest of the world.” Ms Roa said that each farm was different and that Longveld completes an analysis for each

farmer’s inquiry to identify the energy saving and installation costs. “We also provide a moneyback guarantee. If our system does not live up to the farmer’s expectations in the first year we will reinstate the old system,” she said. “While we know we’ve got a great product, we also want to make sure that it is delivered with a level of service that is second to none.” “It meets a number of

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10 Dairy Focus February 2014

Region shows it’s a powerbase E

ntries in the 2014 Canterbury North Otago Dairy Industry Awards have added further weight to the calls that the region is now the powerbase of the country’s dairy industry. For the second year running, the region received the most entries of the 11 regions that make up the New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards. Regional convenors Enda and Sarah Hawe say they were delighted with the level of interest in the awards competitions, which attracted 73 entrants from the region. “There’ s huge expansion taking place in the dairy industry here and that is creating opportunities for people keen to progress their career. The region has also had great success in the New Zealand finals of the awards in the past few years and that has probably stimulated interest,” Mr Hawe said. “Obviously we were rapt to win the New Zealand title in 2012, but we were even more pleased that the region took out all three national titles that year and was able to follow it up with another national title last year.” The winners of the 2014 Canterbury North Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, Canterbury North Otago Farm Manager of the Year and Canterbury North Otago Dairy Trainee of the Year competitions will be announced at the region’s awards dinner at the Lincoln Events Centre on March 4.

Nathan Christian DTOTY winner, Enda and Sarah Hawe, SEFOTY winner. Mick O’COnnor, Farm Manager winner.

The entrants will be competing for cash and prizes worth $67,000 and the honour of winning the regional title. “As past regional winners, we are extremely aware of the opportunities that will be presented to the winners. Attending the national final was a highlight, with meeting and getting to

because supporting NEw ZEalaNd dairy farmErs mattErs

know all the other regional winners. There are some great people involved and we all look forward to meeting up when we get the chance,” they say. There are 14 competing for the Canterbury North Otago sharemilker/ equity farmer title, 19 entered in the farm manager contest and a record 40 are

contesting for the dairy trainee title. Mr and Mrs Hawe are convening the awards for the first time, after their 2012 triumph. “We’ve just had a wonderful association with the awards. Convening is a new challenge and we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to develop new relationships with industry professionals and sponsors associated with the awards. Working with our team of volunteers on the committee to create a great experience for the entrants has also been great. We’re certainly looking forward to the awards night.” They say those considering entering the awards should come along to the regional awards dinner and gain an insight into the awards experience first-hand. • Tickets to the Canterbury North Otago regional awards dinner cost $75. Contact Carmen Ryan on 03 307 8203 or at Carmen_ryan@westpac.co.nz.

More rewards up for grabs A

large prize pool and further recognition await the three 2014 Canterbury North Otago Dairy Industry Awards winners, who will progress to the national finals in Auckland on May 9. The trio will line up against 30 sharemilker-equity farmer, farm manager and dairy trainee regional finalists to determine who will take home the prizes, worth nearly $160,000. The prize pool for the 2014 New Zealand Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year is valued at $89,000 with the winner taking home prizes worth nearly $41,500. The runner-up will receive $16,000 in prizes and the third place-getter will take home prizes valued at $11,000. A further $20,000 in cash and prizes will be won by the winners of the nine merit awards.

The 11 regional finalists competing in the New Zealand Farm Manager of the Year will compete for a pool of about $46,500, with the winner collecting about $24,500. The runner-up will receive prizes worth $8500 and the third place-getter $3500. There are also five merit awards of $10,000 in cash and prizes. Up to $22,400 is on offer in the New Zealand Dairy Trainee of the Year category, with the winner collecting more than $16,000. The New Zealand Dairy Industry Awards are supported by Westpac, DairyNZ, Ecolab, Federated Farmers, Fonterra, Honda Motorcycles NZ, LIC, Meridian Energy, Ravensdown, RD1 and Triplejump, along with industry partner Primary ITO (formerly AgITO).

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Dairy Focus February 2014

And the finalists are ...


he finalists in the 2014 Canterbury North Otago Dairy Industry Awards demonstrate that the dairy industry’s future is in great shape. Regional convenors Sarah and Enda Hawe say the competition for the finals indicates the competition is tight.

The final six were found from 14 entrants in the Canterbury North Otago Sharemilker/Equity Farmer of the Year, 19 entered in the Canterbury North Otago Farm Manager of the Year and from the record 40 entrants who have contested for the Canterbury North Otago Dairy

Trainee of the Year competitions. “The preliminary judges were really impressed with the high calibre of entrants this year. Many demonstrated a huge passion for their farms and the industry and what they have achieved to date is impressive,” Mrs Hawe said. “The huge


group of trainees is spectacular and demonstrates that the region’s dairy industry is in great heart. These young people are focused on lifting their skills and knowledge so they can progress in the industry. They recognise entering the awards does help them achieve their goals.”

Canterbury North Otago Sharemilker-Equity Farmer of the Year

James and Ceri Bourke

25 per cent sharemilker 1150 cows Culverden

Cole Harris

22 per cent sharemilker 595 cows Temuka

Liam Kelly

20 per cent sharemilker 810 cows Ashburton

David Le Heron

20 per cent sharemilker 590 cows Rakaia

Kevin and Sara O’Neill

Mark and Vanessa Shefford

Equity farm managers 1190 cows Waiau

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12 Dairy Focus February 2014

Looking out for dairy farmers F

armer demand for innovations which deliver efficiency and prosperity on-farm resulted in their cooperative, LIC, returning a strong performance for the six months to November 2013. LIC chairman Murray King said the high milk price combined with relatively stable weather patterns saw farmers increase their investment in a range of information management tools which enable them to analyse and manage animal and farm performance more easily and effectively than ever before. “Our farmers manage more animals more efficiently than ever before. As their cooperative, our job is to provide them with a range of solutions which enable them to run highly efficient profitable businesses – from the family farm with 200 cows to the large corporate with tens of  thousands.” Mr King said technology is developing at an unprecedented rate and farmers are faced with a bewildering array of technologies to manage a varied set of challenges. “Our challenge is to deliver a high level of technology and data analysis in a suite of

Murrray King, LIC chairman

integrated products which are intuitive and easy to use. New Zealand dairy farmers have some of the highest usage rates of technology in the world and we have embarked on a multi-year, multi-million-dollar rebuild of our databases and IT infrastructure to future-proof our ability to deliver innovative products and services which will enable Kiwi farmers to maintain their standing as the best in the world.”

Summary, half-year result Revenue for the six months to November 2013 was $135.2

LIC’s performance reflects its contribution to dairy farm stock management.

million compared to $131.7 million for the same period in 2012. Due to the database and technology platform rebuild, net profit after tax (profit attributable to shareholders) decreased by 10.25 per cent from $30 million in 2012 to $26.9 million. Biological assets were not


revalued. LIC’s business, particularly artificial breeding (AB), is highly seasonal.   Half-year results incorporate the majority of the AB revenues, but not a similar proportion of total costs, and are not therefore indicative of the second half, nor the full year, result. The balance sheet remains strong with total equity of

$219.6 million compared to $214.6 million in November 2012. Total operating cash flow for the six months was a stronger net cash inflow of $1.2 million which compares to $5.6 million net cash outflow in the previous year reflecting strong collections and farmer cash flows year to date.


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14 Dairy Focus February 2014

What’s the risk for NZ equitites? Grant Davies A broker’s view


n last month’s Dairy Focus we had a look at diversification and asset allocation, and how your risk profile influences your investment decisions and outcomes. Over the next few months I will break down each asset class, explaining each in terms of their relative risk and expected returns. Equities, also known as shares or stocks, are perhaps the most well-known asset class and certainly receive the most media attention, especially when things are going badly. In particular the performance of New Zealand equities has been phenomenal of late seeing this asset class outperforming even the Auckland property market over the past two years. This outperformance helps to illustrate why most investors include a large proportion of New Zealand equities in their portfolio. How much New Zealand equities to include in a portfolio depends on the aforementioned risk profile of

Xero is proving a high-returning option for investors in New Zealand equities.

the investor. Generally New Zealand equities are at the riskier end of the investment spectrum, carrying more risk than fixed interest and listed property. Shares carry more risk because they are subordinated, meaning they have a lower priority compared to debt holders if the company is liquidated. This means that their performance is likely to be more volatile.

This volatility means New Zealand equity investment is only appropriate for those who are invested for at least three to five years, so they have time to enjoy the potential benefit of capital gain and the time to recover or ride out any downward swings. There are many different types of equities. During volatile times well-run, large blue chip companies such as Telecom (TEL)

or Auckland International Airport (AIA) would be expected to hold up better than a small obscure mining company. Companies that have a long history of paying high dividends also tend to hold up better than companies whose returns to shareholders come in the form of capital growth. The New Zealand market in particular is well known for having high-dividendpaying companies, with the

NZX50 having an average gross yield of close to 7 per cent. The New Zealand equity market has however started to attract more high-growth companies of late. Many of these companies operate in the IT sector, where confidence is high given the stellar run of cloud accounting firm Xero (whose value rose 325 per cent in 2013 after being up 175 per cent in 2012). Of course whether these high-risk tech companies are suitable for you will depend greatly on your appetite for risk. Those with little inclination towards risk should join me next month as I take a look at options in the fixed interest investment field. Those receiving low termdeposit rates should pay close attention. • Grant Davies is an authorised financial adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene Limited. This article represents general information provided by Hamilton Hindin Greene, who may hold an interest in the security. It does not constitute investment advice. Disclosure documents are available by request and free of charge through www.hhg.co.nz

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Dairy Focus February 2014

Women to study water management C

anterbury’s dairy farming women are developing their skills in practical water efficiency and riparian management through a series of workshops being organised by the Dairy Women’s Network (DWN) this month. DWN executive chairwoman Michelle Wilson said the Water and Its Ways: Protecting your use, land and community Dairy Days are being held in response to several requests from its members following last year’s release of the Strategy for Sustainable Dairy Farming and the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord, to which the Dairy Women’s Network provided input. “Now that the majority of waterways around the country are permanently fenced off and there is a new strategy in place for on-farm environmental practices, DWN members want

to know what they need to do next on their farms,” Mrs Wilson said. The water accord was released last year and sets out a number of new targets for dairy farmers. One is the requirement for all farms to have a riparian waterway plan by 2020 specifying where riparian planting is to occur. The planting needs to be completed by 2030. “Regional rules for water use management and monitoring can also change and vary across the country, and we want to help our members understand what they need to do to be compliant with the accord,” Mrs Wilson said. The workshops will be held on local farms and tailored to the Canterbury region. Representatives from Environment Canterbury and Fonterra, who are supporting the venture, will head up the workshops.


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Mrs Wilson said by the end of the day participants will have a much better understanding

of the expectations of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord and their regional

council’s current rules and plans for the future. “They will also learn how to use water more efficiently around the dairy shed without impacting on food safety standards such as detergent residue levels and managing e-coli, why monitoring water use is becoming increasingly important, and what works and how to get started with riparian planting and maintenance.”

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16 Dairy Focus February 2014

Measuring heat stress H

ow many days this summer will your herd have been at risk of heat

stress? Cows are at risk when temperatures exceed 24° Celsius at relative humidity of about 75 per cent or higher. In some parts of the country, there are typically upwards of 18 or 19 days during the summer months where risk of heat stress is high. Heat stress affects not only cows’ comfort and wellbeing but can also reduce feed intake, milk production and conception rates. There are some low-cost actions that can be implemented mid-season to help cows cope with heat stress, sustain appetites and improve summer milk production. Following are some ways farmers can reduce the impact of heat on cows. • Delay afternoon milking until after 4pm on high risk days. • Plan grazing rotations so that close paddocks, and paddocks with shade, can be reserved for hot days (see paddock scoring

system on the next page). • Bury reticulation pipes (water can get as hot as 50°C in a black pipe in direct sunlight). Keeping water temperature down will help improve the cooling effects of drinking water for cows on hot days. • Install sprinklers over the yard – sprinklers that deliver a medium to large droplet size are best to minimise humidity. Put sprinklers on a 15-minute on/off cycle to maximise wetting, while minimising water wastage. • Wetting down the yard’s concrete for 30 to 60 minutes before bringing cows in will also cool down the dairy and yard area for milking. • If feeding out, do it following the afternoon milking or early in the morning, when temperatures are cooler and cows’ appetites are not suppressed. Offer highest-quality pasture breaks at night for the same reason. • Watch your highest producers for indications of heat stress because they tend to be more affected by heat, due to greater

metabolic heat production. • Look out for crowding around the drinking trough and/or shaded areas, not lying down as

much as normal, reduced feed intakes, slowed rumination and increased breathing rates (more than 60 breaths per minute).

• Take action when you start to see these signs in your herd and also when weather forecasts predict high temperatures.

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Dairy Focus February 2014


Is your farm a heat trap? Score your paddocks for heat risk. Individual paddocks can be scored for their usefulness in reducing the effects of heat. The system described on the Australian Cool Cows website (www.coolcows.com.au) can be used to estimate this risk. This is detailed below. 1. Give each paddock a score from 1 to 10 based on the amount of shade provided in the middle of the day (1= no shade; 10= each cow has 4m2 shade available). 2. Give each paddock a score from 1 to 5 based on distance from the dairy (1= more than 2km; 3= 1km to 2km; 5= less than 1km). 3. Combine the scores for each paddock and rank paddocks according to their risk. Paddocks with the highest scores are the “coolest paddocks”. Use this information when planning summer grazing rotations, eg, reserve paddocks with high scores for hotter days or daytime grazing, and use paddocks with low scores for the “once-a-day herd” or night grazing.

When it’s hot, farmers need to look for signs of heat stress in their dairy herd.

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18 Dairy Focus February 2014

Silage wrap recycling improving N

ew Zealand’s farm plastic recycling specialist Plasback has passed the 3000 tonne collection mark and it will add another 1000 tonnes to its total this year. Plasback manager Chris Hartshorne says growing numbers of farmers are coming on board to support the scheme, now in its eighth year. “The year we set up the scheme we collected just nine tonnes of waste plastic wrap. Over the past four years the rate of collection has increased steadily. We have now collected a total of 3000 tonnes, and we expect to collect 1000 tonnes in the next year alone. “Recycling is not a flash-in-thepan fad but a real, committed programme that Kiwi farmers support. “We have an excellent network of professional contractors in

place to collect silage wrap and a range of other plastic waste from farms, and we are looking at acquiring more balers to handle our increased volumes.” Mr Hartshorne said the recent departure of Agrecovery from farm plastic recycling will not reduce the amount collected nationally and should actually make the initiative more efficient. “We have the capacity to handle all of the farmers who were using Agrecovery. In fact, as our scheme grows, it becomes more effective because our collectors can make more frequent pickups.” Plasback liners are now in all rural services retail outlets that used to carry Agrecovery liners. At the beginning of the year, Environment Canterbury’s ban on burning polyethylene agricultural silage and bale wrap

Bales of recycled plastic wrap ready to be sent for processing.

came into effect. The penalty for breaching the ban is $300 for a first offence and up to $1050 for repeat offences. He believes voluntary, userpays recycling initiatives are more effective than government mandated systems based on levies.

“We know that voluntary recycling programmes, such as Plasback, are cheaper to run and more effective than systems that apply a levy onto the cost of the product. “We hope farmers continue to support voluntary recycling because we don’t want to see

mandatory schemes put in place,” Mr Hartshorne said. • For more information or to book an on-farm collection visit www.plasback.co.nz or contact Chris Hartshorne: 0508 338-240 or chartshorne@agpac.co.nz

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20 Dairy Focus February 2014

Vaccination an insurance C

alving may still be a busy, distant future on the calendar but early cow vaccination can have a big effect on reducing spring stress in calves. Every year calf scours knocks the best laid calving plans backwards and sideways. As new-born calves get sick, staff get tied up nursing them while the usual seasonal demands pile up regardless. But Zoetis veterinary technical adviser Dr Clive Bingham says reducing scours starts well before calving with an effective cowvaccination programme. “We now have some very effective vaccines available and these enable us to pretty much prevent the worst causes of scours, rather than being left trying to wrestle with the problem at a highly stressful time of year.�

Clive Bingham

For Dr Bingham as a practising vet, calf scours are the worst cases to deal with and the most frustrating simply because good vaccination can make them avoidable.


Dairy Focus February 2014


to spring stress He admits he is surprised at dairy farmer survey data (Cinta 2013) from last spring that indicates 73 per cent of dairy farmers have never used a scour vaccine in the past three years. A particularly problematic scour disease is rotavirus, and it accounts for about 40 per cent of all scour cases encountered on farms. Estimates are that a rotavirus outbreak on a dairy farm can cost the farm $6000 in treatment, lost calf condition and calf deaths. In New Zealand there are two strains - a G6 and G10. Typically G6 is the most common strain and last spring all of rotavirus scour cases that were typed carried the G6, while 14 per cent also carried the G10 strain. Zoetis launched ScourGuard® 4(K) back in 2011 as the only vaccine containing both strains of rotavirus, as well as protection against two other common causes of scours, E.coli and coronavirus infection. However Dr Bingham says while vaccines like ScourGuard are proven to be highly effective, any dam administered vaccine requires calves to receive an intake of

quality colostrum for antibodies to be effective. “You can vaccinate but if you do not get the colostrum into the calf, you are wasting your time.” The best way to ensure that happens is to collect calves twice a day during calving. Ensure new born calves receive at least two litres of quality colostrum from the cows first milking within the first six hours of birth, and four litres within 12 hours. First calving heifers require two vaccinations with ScourGuard. These should be given a minimum of three weeks apart with the second vaccination being given two-to-four weeks before calving. The interval between the initial vaccinations can be up to nine weeks apart to fit in with the management of heifers on farm. Talk with your Vet to determine the best programme that will work for your farm. The problems with rotavirus can also be experienced on beef units where cows are calved in mobs on breaks. “There is a risk of infection there too”.

Cow vaccinations to protect calves offers a effective insurance against rotavirus infection and Dr Bingham welcomes ScourGuard’s “cow friendly” formulation that produces significantly fewer painful lumps around the injection site. The formulation’s non oily, soluble formula was a key reason behind farmers being happy with the results from using it last season. Dr Bingham says vaccinating with ScourGuard is a good box to tick in the process of rearing good calves to become excellent cows. Calves affected by scours can recover, however, it can be debilitating to their growth rates. Dairy NZ in-calf calculations show weaning a calf 15 per cent below the 100kg target is likely to incur a loss of $201 to the farmer by the end of its first lactation. “If that loss of weight was due to a rotavirus infection, allowing for a 25 per cent replacement rate it would cost $20 per replacement calf to protect against rotavirus. Clearly for $200 or a 10:1 return on investment, it is worth doing. That figure assumes no calves were lost during the outbreak.”

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22 Dairy Focus February 2014

IrrigationNZ Conference C

lose to 500 people are expected to head to Napier in early April for Irrigation New Zealand’s biennial conference and expo. It is the first time Irrigation New Zealand has held the event in the North Island and the proposed Ruataniwha Water Storage Project is expected to be a big draw card. Pre conference tours will take participants around the command area and close to the proposed storage site, as well as some of Hawkes Bay’s renowned viticulture and horticulture operations. “We’re very excited about hosting our conference in Napier for the first time and numbers are exceeding expectations. The Hawkes Bay really is the perfect location to promote the diverse application of irrigation in New Zealand because of its strongholds in viticulture and horticulture. Conference participants can look forward to pre-conference tours showcasing irrigation

within vineyards, fruit growers and vegetable processors across the beautiful and productive Ruataniwha and Heretaunga Plains,” says Irrigation New Zealand’s Business Manager Chris Coughlan. Themed “Irrigation – Securing the Next Generation’s Future”, principle sponsors for the 7 to 9 April event include ANZ, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Meridian Energy, Siemens and WaterForce. Exhibitors have increased on 2012’s numbers and Mrs Coughlan says several industry players including Lindsay International will introduce new innovations. First-time exhibitors include John Deere Water, Hawkes Bay Regional Council with an expo illustrating the proposed dam site, and FMG Rural Insurance, while old favourites including Siemens, Hynds and Meridian have returned. Two key speakers will represent their vision of how irrigation is making a difference in other parts of the world.

The chief executive of Australia’s fourth largest irrigation company will detail its struggles in responding to the most dramatic period of water reform Australia has seen. John Culleton, Chief Executive of Coleambally Irrigation Cooperative Limited, believes poor public awareness of irrigation’s contribution needs to be tackled. “We operate in one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country and are considered world-class at what we do, but often find ourselves dealing with people who are oblivious to the facts. Yet they have an opinion and their opinion counts to the extent that it can influence those who make or inform decisions that impact on our future.” Mike Wade, executive director of the California Farm Water Coalition, will outline irrigation’s role in ensuring agriculture’s ability to meet consumer demand. “Consumers and farmers have

a fundamental relationship yet most people know very little about what happens on the farm. There is a disconnect between consumer perceptions of the efforts farmers undertake to grow food and fibre, and the products they ultimately buy in the grocery store. Farmers need to take responsibility for telling consumers what the real issues are and how they affect retail choices and economics.” He will detail his work with the California Farm Water Coalition which has become the voice for fact-based reporting on farm water issues in California. The last key speaker, Graham Turley, ANZ’s managing director, Commercial and Agri, will provide ANZ’s perspective on rural lending and its relationship with the agribusiness sector. “Irrigation will be an increasingly vital part of the infrastructure we need to unlock growth in New Zealand’s exports as demand for agricultural products rises in the growth

markets of Asia-Pacific and beyond. “ANZ’s support for the IrrigationNZ conference reflects our commitment to the future of New Zealand agriculture. We’re keen to support off-farm investment to make irrigation schemes a reality, as well as helping farmers capture the opportunities with capital for onfarm investment. Registrations are still being taken and irrigation scheme and irrigator user group representatives are being encouraged to put together groups. New in 2014, the Irrigation Scheme and Water User Group Package allows four irrigation scheme or Water User Group irrigators and directors to register for the price of three. Partners haven’t been overlooked with a package offering outings to a boutique winery, heritage attraction and iconic sculpture garden. More information can be found on www.irrigationnz/conference

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Dairy Focus February 2014

taking registrations

Conference goers at the 2012 Timaru event.


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24 Dairy Focus February 2014

Fertigation pumps popular


ertigation is a more to ensure healthy pastures and - Supply direct to your farm efficient and effective way well-nourished soils. Pastures specially formulated products to fertilise crops, saving grown by fertigation have a that will enhance your existing you time and money and balanced nutrient spectrum that fertiliser regime; improving yields. Results are allows the cows to absorb more - Ongoing support and achieved by using a ‘little and nutrients from the grass, which advice to ensure you gain full often’ principle to enhance plant reduces the nitrates returned to advantage from your system. growth and health as well as the pasture, decreasing urine grow more dry matter. patches and possible leaching. With Fertigation you can Fertigation systems works with Trials show that ‘little and often’ use a more balanced nutrient your existing irrigation system is better for both plant and programme that is suitable for and nutrient management plan animal health, which ultimately all farm types – crop, cattle, to improve pasture sward and improves your bottom line. dairy and sheep farms – and is grazing residuals; reduce soil environmentally sustainable. Fertigation system companies compaction; increase carbon can provide a complete service Feedback from fertigation levels in soil; give you more that includes: system users has been positive control over where and when for local business Fertigation nutrients are applied; and - advising you on how to Systems. “I’ve had one of those provides more efficient way of integrate fertigation into your green pumps for 3 years now applying nutrients. farming operation; Fertigation Pump specials for the next 6 weeks – call to fikeeps nd out more. andus it just going – no Fertigation systems nutrient - Supply and installation of problems at all” Twizel based programmes are based on wellpumps; client. is an efficient method to researchedFertigation soil and plant science


As shown in the photo above, showed how simple the set up was, with the trailer holding the fertiliser with a fertigation pump injecting it into the pivot centre.

fertilise crops, saving time and money while improving yields. Fertigation works with existing irrigation systems. Benefits are: No spreading costs Reducing soil compaction, Precision control over where and when nutrients are applied

0800 337337 840 840 - 0276 246 750 0800 276 246 750 graeme@fertigation.co.nz graeme@fertigation.co.nz 20 Hoskyns road, Rolleston 1375 Springs Road, Lincoln, Canterbury, NZ

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Fertigation is an efficient method to fertilise crops, saving time and money while improving yields. Fertigation works with existing irrigation systems. Benefits are: No spreading costs Reducing soil compaction, Precision control over where and when nutrients are applied

Call us to find out more

0800 337 840 • 0276 246 750 • www.fertigation.co.nz graeme@fertigation.co.nz 20 Hoskyns Road, Rolleston




0800 337337 840 840 - 0276 246 750 0800 276 246 750 graeme@fertigation.co.nz graeme@fertigation.co.nz 20 Hoskyns road, Rolleston 1375 Springs Road, Lincoln, Canterbury, NZ25 Ashburton:

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Dairy Focus February 2014


Introducing CompliancePro H

ave you ever found yourself in any of these situations?

• You see the council vehicle pull in the gateway and all you are thinking is “have I done everything I’m supposed too?” • To consultant…”I’ve had a visit from the council and now I’ve received this letter…” • The data logger has been downloaded and you have been advised that you have well and truly used your consented allocation and then some, and the rate of take has regularly been exceeded Managing resource consent compliance these days is just about a full time job in itself. Resource consents now have more conditions and a higher level of consent holder input, and let’s face it, when you are in the thick of calving, lambing,

mating, making supplement feed, or just being farmers, making sure you are compliant with your resource consent conditions is not high on your list of priorities. That is where we can help. Irricon is now offering a service called CompliancePro, designed to help you be 100% compliant, 100% of the time by: • Use of CS-Vue™ software, which is an online programme (computer, smart phone, anywhere!). • Administration of Compliance Management Reports received from Councils. • Consulting expertise to assist setting up the correct triggers and alerts within CS-Vue™ required for your consent to ensure full compliance. • Assistance if non-compliance occurs. • Advice on consents and what can be done to make compliance easier to manage. • Field technicians to monitor consent conditions.

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• CompliancePro features task calendaring, compliance signoffs, email or txt alerts, document archiving and contact management tools. The Pye Group at Temuka have used CompliancePro and the online software for the last six months to monitor and manage all the Pye Group resource consents and say: “It’s important to have all your documents in the one place and be easily accessible, and that’s the beauty of CS-Vue. It provides the tool to make it easier to review and monitor all your consents, and even allows you to link similar consent conditions together to make it more efficient to engage third parties and record resulting information for submission to ECan. By having the alerts function, it is less likely that you will forget about key requirements of consents until it is too late. We would certainly recommend it to other businesses.”

CompliancePro maintains a highly accountable and visible record of consent compliance - no more lost documents (even when the manager leaves because they can never be deleted!) The core benefits of consent holders using the Compliance Pro package is: • Increased accountability and transparency with an audit trail. • Documents accessible and centralised electronically online. • Alerts (email or txt) to meet conditions on time and to the right people. • Increased environmental performance. • Improved relationships with councils. • Decreased compliance costs. • Decreased legal and financial risks. • Improved operation in relation to industry best-practice guidelines.

26 Dairy Focus February 2014

Nitrogen app launched at field day


next-generation product for nitrogen management on-farm was launched by Kiwi start-up company, Regen, at the Southern Field Days in Waimumu. Regen, who successfully launched ReGen Effluent are now bringing to market ReGen Nitrogen – a powerful yet simple product that assists farmers make real-time decisions about fertiliser application. “ReGen Nitrogen uses onfarm data such as climate and soil information. It calculates the expected response from nitrogen application on any given day and advises the farmer

for or against application and the reasons why. “The product calculates the kilograms of dry matter likely to be achieved from each kilogram of nitrogen, given the prevailing climate and soil conditions. It also calculates how many cents per kilogram of dry matter that response rate would equate to,” says Bridgit Hawkins, chief executive and director at Regen. “You simply enter the desired level of fertiliser application into the no-fuss mobile app, and ReGen Nitrogen does the calculation. It even gives you the thumbs up or thumbs down depending on the conditions –

it’s that easy to use,” Ms Hawkins says. ReGen Nitrogen uses customised data produced by mini weather stations established on each individual farm. It takes into account the three biggest factors that affect nitrogen response rates; soil temperature, soil moisture and the nitrogen application rate. It also allows users to specify their own fertiliser cost and rate inputs to produce individualised analysis. While Overseer-generated nutrient budgets provide an annual figure for nitrogen loss, Regen does the calculation with

You simply enter the desired level of fertiliser application into the no-fuss mobile app, and ReGen Nitrogen does the calculation.

every application making regular fertiliser management so much easier. “Management of nitrogen loss within increasingly strict boundaries is a key risk factor for farmers with new regional council rules now in place. We have heard farmers’ frustrations and we have responded with ReGen Nitrogen. “We think it will revolutionise decision-making around nitrogen application and prove invaluable for farmers,” Ms Hawkins says.

Bridgit Hawkins

• For more information, visit www.ReGenNitrogen.co.nz

Potash price fall good for potassium levels


armers across New Zealand will be replacing potassium removed in produce such as milk and rebuilding vital soil potassium levels, now that Ravensdown has reduced the price of potassium chloride (potash) by 9 per cent. The price fall from $783 a tonne to $710 a tonne is due to the large world inventory of potash left over after low global

demand last year. Potassium is a vital nutrient for all plants. Among many other things it helps control is the opening and closing of the small holes in leaves called stomata that regulate water use by the plant. “This will be welcome news for farmers who are already looking at lower input prices than previous years across a variety of

fertilisers thanks to supply and demand trends on the world stage,” said Greg Campbell, chief executive of Ravensdown. “March and April tend to be the times when potash is applied to dairy pastures to replace potassium which has either moved from soil to the milk or been removed from the soil in the form of hay and silage crops.” This price drop follows the




this price drop should help with that process,” Mr Campbell said. While Ravensdown is seeing an increase in sales of potassium chloride, Mr Campbell sounded a note of caution. “Demand from China and other Asian countries is increasing so it’s only a matter of time before the global prices factor that in as stocks left over from last year run down.”

$80/t reduction in potassium chloride in June 2013. Ravensdown is already seeing the impact of that price drop with a 25 per cent increase in potash sales compared with the previous year. “When prices were high, the amount of potash being applied was below maintenance requirements. It is good to see soil levels being restored and

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With Impact Pond Treatment … v Your Effluent Pond Smell will be all gone after only a couple of months. v Impact creates about a 95% reduction in the solids. v Impact digests all the solids aerobically and this makes the nutrients almost 100% plant available. v What this can do for your farm is up to 70% increase in grass growth and the nutritional value of the grass is much higher. v Cows will happily eat the grass just two days after the effluent has been spread. v The aerobic bacteria in Impact also see pathogens, (such as facial eczema & mastitis etc), as “food”. Impact destroys them in your ponds. v No damage to pond liners because they don’t need to be mechanically cleaned out.

An empty pond with no build up keeps Ecan, and all the rest of them, very happy, not to mention no sucker trucks or diggers required again.

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When your pond is dosed regularly with Impact, And you have a Plucks Effluent Pond Stirrer installed, you will have the ultimate pond management system, where you will be able to draw your pond right down to nearly completely empty any time you want, with little risk of blocking your pump or irrigator, because most of the solids have been eaten up and dissolved.


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Dairy Focus February 2014

Fertiliser group lodges submission


he Fertiliser Association of New Zealand has released its submission to the Ministry for the Environment on the proposed amendments to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. Association chief executive Philip Mladenov says: “The association supports environmentally responsible, scientifically-based nutrient management and we applaud the government’s commitment to a nationally consistent approach that allows regional councils to manage water quality in an integrated and sustainable way. “The government has gone a long way toward correctly identifying the problems currently associated with implementing the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and providing an

approach to the monitoring of progress towards freshwater objectives. “The fertiliser industry has a unique position in discussions about water management because it is influential right across the agricultural sector. The association’s member companies supply products that are essential to nearly all New Zealand farming systems. We also provide research, decision support tools and training and certification programmes that support both environmentally sustainable farming practices and the government’s export growth agenda.” “The association looks forward to a complete package of legislative reforms and amendments to the National Policy Statement, as well as to further guidance on cost benefit analysis and collaborative


Fresh-water management and fertiliser use are key aspectis of a farmer’s nutrient management plan.

processes that will lend clarity to this important endeavour.” The association’s submission to the Ministry for the Environment on the proposed amendments to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2011 is available at www.fertiliser.org.nz

Who is the Fertiliser Association of New Zealand? The Fertiliser Association of New Zealand is a trade association representing the New Zealand manufacturers of superphosphate and nitrogen fertilisers. The association has two member companies – Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd and Ravensdown Fertiliser Co-operative Ltd. Both of these

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companies are farmer-owned co-operatives with about 45,000 farmer shareholders. The association’s member companies supply more than 98 per cent of all the fertiliser used in New Zealand. This represents a $2 billion market share. To promote good management practices, the association and its member companies develop training programmes, codes of practice and industry information fact sheets. They fund research, partner with government on research and development projects and work closely with other organisations in the agricultural sector on industry-good issues. Industry research and development spending exceeds $16 million per annum, this includes funding for the

Overseer nutrient management tool. The association supports and encourages an environmentally responsible science-based approach to nutrient management and its regulation. The association’s member companies provide products that are critical to New Zealand farming systems along with research that supports both environmentally sustainable farming practices and the government’s export growth agenda. The association is influential across all agricultural sectors, including dairy, sheep, beef, arable and horticulture. • More information about the association can be found at www.fertiliser.org.nz



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28 Dairy Focus February 2014

Going for gold with S

ynlait Milk is leading its farmers to the next level with Australiasia’s only internationally accredited ISO65 dairy farm assurance system. The company’s Lead with Pride Gold Plus certification encompasses four pillars – environmental, animal health, milk quality and social responsibility. “There are many benefits to becoming certified, which include earning a premium over and above the base milk price,” Synlait Lead with Pride manager Mark Wren said. “However, we also know from research conducted by the Agribusiness and Economic Research Unit at Lincoln University that best-practice farms are both more productive and profitable.” The benefits to the “average” Synlait supplier are estimated to be $120,000 a year, or $0.44 per KgMS, before the costs of additional management input required. “For many this is significant,

Synlait Milk Lead with Pride manager Mark Wren.

however we believe, as do our farmers, that beyond the financial rewards it’s simply the right thing to do,” Mr Wren said. “Helping to protect the environment and the sustainability of the dairy industry, improving on farm human resource practices as well as ensuring the health and

welfare of the animals cuts to the core of what Lead with Pride is all about. “Beyond this, having certified farms producing the highest milk quality is clear demonstration of industry leadership in food safety and sustainability. Achieving this is critical for our customers, their consumers, the New Zealand dairy industry and to Synlait. “I’m proud to be working with some of New Zealand’s best dairy farmers here in Canterbury. To produce world-class milkbased nutritional products we want farming leaders who are, like us, committed to farming excellence. Lead with Pride is a system that recognises and rewards them for achieving dairy farming best practice, and being one of New Zealand’s only farms with internationally recognised ISO65 accreditation is something to be proud of too. “That’s why I took up this role. It gives me the chance to work alongside these guys and to promote and implement what I

Mix and apply



Calcium Magnesium

Synlait Milk’s Lead with Pride pioneers Lance and Wendy Main.

believe is the best dairy farming certification programme around. My veterinary background and many years of technical experience underpin my role in



Urea: 35 kg Boron: 1 /ha kg /ha Lime Flo ur: 100k g/ Magnes ium: 5kg ha /ha Thistle S pray: 2li tres/ha 35 hecta res 1 Tow an d 3 minute Fert load s per he ctare

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Dairy Focus February 2014


Synlait farmers To produce world-class milk-based nutritional products we want farming leaders who are, like us, committed to farming excellence. Mark Wren Lead with Pride manager

team who have built great personal relationships over the years with all of our suppliers. Together we’re here to help make it easier for our farms to

get through the certification process.” Synlait has more than 30 farms working through the process and expects to have at least

seven of those farms Gold Plus certified by the end of March. Lance and Wendy Main were the first to become certified and are now working to attain the

highest level, Gold Elite, by April this year. “This will be a fantastic achievement for them,” Mr Wren said. “We are also excited for Glenn McCallum, the farm manager at Synlait Farms Beacon Dairies, who by the end of March should have his farm Gold Plus certified following an independent audit by AsureQuality. “Glenn and his team have worked hard to meet the standards required to become certified and soon can begin to experience the rewards that come with it.” Synlait is recognising its top performers like Mr McCallum, and are offering farmers who

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become Gold Plus certified by March 31 a personal reward, which includes the choice of a luxury weekend at Peppers in Tekapo or a new iPad. “We know that building a sense of community and creating opportunities to mix with other leading suppliers and share experiences is really important to our leading suppliers,” Mr Wren said.


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30 Dairy Focus February 2014

NZ helps set UN A

set of United Nationsdeveloped measures of sustainability for the agricultural and horticultural sectors has been launched. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) launched the set of guidelines to assess the sustainability of food and fibre production. The Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems (SAFA) is a verifiable measure of sustainability that can be used in all sectors and across all levels of the production chain around the world. New Zealand agricultural and horticultural products and processing facilities tested against a pilot version of the measures of sustainability have come out extremely

Ahika kai (indigenous food sold through a Ngai Tahu website), was compared with results from 30 other groups from around the world as part of New Zealand’s contribution to the

Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agricultural Systems (SAFA) initiative.

Fed up with feeding? Milk travels from your milk supply into the hopper for consumption. Standard thread in teat.

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well according to researchers contributing to the development of the indicators. The New Zealand research team, led by Jon Manhire, of the AgriBusiness Group in Christchurch, evaluated the SAFA prototype in 2013 by testing it on four different New Zealand enterprises that participate in the New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard research project. The performance of New Zealand vineyards, wineries, organic dairy farms and Ahika kai (indigenous food sold through a Ngai Tahu website), was compared with results from 30 other groups from around the world. The SAFA indicators were fine-tuned at a meeting in Rome last March, and the revised guidelines just released have incorporated some of the modifications suggested by the New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard team. Mr Manhire was contracted by the FAO to assist with editing of these guidelines. “It is great to see the FAO showing international leadership on the issue of benchmarking sustainable food production,” Mr Manhire said. “The meeting brought

Take the stress out of next season with an automated feeding system Create your own feeding programme that accurately measures the amount of milk each calf receives. Monitor your calves where ever you are through your smartphone, tablet or laptop (internet connection required to monitor off site). The calves are quick to learn and once reared, their details can be easily transfered to your farm operating system.

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Dairy Focus February 2014

sustainability target together a lot of groups from all production types with the goal of finding common ground in terms of sustainability assessment. “With over 200 different ‘green’ assurance or certification schemes on the market, consumers could be forgiven for confusion over claims of a product’s sustainability.” From the pilot studies that New Zealand participated in, a database of relevant sustainability objectives and default sustainability indicators was developed which provides good information for exporters and others who want to reach the green consumer or understand their comparative performance across a wide range of sustainability dimensions, professor Caroline Saunders, of Lincoln University’s Agribusiness and Economic Research Unit, said. “Sustainability can be assessed in many different ways and can mean many different things. As well as the measures that we usually use in New Zealand – indicators such as business profitability, pollution and water use – sustainability can also refer to the conditions of workers and other social factors.

New Zealand scored highly in areas we often take for granted, such as our rule of law, labour legislation and environmental standards. Professor Henrik Moller

Economic resilience, rather than economic maximisation, is part of the SAFA approach,” said Professor Henrik Moller, from the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago. “New Zealand scored highly in areas we often take for granted, such as our rule of law, labour legislation and environmental standards. Some of our farms are also relatively big compared to some in developing countries so we can achieve energy efficiencies through economies of scale,” said Professor Moller. New Zealand was the only country at the meeting to be represented by indigenous food producers. Dr John Reid

Helping with the succession issue T

assessed an indigenous food production and marketing pilot scheme established by Ngai Tahu and was able to suggest improvements so that the SAFA model better suited small scale family enterprises. Consumers across the world will buy products not on price, but on perceived value based on food quality, safety, animal welfare concerns and sustainability issues, says Professor Saunders. A survey of consumers in India, China and the United Kingdom showed that Chinese and Indian consumers were more concerned with the environmental footprint of food and fibre production than their counterparts in the UK. The New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard project is a six-year programme which started in 2012 and is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment through the 2012 Biological Industries Research Fund.

he process of handing on the family farm can be fraught with tough conversations and decisions. Rural Women NZ is expecting strong interest in the succession planning sessions led by professional coaching company Coach Approach, at its International Year of Family Farming roadshow events. “Succession planning on the family farm can often be a challenge,” Rural Women New Zealand national president Wendy McGowan said. “Stresses can be caused by parents not knowing what to do, who to get advice from, and putting off decisions.  This can lead to the next generation feeling frustrated.  There can also be issues around timing, fairness to all family members and the viability of the farming business. “At our International Year of Family Farming roadshows, Coach Approach will walk us through many of these issues, and talk about some of the solutions.” WorkSafe New Zealand will be running workshops, with a focus on safety for visitors to the family farm.  “This is also

• For more information on Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems (SAFA): http://www.fao.org/nr/ sustainability/sustainabilityassessments-safa/en/

What to do with all this poo?

topical, as unfortunately we’ve seen accidents involving children and visitors to farms again this summer,” Mrs McGowan said. Doug Avery, Landcorp Communicator of the Year in 2013, will start the roadshows speaking about turning around his drought-stricken Marlborough drylands farm. To round off the day, at 4pm Mel Parsons and The Bitches Box will perform their special brand of woolshed humour. Worldwide, the International Year of Family Farming is focusing on sustainability, food security, the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, and helping people out of poverty. • Rural Women NZ roadshow at the Ashburton A&P showgrounds, March 28, 9am to 3.30pm. There will be a marketplace along with business and trade stalls. For details about stalls, email Kiera Jacobson at Kiera.jacobson@ruralwomen. org.nz. • Other dates: March 27, Oamaru, North Otago Showgrounds; March 28, Rangiora, Rangiora A&P Showgrounds; March 30,           Rai Valley, Carluke Domain.

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Facts on flax

Dogs benefit from flaxseed oil P2-4

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2/9/13 3:25:50 PM

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Dairy Focus




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Guardian Ashburton

Dairy Focus August 2013

The Wright stuff

Irrigation Pump Sheds/Storage

Page 2

Guardian Farming

Farming SEPTEMBER, 2013

Facts on flax

Dogs benefit from flaxseed oil P2-4

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Dairy Focus

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Dairy Focus



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Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Df056 dairy focus february  

Ashburton Guardian, Dairy Focus, February 25, 2014

Df056 dairy focus february  

Ashburton Guardian, Dairy Focus, February 25, 2014