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Dairy Focus JUNE 2018


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Dairy Focus



Dairy Focus


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After the fear mycoplasma bovis has put into the dairy industry over the past 12 months it was good to hear that most farmers got through Gypsy Day without too many problems. Sure that wasn’t the case for everyone but widespread problems over movement restriction were avoided and fears that stock in some places would not be fed did not materialise. One farmer I spoke to said the biggest problem he had heard of in his area was the age old one of staff who were moving on not leaving the house they’d been provided with in a desirable state for the next people. That’s not to say there hasn’t been a fair amount of stress out there, so I was also pleased to hear that communities are rallying around and providing help and support to those who need it. Not so good is hearing that MPI believes some farmers are still ignoring their legal obligations under Nait. Given the focus M. bovis has put on the importance of stock traceability I find it staggering that there are farmers out there who choose not to comply. I know the system is clunky but I fully agree with MPI that those farmers who choose to ignore those obligations are putting the industry as risk.

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On top of that they are putting the livelihoods of their neighbours and communities at risk. I know the vast majority of farmers do take those responsibilities seriously but those who don’t need to change their attitude. Although it’s been a challenging year for the industry overall, the prospects are looking bright, according to MPI’s latest Primary Industries Situation and Outlook report, which said dairy sector export revenue is expected to increase by 13.6 per cent to $16.6 billion in the year ending June 2018. That’s a $2 billion rise in a 12 month period. What’s really positive for the industry overall is that future increases in production will be driven by on-farm productivity gains rather than increased cow numbers. That’s something that should keep just about everyone happy.


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Farmers get through Gypsy Day Heading into Gypsy Day a few weeks ago and the resulting herd movements there were concerns that real disruption was on the cards around the South Island due to mycoplasma bovis. However, it seems while there were some headaches and challenges for both dairy farmers and graziers, by and large most got through relatively unscathed. While the majority of those problems are similar throughout the island, there are differences between regions. Federated Farmers North Otago dairy chairman Jared Ross said he hadn’t heard of any real issues or concerns from farmers in his area, although he was aware there were some who were disrupted, particularly people who were on the fringes of restricted properties closer to Canterbury.

Colin Williscroft


“There were some who experienced real stress and unfortunately examples of people hurting,” he said, although it was pleasing that the Ministry for Primary Industries released grazing licences in time for most farmers who needed them. Ross, who had personally sold his herd recently to instead take on a dairy support block, said “he knew from his own experience that current market prices for stock were flat if not poor”. 

continued over page

Left – Federated Farmers Mid Canterbury dairy chairman Chris Ford has noticed farmers and others in the rural community banding together and helping each other out. PHOTO COLIN WILLISCROFT 290518-CW-003

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Dairy Focus


From P7 “You would have expected that we might have seen a spike (in prices) with what’s going on, but values haven’t shifted and there are very few animals moving. Those poor values and the substandard market conditions flows on to the compensation farmers are receiving,” he said, referring to the payouts being received by those who have had their herds destroyed due to M. bovis infection. “The amount they are going to be getting back in the hand because of that (current market values for stock) is going to be very ordinary.” Feds Southland dairy chairman Hadleigh Germann said he had not had an opportunity to talk to a lot of farmers but he was aware of some problems around grazing arrangements due to herds either being under movement restrictions due to being tested for M. bovis. “On my own farm we were told that they wanted to do testing at the start of May and as a result my grazier said ‘no, I don’t want to see your stock’. I know others had the same issue. “Maybe some graziers were not as informed as they could have been and they were not prepared to take those extra steps to make things work. However, I understand that maybe they thought it was safer for them (not to take stock from farms under testing).” Germann said it was fortunate that

dairy farmers had known that there would be issues to be solved around M. bovis and stock movements for a few months before Gypsy Day, so they had a bit of time to put measures in place to get around that and looking ahead farmers would be able to plan even more for the annual movement of stock at this time of year. “Over time we might be able to get a better handle on the disease so we can make even better plans for next winter,” he said. Mid Canterbury dairy chairman Chris Ford said what he had noticed was the focus on farmers and others in the rural community banding together to look after others and make sure people were getting what they needed to continue as normally as possible. “There are a lot of people out there offering help and support. People want to help,” he said, adding that people wanted to do something for others in their community. One of the other pleasing things, Ford said, was despite earlier concerns, movement restrictions were not affecting the ability of farmers to feed their stock. “Everything that needs to be fed is being fed,” he said. “At this stage there’s more of an issue of some farmers not being able to sell their winter feed.” He agreed with Ross that prices for stock were low. “If you’re talking about stock in general there’s not a lot on the market. Trading has virtually stopped.”


MPI calls for better Nait compliance Farmer compliance with National Animal Identification and Tracing (Nait) scheme has improved but could still be better, the Ministry for Primary Industries says. Manager of compliance investigations Gary Orr said MPI and Nait Ltd have been running joint operations around the country to check compliance with Nait requirements. “We’re pleased to see knowledge of the Nait scheme has increased in the wake of the mycoplasma bovis response, however some farmers are still ignoring their legal obligations,” Orr said. “The mycoplasma bovis response has highlighted the importance of tracing animal movements and having complete and accurate information available. “It is critical all farmers comply with Nait and track all animal movements on and off their farms. Those that aren’t are putting the rest of the industry in jeopardy.” Orr said MPI and Nait Ltd are increasing their focus on compliance with Nait requirements. “Both organisations have significantly stepped up their efforts to detect instances where animal movements have taken place without being recorded in

the Nait database. “Since the start of the year, MPI has undertaken around 200 Nait compliance checks on farms and saleyards where cattle or deer are present.” In addition, MPI has conducted 19 proactive compliance operations across the country, including during the moving period and Operation Cook Strait in March. “As a result of these operations, we have issued a number infringement notices and written warnings. “We are conducting further enquiries on stock movements and currently have eight active investigations under way. These may result in further infringement notices being issued.” Orr said Nait Ltd has begun an analysis of Nait data to identify those farmers who continue to offend. “Any farmers who have breached the requirements of the Act will be sent a warning letter by Nait Ltd. If they do not meet their legal requirements within 30 days they will be referred to MPI for further enquiries.” Operations continue at various locations throughout the country through random inspections at key livestock depots, transit points, and livestock exchange or saleyard points.


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Dairy sector outlo The dairy industry can expect another good year, if the latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries report is anything to go by. The June 2018 publication, produced by the Ministry for Primary Industries, said dairy sector export revenue for the year ending June 2018 is on pace to reach $16.6 billion, an increase of around $2 billion, or 13.6 per cent, on the previous 12 months. That’s been possible because higher butter and whole milk powder (WMP) prices offset slightly lower production volumes. Growth in infant formula exports rose significantly to reach $1.2 billion, an increase of 53 per cent on the previous year. Dairy production was estimated to have fallen 1 per cent in the 2017-18 season compared to the previous year, with dry conditions in December most notably felt in the dairying strongholds of Southland, Taranaki, Manawatu and the West Coast. However, a mild autumn helped production recover towards the end of the season. Prices for both butter and WMP rose quickly during the year ended June 2017, with export prices for New Zealand butter rising 57 per cent over this time and WMP export

prices rising 43 per cent over the same period. These prices reached a peak in the December 2017 quarter but have maintained their overall strength across the 2017-18 season. Butter and WMP make up around 55 per cent of New Zealand’s dairy exports by volume, so strong prices for these products significantly affect the country’s total dairy export revenue. WMP prices have been supported by strong Chinese demand, the report said, as well as some buyers entering the market at short notice because they had been sitting back in expectation of falling prices. Butter prices continue to ride the resurgent popularity of natural fats as consumer preferences in Western markets swing in this direction. The expected 53 per cent increase in infant formula exports is also contributing to the strong rise in overall dairy export revenue this year. Export volumes rose significantly as more processing facilities came online during the year, while prices also increased. This increase in export revenue is expected to contribute to a rise in the farmgate payout to $6.91 per kilogram of milksolids (including dividends where applicable) for the 2017/18 season, the report said. This represents

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ook positive a second profitable season for farmers in a row, following two years of low dairy prices. The report noted that when the payout rises, farmers were more likely to reinvest earnings into the farm to increase resilience for future years. Figures from Dairy NZ’s 2016-17 Economic Survey suggest that farm expenditure items such as repairs and maintenance, fertiliser, and regrassing all increased significantly in the 2016-17 season after being partly deferred when prices were low and many farmers were not making a profit. Next season is also looking positive, the report predicted, with rising dairy prices expected to push dairy export revenue to $17.2 billion for the year ending June 2019. “Butter prices are expected to rise even higher than current levels, infant formula export prices and volumes are forecast to rise, and skim milk powder (SMP) prices should rebound somewhat during the season.”

2018, China imported almost twice as much infant formula from New Zealand than during the comparable nine months ending March 2017, the result being New Zealand is now the second largest infant formula exporter

to China, though China’s imports from France and the Netherlands also increased significantly over this time. To meet this growing demand, companies based in New Zealand have invested in increased infant formula

processing capacity in recent years. Synlait opened its new wet-mix kitchen in December 2017, allowing it to double the amount of infant formula it produces at its Dunsandel site. Synlait has also applied for

Better pellets. Better future.

Export volumes rose significantly as more processing facilities came online during the year, while prices also increased

Overall, export volumes are expected to remain relatively stable, with only a 0.5 per cent increase in dairy production forecast for the 2018-19 season. This modest increase in production is being driven by continued on-farm productivity gains rather than increased cow numbers, the report said. Butter exports are expected to continue to rise during the year ending June 2019 because both prices and volumes are forecast to increase slightly. Despite major butter producers like the EU increasing overall milk production, consumer demand continues to outstrip supply of the product, which supports the current high prices. Infant formula prices have remained high as Chinese demand continues to grow. For the nine months to March

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consent to develop a second facility at Pokeno. Additionally, Oceania Dairy opened an expanded plant in Glenavy in March 2017, which included an infant formula line. continued over page

Dairy Focus



From P7 “We expect these, and other, investments to support future infant formula export volumes that are around 30 to 40 per cent higher than for the year ended June 2017,” the report said. SMP prices appear to have bottomed out in the March 2018 quarter and are experiencing a mild, temporary resurgence because a slow start to the EU spring production season has dragged prices up. However, these prices are expected to fall again in the first half of the June 2019 year as EU production catches up and SMP availability rises as a byproduct of expected increases in butter production. New Zealand’s all company average farmgate milksolids payout forecast for the 2017-18 season is $6.91 per kilogram of milksolids (including dividends), relatively unchanged from the forecast three months ago. This is an increase of 51 cents from the 2016-17 payout and reflects the higher WMP prices achieved during the season. Based on recent Global Dairy Trade auctions, WMP prices are expected to continue

Synlait’s new wetmix building (in front of the dryer), opened late last year, has allowed it to double the amount of infant formula it PHOTO SUPPLIED produces at its Dunsandel site. 

rising for another four months or so, before starting to come down in the December 2018 quarter. Overall, the report predicts WMP prices to rise slightly for the 2018-19 season and to drive a milksolids payout forecast, rising to $7.06 for that season.

Dairy NZ’s 2016/17 Economic Survey results show that with the 2016-17 all farm average season payout of $6.36 (which translates to payment schedules averaging $5.79 during the year), farmers will earn an average operating profit of $286,000. “Our payout forecast of

$7.06 for the 2018/19 season suggests that average operating profits will be well above $350,000 for that season, which should provide farmers with greater ability to invest in more resilient farming systems and pay down debt. “Our milksolids price forecast falls in the 2019/20

season due to an expected softening of WMP prices, before rising to $7.16 by 2022.” However, the report notes that achieving this price relies heavily on continued demand for New Zealand’s WMP exports and limited northern hemisphere export responses to high dairy prices.


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The Bio-Circle


This is the answer to understand diseases like Mycoplasma Bovis.

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What gets transferred?

Every farmer is in business to make a decent return. To have that healthy bank balance, you need to be producing enough milk, which is the by-product of your cows being healthy and productive.

• Nutrients get transferred: balanced or imbalanced • Organisms get transferred: both beneficial and disease-causing • pH levels get transferred: helpful or detrimental

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3 things to grasp about this transfer of biology: 1. The transfer is unavoidable 2. The transfer can either work for you or against you 3. Every farmer chooses the state of his farm’s Bio-CircleTM

Your Soil is a grass-growing factory Just like a typical factory, your soil is filled with workers. Within 1m2 of soil live trillions of beneficial organisms: bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, anthropods, and earthworms. These organisms are labouring to make tonnes of healthy grass for your herd. Without this underground workforce, nothing grows. Here are some of the crucial things they do: 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

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Dairy Focus


Alternative approach presented A team of farming specialists has had its findings presented to rural MPs in the hope that its proposed management system of the devastating cattle disease mycoplasma bovis will be considered. Forward Farming biological consultant David Law was invited to present a statement compiled by a team of New Zealand and overseas specialists, including veterinarians, soil scientists, farm consultants and agronomists, who understand and endorse the sciencebased regenerative farming approach. Law brought the team together to present a cohesive stance for a more comprehensive approach to M. bovis than the government’s mass culling of cows. The group has communicated what it believes is a long-term solution to managing the disease. “MPI has chosen to view M. bovis solely as a contagious disease. It’s actually a symptom of immune system deficiency/collapse prompted by a nutritional imbalance that

David Law.

can be remedied without the present trauma to farmers and animals.” the statement says. “Our farm systems management team approach is to focus on altering those conditions that we believe compromise any animal’s immune system and make

them susceptible to disease – inadequate nutrition from minerally unbalanced, microbe deficient soils. “Our approach is to help farmers achieve a better immunity in their herds, rendering M. bovis innocuous.” The statement says New Zealand has an unprecedented opportunity to solve its farming, water quality and animal health breakdowns by embracing regenerative farming practices that improve soil, animal health and profit. “We have viewed agriculture through a chemical lens for the last 75 years to the detriment of our farms and entire environment,” it says. “Years of cutting-edge science has demonstrated that all ecosystems, including agricultural ones, are more productive and resilient when they are bio-diverse and chemical free. “Our problems in agriculture are born from a chain of events, beginning with the application of unbalanced fertiliser programmes. Past agricultural science has

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emphasised chemistry instead of biology.” The team says this approach has led to soils that are depleted of minerals, which has altered soil, plant, cow rumen and effluent pH levels, leading to undernourished soil microbes, plants and animals, “Optimum soil pH is above 6.3. New Zealand’s soil pH has been consistently dropping under the NPK system due to the overuse of superphosphate and urea. Animal and human health problems have been increasing as a result. “Cutting-edge agricultural science focuses on the importance of diverse microbiology, full spectrum mineral fertilisers and lowered chemical use to grow nutrient dense food for healthy animals and people. “The NPK-driven fertiliser system, and resulting pH issue, is at the core of the mycoplasma bovis problem. This is not a disease to be eradicated so much as it is a nutritional issue to be remedied by altering our approach to soil fertility and animal nutrition.”

In addition to eliminating the further emergence of M. bovis in New Zealand herds, the group believes regenerative farming practices will have positive effects on New Zealand’s farming industry as a whole. “Regenerative farming approaches have shown it is possible to farm sustainably with less costly inputs and achieve better profitability. Restoring our soils this way is the cutting-edge science for the future of agriculture. “Regenerative farming helps restore ecosystem function, build topsoil, sequester atmospheric carbon and create nutrient dense, spray-free food, which we need, and our markets are crying out for. To heal our environment and people, New Zealand needs to rethink how we do agriculture.” Farmers requiring more advice about a regenerative farming system can contact David Law at Forward Farming Biological Consultancy who will direct them to a consultant in their area.


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Dairy Focus


Politicians need to deal in facts For me the defining aspect of this government’s response to mycoplasma bovis has been their ability to lay the blame squarely at the feet of farmers, positioning us as villains that they’ve had to swoop in and rescue from our own incompetence. It’s not a bad tactic, it plays well with the urban base, it sows distrust and it pays huge financial dividends: industry has agreed to foot 32 per cent of the bill to eradicate M. bovis compared with the 15 per cent agreed previously. I guess we should count ourselves lucky, the Minister of Agriculture was gunning for 50 per cent. A little over a week ago Damien O’Connor told Parliament’s Primary Production Select Committee that a “farmer he had spoken to had taken four non-Nait compliant herds onto his property for grazing”. He went further and, backed by MPI officials, said he was aware movements of non-compliant stock were occurring and the problems were “very prevalent”.

Craig Hickman

ELBOW DEEP @dairymanNZ

This sort of unsubstantiated bollocks casts farmers in a very bad light, and the lack of definition around what “noncompliance” means makes it very hard to hold politicians to account. I doubt Mr O’Connor could provide a definition if pressed by reporters. Michelle Edge, chief executive of OSPRI, which manages Nait, says that criticisms being levelled at the system are “significant extrapolations of the facts” and a “misinterpretation of the Nait review”, she said those things because it’s not a career enhancing move to simply tell a Minister he’s full of it. Take the meat processing industry as an example; they’re 90 to 95 per cent

Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor recently told the Primary Production Select Committee that he was aware movements of non-Nait compliant stock were occurring.

compliant. Surely as an end point they should hit 100 per cent, what’s the story with the 5 to 10 per cent of dead animals that are non-Nait compliant? The answer is those animals aren’t lodged

with NAIT within 48 hours of movement, and that’s the measure of compliance. On May 2 my heifers came back from grazing and on May 7 my grazier transferred them back to me via Nait.

Those animals are legal and in no way obscuring any potential for tracing disease, yet Mr O’Connor could quite correctly slam me for having non-Nait compliant stock because the transfer didn’t happen within 48 hours of movement. Mr O’Connor is not alone, though his rhetoric is more fiery than our PM: her calm assertion that M. bovis arrived illegally flies in the face of all reports we’ve seen from MPI. Despite MPI having identified seven different pathways M. bovis could have entered the country, most of them legal, and saying they still hadn’t isolated the method of incursion, the PM chose to make this bold statement on the radio: “There is no question this has come into New Zealand by someone along the way breaching our rules and regulations”. I’m the first to put my hand up and say we farmers need to up our game, but is it too much to ask for our politicians to deal in hard facts rather than blame and bullshit?

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Drilling bores in Canterbury Under Environment Canterbury’s Land and Water Regional Plan (LWRP), drilling a bore in Canterbury no longer requires a resource consent in most cases. However, to take advantage of the new rule, your drilling company must be a member of the Canterbury Regional Council (CRC) bore installers programme. Participation in the CRC bore installers programme is optional. As a member of the CRC bore installers programme, your company would agree to a set of conditions including pre-drilling assessments, checks during drilling, well construction standards and submission of bore details to Environment Canterbury. If your company decides not to join the CRC bore installers programme, then you or your client will need to obtain resource consents before drilling most bores. The installation of a bore does not authorise the taking or use of water. It is your client’s responsibility to check the requirements for taking water from their bore and to

on page 14 indicates when you will need resource consent to drill. If you are unsure, please contact Environment Canterbury.

The installation of a bore does not authorise the taking or use of water

apply for a resource consent if required. We recommend that your client get advice from a consultant or our Customer Services team on 0800-324636 (0800-EC-INFO) prior to drilling.

How to join the installers programme The first step in becoming a member of the CRC bore installers programme is to fill in the application form, which can be found on the ECan website. You only need one application per drilling company - employees are not required to apply individually. The application form asks for your company’s details and for information on how you expect to comply with the terms and conditions of the CRC bore installers programme. Applications will be assessed by ECan staff. If they require more information or if there is a problem with the application,

they will be in touch. Once your application has been processed and endorsed ECan will issue a certificate and your company details will be displayed on its website. Membership in the CRC bore installers programme will last for one year, from July 1 (or a later date of application) until the following June 30. You will need to reapply for membership annually. There is no fee for applying or for being a member of the CRC bore installers programme. Terms and conditions relating to the CRC bore installers programme can be found on ECan’s website.

When is consent required?

There are still some instances in which a resource consent will be required to drill a bore, even if you are or have contracted a member of the CRC bore installers programme. The flow chart

During drilling requirements

If an archaeological site is discovered during site works, you must: • Cease work immediately and within a radius of 20m around the site. • Shut down all machinery and secure the area. • Notify the Heritage New Zealand Regional Archaeologist and ECan • If the site is of Maori origin, notify the local runanga • If human remains are uncovered, notify Heritage New Zealand, the NZ Police, the local runanga and ECan. Remains are not to be moved until the local runanga and Heritage New Zealand have responded. • Resume works only when Heritage New Zealand gives written approval for work to continue. • Provide any requested

information to the local runanga. These steps are required by Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014 whenever you drill or excavate, regardless of whether you are a member of the CRC bore installers programme. If contaminated material is discovered during works, you must: • Cease work immediately • Contact ECan During the drilling process you will need to record the following details about the bore. These will need to be submitted to ECan once drilling is complete: • Grid reference • Street address, owner’s name and contact details • Drilling method • Date of completion • Intended use(s) • Internal diameter of the bore at ground level • Casing material • Total depth • Length, depth, width and orientation for every section of a gallery. continued over page


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Dairy Focus

From P13 Environment Canterbury’s If you areLand decommissioning a bore, Under new and Water you must ensure that contaminants Regional Plan (LWRP), drillingarea prevented bore in Canterbury nobore from entering the by filling with clean material and Screen information (lengths, depths, consent in most cases. To take longer requires a resource compacting or sealing at the surface. type, material, diameter etc.) advantage of the new rule, your drilling company must be • Yield/step test data Post-drilling requirements • Groundwater at theCanterbury completion Regional Council (CRC) bore a memberlevel of the Within 20 working days after of installation completion of the bore, you must installers level programme. • Groundwater measuring point submit the bore information to ECan relative to groundinlevel Participation the CRC bore installers programme optional. via its online bore logisportal or an • Groundwater level measuring point agreed electronic format. ECan has As a member of the CRC bore installers programme, your description developed a guide to assist you with • Description the geology company ofwould agree to a set of conditions including pre-drilling this that is available on its website. To encountered during drilling; at a obtain a login and password for the assessments, checks during drilling, well construction standards minimum this should include: online bore log portal please submission of bore details to Environment Canterbury.contact If your --and depth of the unit being described the ECan customer services team on --company water content of thenot unitto (either decides join the CRC bore installers programme, ecinfo@ecan.govt.nz or 0800 324 636 saturated (0800 EC INFO). then you or ordry/moist) your client will need to obtain resource consents -- colour of the unit Performances will be drilling most bores. --before description of the major soil type of the unit The drilling installation of a bore does notchecked authorise the taking or use of Once is complete, Members of the CRC bore installers water. It and is your to check requirements contaminants waterclient’s need toresponsibility be programme will the be audited to prevented from water entering the top of bore the and ensure that they fulfilling their for taking from their to apply forare a resource bore or underlying groundwater by: requirements. will need to see consentorifcapping required. We or recommend that yourECan client get advice • Covering the bore the proof that you are complying with the fromground a consultant orthe ourgallery Customer Servicesofteam on 0800-324above portion of conditions the CRC bore installers pipe programme, so it suggests that you 636 (0800-EC-INFO) prior to drilling. • Sealing the exterior of the bore (the document your pre-drilling, duringannulus) with bentonite or concrete drilling and post-drilling assessments. HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER OF THE CRC BORE grout from ground level to above Failure to prove you have undertaken the screen or 1m below ground level, these assessments can result in INSTALLERS PROGRAMME? whichever is the lesser suspension or termination from the The first in becoming theinstallers CRC bore installers • Sealing the step bore-head or above a member CRCof bore programme. ground portion of the gallery pipe Thanks to which ECan for providing thison programme is to fill in the application form, can be found at ground or pump house floor level information for drillers. Those wanting our website. You only need one application per drilling company with a concrete pad of at least 0.3m to drill wells in other regions should employees are not required to apply individually. Thecouncil application radius and 0.1m thickness which is contact their regional for information regulations specific to contoured to slope awaycompany’s from the details form asks for your and fororinformation on how their area. bore or pipe

you expect to comply with the terms and conditions of the CRC bore installers programme.

Your application will& beSoak assessed by Environment Canterbury Water Wells Holes staff. If we require any more information or if there is a problem 0800 4 TEXCO with your application we will contact you.




An ISO 9001 certified company

Once your application has been processed and endorsed we will issue a certificate and your company details will be displayed on our website. Membership in the CRC bore installers programme will last for one year, from 1 July (or a later date of application) until the following 30 June. You will need to reapply for membership annually.

Is the bore for geotechnical investigation or monitoring?


Consent is not required provided you follow rule 5.104 of the LWRP


Are you installing a water infiltration gallery for emergency rural fighting?


Consent is not required provided you follow rule 5.104A of the LWRP


Is the bore for hydrocarbon exploration and/or production?


Consent is required


Is the bore screened in more than one aquifier or water bearing zone?



Is the bore located in a stream or river bed?



Is the bore located on contaminated land?




The bore is for any other purpose (e.g. irrigation, domestic supply etc.)

There is no fee for applying or for being a member of the CRC bore installers programme. Terms and conditions relating to the CRC bore installers programme can be found on our website.

IN WHAT CASES WILL I NEED CONSENT TO DRILL A BORE? There are still some instances in which a resource consent will be required to drill a bore, even if you are a member of the CRC bore installers programme. The flow chart below indicates when you will need resource consent to drill. If you are unsure, please contact Environment Canterbury.

Please contact us if you have any queries on: 0800 EC INFO (0800 324 636) or email ecinfo@ecan.govt.nz


Are you a member of the CRC Bore installers programme? Yes

Consent is not required




It’s important that those drilling keep a daily log of their work, including a record of materials penetrated and their water bearing capabilities. According to the New Zealand Water Well Drillers’ Guide to Logging Water Wells, at the completion of the well the well owner should be given a copy of the well log that summarises the driller’s daily log. That will show all dimensions and depths, screen particulars, water levels, yield test figures and stratum information. Construction irregularities such as down well obstructions should also be noted. A bore log also needs to be sent to your local regional council. Unsuccessful wells (dry wells or wells that failed to yield sufficient water or that were abandoned because of construction problems) are just as important for groundwater studies as successful wells. Foundation or test drilling bore logs are also useful in those studies, the guide said.


Bore logs a drilling requirement

Geologists are dependent on well logs fo  r the lithologic descriptions of the subsurface strata and rock units, and this is the basic data needed for establishing the stratigraphy. The stratigraphy describes the geometrical and age relationships between the various lenses, beds and formations in

geographical systems. Geologists group strata or rock units into formations and members. These may be traced between wells over distances ranging from a few kilometres to hundreds of kilometres, the guide said. Each formation is given a

name incorporating a geographical locality where the formation was originally recognised and described and sometimes a lithographic term describing the material. Drillers are familiar with the types of strata or rocks and the names of the more important formations present

in their area of operation. It’s the groundwater part of the hydrologic cycle that concerns well drillers. Wells intercept the groundwater in aquifers and the choice of drilling method, the type of construction and chances of success can initially be judged by the geology.




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Dairy Focus



Winter – a time for maintenance Winter is a time for maintenance ... and water supply wells are no exception! Well efficiency Most wells will experience changes during their lifetime. Changes may be due to corrosion, clogging screens and increased pump wear, but can also be simply due to a change in groundwater level. Not all changes can be dealt with, however with regular well maintenance some of these can be minimised. • Does your well provide suitable flow rates during all seasons? • Is your well of sufficient diameter and depth? • Is it still performing to its optimum capacity? • Has your well been adequately maintained?

Prevention is better and cheaper than cure - well maintenance Well maintenance can be deemed as an unnecessary cost however these costs can be easily offset by realising the savings in pump running

costs (i.e. power bills) not to mention the indirect costs in the event the well fails when you most need it. • Measure and record water levels and associated flow rates in your well as often as possible – especially before and after you turn your pump on. This will help you monitor any changes over time; • Record any other observations such as sand/grit in the water and how long it takes for the water to get to the surface on pump start up – it should be instantaneous; • If the changes look unusual call a well driller to discuss your observations and if any further action is required. Some form of maintenance every five years or so is not unusual to ensure the well is performing as it should;

Where possible carry out any preventative maintenance in autumn or winter when the well is not in use; Typical preventative maintenance, such as redevelopment and test pumping, should take 1-2 days to complete - unless unforeseen complications are encountered. This is also a good opportunity to send your pump in to be serviced before the well is put back into operation.

Borehead security Borehead security is a simple measure that can be taken to ensure the well is not unnecessarily damaged or the water quality compromised. •

Seal the area between the well and the surrounding ground with concrete (this is usually a consent requirement) so that

• •

surface water be less likely to enter the well; Seal any holes around hoses or cables entering the well to prevent contamination from animals or debris; Where possible isolate the area around the well from livestock; Seek advice from your council or your drilling company if necessary.

Sample your water

• • • • • • •

Turbidity; Total hardness; Calcium; Magnesium; Iron; Manganese; Nitrate nitrogen and; chloride. Additional tests may be required depending on your particular areas.

In conclusion …

Whilst the quantity of water is important we should not forget about the quality. Be it for drinking or general use, sampling and analysing your water quality is important. A simple suite of tests can ensure your drinking water complies with the New Zealand drinking water standards. For most water well supplies the following tests would be recommended: • Total coliforms & E-Coli; • pH, alkalinity; • Conductivity;

The investment in water supply wells is often substantial: getting the approval to install a well and have access to the water (the Regional Council), the construction phase (the drilling and pump installation), the testing phase (having the well tested and water analysed) and the ongoing maintenance (redeveloping and test pumping). However, look after your well and it will look after you. Advertising feature

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Efficiency testing proves worthwhile After rolling out an irrigation efficiency testing programme in Ashburton over the summer of 2016-17, last summer we were back on the farm in Selwyn carrying out more testing. Between the two programmes we’ve tested over 350 irrigation systems and found some interesting results. The good news was that across both districts farmers are using modern, efficient irrigation systems and are also using soil moisture monitoring technology to decide when to irrigate. But there were also areas for improvement. In Ashburton, the newer irrigation systems generally had better distribution uniformity. However for non-maintained systems over 15 years of age there was less uniformity. Perhaps Selwyn irrigators had heard about the issues with older irrigators, because when we carried out testing there last summer, the older systems were actually performing pretty well and were often better than new systems. This means that

Andrew Curtis


regular maintenance was occurring. In Selwyn, we found the systems performing least well were those that were between two and five years old, while the best performing systems were five to 15 years old. If we think back to the spring of 2013 there was a major windstorm in Selwyn, which saw many irrigation systems replaced or repaired under pressure. With hindsight it seems that many of these systems were not commissioned and haven’t been operating correctly from day one. There are some lessons for both the irrigation service sector and farmers on the importance of testing systems

Beth Turner and Will Wright from ECan test an irrigation system’s efficiency. 


before they are used. In the past two years, new farm environment plan rules have been introduced in

Canterbury which require that new systems be commissioned. So more recent systems are performing better, but there is still room for improvement. We strongly recommend that farmers include in their contracts that commissioning must be undertaken before handover. We have commissioning guidelines available to IrrigationNZ members online. Another lesson learned from the testing is that systems need regular checking to ensure they are working correctly. We have a free Check-It Bucket Test app you can download from Google Play or the App Store to help you with this. It’s interesting that some recent irrigation efficiency testing projects in Australia have had similar findings, with problems occurring due to systems not being set up correctly or not applying the correct amount of water. We recently spoke with the 2018 Gordon Stephenson Trophy Award winner Mark White for the IrrigationNZ magazine. He and his

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wife Catriona are national ambassadors for sustainable farming and growing and run a kiwifruit orchard in the Bay of Plenty. They source their water from the Tablelands Irrigation Scheme. Mark has some great advice for other irrigators. “Make every drop of water count by measuring everything,” he said and “invest in the best technology you can afford to target the water application as efficiently as possible.” His last piece of advice was that they found their irrigation system could be delivering very different amounts of water depending on how much water other scheme members were using. That meant they checked their system output regularly to see how it was performing, rather than just assuming everything was working correctly. In light of our testing results these seem like wise words indeed! Andrew Curtis is chief executive officer of IrrigationNZ


Dairy Focus



Spark launches agribusiness tool Spark, together with partner Digital Journey, has launched Spark Agri Assessment, a tool specifically for the agri-sector. The tool is a response to huge growth in agribusinesses innovation, coupled with data showing below average uptake when compared to other industries. According to Spark, the agribusiness sector could see some of the fastest growth in IoT (internet of things) technology, with over 50 per cent of the company’s IoT partners focused on solutions for this industry. Spark has developed the new tool, which is free of charge, and available to the entire sector including non-Spark customers. After answering a series of questions covering mobile technology through to sensors on the farm, participants are delivered a personalised digital action plan that lays out the areas they could consider working on. Spark’s general manager IoT solutions, Michael Stribling, said Spark is seeing IoT solutions come to market


for the agribusiness sector faster than any other. “Farmers and agribusinesses have been some of the first to adopt smart technologies to revolutionise the way they work, some even founding IoT businesses to solve pain points they face in their day-to-day working lives. “The innovation we’re

seeing in the agri-sector is extraordinary, farmers have always used Kiwi ingenuity to work smarter and now they’re taking that number eight wire mentality to the next level with technology.” However, despite growing opportunity, farmers and agribusinesses may have some way to go in making the most

of the technology available to them. Recent data from Digital Journey indicated 35 per cent of agribusinesses are using cloud-based services, trailing nationwide business use of 52 per cent. “The data shows farmers are more receptive to technology that makes a practical difference in real

time, for example, using an IoT platform to read the pH level of soil in a field and then making a decision on what to plant there in the short term,” Stribling said. There is also space for agribusinesses to market themselves better online by maintaining an online presence, with 35 per cent of the sector doing this compared to 50 per cent nationwide across all sectors. He said with MBIE estimating a $NZ34 billion productivity impact if more businesses made better use of the internet, and with agribusiness contributing $NZ7824 million to New Zealand’s annual GDP, the fact that many aren’t harnessing opportunities in connected technology is concerning, and it’s something Spark is wanting to help change. “We’re seeing a majority who still aren’t tapping into things that are now considered ‘the basics’, like cloud services and being online. For those who just don’t know where to begin, the new digital assessment tool will provide a starting point,” Stribling said.


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The new app that gets it done! A dairy farmer’s award winning app to manage people and tasks on farm is a cut above the rest. Tim Sutcliffe and Mitchell Hampton with the C-Dax Pasture Meter robot. 


Robot promising Massey’s Mitchell Hampton and Tim Sutcliffe showcased the new and improved C-Dax Pasture Meter Robot at National Fieldays at Mystery Creek earlier this month. Currently, pasture meters are towed by people in vehicles, however, this latest development would see the meters move autonomously. The robot precisely measures pasture, which saves labour costs, reduces land over-fertilisation, and is also electric, reducing the impact on the environment. The Massey mechatronics graduates, turned Massey researchers, are working with

C-Dax after Fieldays on field trials at Massey University’s farms to develop a commercial model of the robot. “The application of this is huge,” Sutcliffe said. “Measuring pastures using the pasture meter and towing it yourself uses about six hours a week on average. So if we can get a robot to do that, it will save man hours, fuel and time. “As researchers at Massey University we have been working on this project for a while now. Working with C-Dax to develop a rugged, high-tech agricultural robot has been a great experience.”

JobDone gets it done! its as simple as that. Farmer and Shareholders Councillor Greg McCracken uses JobDone on his property and says it has transformed his operations. “Without a doubt, this system gives every staff member more focus on the jobs that they are doing, meaning the completion rate is way up. As soon as the worker checks their phone, they see what needs to be done - and you know how often people check their phones these days. With JobDone I can see who is on farm at any time and what they are currently working on. Timesheets and recording breaks are a simple one-click action that is linked into the check-in system so it is very easy for the team to log their hours worked. Not only does JobDone save farmers time and money, it makes operations more efficient, improves health and safety compliance and helps the whole team contribute to solving problems. JobDone even takes the staff member through the steps involved in every

task, ensuring all bases are covered. “This is more than just an app, it’s an extra pair of eyes and ears,” said Greg. Now the team are more observant and can easily take a photo of something that needs attention from the field and upload it as a task, hazard or a notice so everyone is aware. Recurring maintenance tasks pop up when required and are automatically assigned to team members. When completed they become a permanent maintenance record for our assets. Summing up the value of JobDone, McCracken says it has enabled his farm to become more organised, safer and better managed. “Once you use this system, there is no going back. It uses the smartphones we all have today, which makes it easy to get started. It’s just a better way to farm.” Farmers can find out more about JobDone and sign up for a one month trial by going to www.jobdone.nz 

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Caring for cows on crop Wintering cows on crops is a common strategy to help keep cows in good condition, however there is also a risk that cows could become sick as a result of wintering on crop. There are a number of things farmers are doing to reduce this risk. Monitor the herd carefully and keeping an eye out for sick cows, or those that are not keen to feed when the rest of the herd is feeding, is one of these. Treat sick cows quickly, especially in poor weather conditions, and call your vet as soon as possible. Providing a suitable recovery site, such as a grass paddock with good shelter and a low stocking rate, with additional highly palatable feed and water, will speed up recovery for the cow. Your vet will advise you on the best recovery plan for your stock. Weather is a significant factor to consider when wintering cows on crop. Cattle are tolerant of cold conditions and they can make physical changes by thickening their skin and coats and drawing on their fat reserves. If a cow

Crops are an important part of a cow’s winter diet.

is clean and dry and there is little wind or rain, cold stress is rare until ambient temperatures fall below minus 10 degrees. The factors that increase the risk of cold stress are extremely low temperatures, wind, rain, and mud, low condition scores and low feeding levels. During periods of cold and wet, the energy required by cows can increase by at least 12 MJ ME/day depending on the severity of the conditions. Added to this increased requirement is often a decline in feed utilisation, increasing

the gap between energy intake and requirement. To keep cattle in the right condition during periods of extreme winter weather offer additional feed. For a typical crop-based wintering diet aiming to gain 0.5 BCS units during the dry period, in mild environmental conditions a 500kg cow needs to eat about 124 MJ ME/day. Typical diets to provide this include • 9.5kg kale and 4kg average quality pasture baleage (assuming 80 per cent utilisation of the crop and 85 per cent




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utilisation of baleage). 9.8kg DM swede and 4kg average quality pasture baleage (assuming 80 per cent utilisation of the crop and 85 per cent utilisation of baleage). • 8.3kg fodder beet and 3.5kg average quality pasture baleage (assuming 90 per cent utilisation of the crop and 85 per cent utilisation of baleage). If this same cow is exposed to prolonged cold and wet conditions, then her energy requirement increases to at •

least 136 MJ ME/day. To achieve this increased energy requirement, assuming the same feed utilisation, either provide more crop or more supplement. For a herd of 160 cows this extra energy could be provided by an extra bale/ day of average quality pasture silage (220kg DM equivalent, 10 ME) or additional crop: Kale: 160m2 for 160 cows grazing a 12 T crop (1.2kg DM/cow) Swedes: 120m2 for 160 cows grazing a 16 T crop (1.2kg DM swedes) Fodder beet: not recommended because it requires at least an additional 1kg DM/cow/day which could result in digestive upsets of some animals even when fully transitioned. Depending on the BCS of the herd, and the weather situation, wet and windy conditions require an additional 0.5 – 3kg DM/ cow/day. Helen Thoday is animal care team manager at DairyNZ

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Dairy Focus



Enerpro welcomes new team member Less than five years since being established, Ashburtonbased Enerpro Feeds has become one of the South Island’s foremost suppliers of customised dairy feed. Built on the principles of innovation, integrity, professionalism and excellence, Enerpro takes great pride in its quality-based approach, along with its focus on service and speed. Owner-operators Noel and Nikki Dew say they can customise their products by changing blends and adding minerals at the drop of a hat, so dairy farmers know they can get the feed they need for their cows quickly and without fuss. Enerpro can also supply farmers with straight commodities like palm kernel, soya or corn-based products. Although they offer product right throughout the South Island, Enerpro has recently added to its team by taking on Charlotte Flay as a sales rep. Charlotte, who graduated with a bachelor of agricultural science from Lincoln in April, freely admits that she loves cows, so being able to help farmers with their stock’s nutrition is something she takes great pleasure in. Born and raised on a North Canterbury dairy farm, Charlotte recently moved to a dairy farm near Dunsandel with her parents. She says her parents love their cows “and I suppose I’ve just grown up around that”. “They’re pretty cool animals. We ask so much of them and all we have to do in return is look after them.” Charlotte has been around cows since joining a calf club when she was four. She stuck with it and over the years developed a passion for Holstein Friesian cattle,

Charlotte Flay studied at Lincoln and has a background in farming. 

today having 20 of her own cows in her parents’ herd. That interest has extended to becoming an associate judge for the breed, something that has taken her to events around the country and even to Australia. However, she appreciates any good cow no matter what breed it is. Charlotte’s focus is on breeding and feeding cows to increase the overall efficiency and productivity of a farming system, something she believes she’s well-placed to help farmers with. Understanding the nutritional requirements of a cow is very important to gain the most from the animal, Charlotte says. “It is so important to maintain cow condition coming into the spring post-calving and pre-mating to ensure the cow can

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recover and be at ultimate condition score at mating time to increase chances of conception.” The full potential of a cow’s productivity and profitability is determined within the first few weeks of the calfs’ life. This is where it’s important to look after the development of the intestinal tract and rumen growth. The introduction of grain/meal is important within the first week of life to encourage rumen papillae growth and intestinal development which determines the volume of feed physically absorbed and utilised by the animal later on in life, Charlotte says. “It’s also really important for farmers to know how much energy their cows are using. They need to meet those requirements.” Charlotte says farmers should be able to see a return


“and then some” on money they invest in their stock’s nutrition. Having a farming background complements the knowledge Charlotte acquired at Lincoln, where her studies were wide-ranging, although she had a particular focus on animal health, welfare and nutrition. “I understand what farmers are doing and what they are trying to achieve. I really do get it and I can help. “When I’m not here (at work) I’m on the farm, so I do understand.” She’s a firm believer in the quality and value for money of Enerpro Feeds’ products, adding that there’s nothing like the company’s calf meal on the market. She also enjoys working for a small operation. “It’s great. I’ve got a good relationship with everyone from the

factory through to the owners. “I can follow everything through from the start through to the finish. I love that part of it.” Nikki and Noel are extremely pleased Charlotte has joined their team. “We’re really thrilled,” Nikki says, adding that Charlotte will be helping to cover the Ashburton and wider Canterbury area. “She’s vibrant and energetic. “On top of that there’s her degree, her dairy background and the fact that she just loves cows. “She’s a wonderful addition.” So whatever your dairy feed requirements are, contact Enerpro. You won’t be disappointed. They’re perfectly placed to deliver top quality, customised blends at prices that are more than competitive. Don’t delay, call them today.

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Dairy Focus



Ways to reduce milk fever Milk fever compromises the health of cows and their calves even if treated promptly and puts people under extra pressure at a critical time of the year. If you are reading this and feel that you dealt with too many cases of milk fever last season, it may be timely to consider if incidences on your farm could be reduced for the season ahead. Low blood calcium, which causes milk fever, is triggered by a rise in calcium demand from the udder – older cows in good condition are more susceptible because their hormonal response to mobilise bone calcium is slower compared to younger cows but they produce higher levels of milk faster after calving. A review of the springer cows’ diet based on typical mineral levels could be useful to identify obvious imbalances. The risk of milk fever can be higher if cows are eating a low calcium diet – low calcium feeds include maize silage and fodder beet. The risk of milk fever is also increased if cows are eating a very high calcium

Minimising metabolic issues around calving can have multiple benefits.

diet, so high lime flour feeding levels for colostrum cows are typically not suitable for springer cows. A low phosphorus intake can increase the risk of milk fever – fodder beet is especially low in phosphorus. Conversely a high phosphorus intake can increase the risk of milk fever,

so too much PKE may not be ideal for springer cows. A low magnesium intake can increase the risk of milk fever. NRM Nutrition Specialists can quickly review springer diets to look for any obvious challenges. If nothing is obvious from reviewing the ration based on typical feed

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specifications, it could be worth testing forages to see if they are carrying especially high levels of potassium or sodium, which can increase the risk of milk fever. A selenium or vitamin E deficiency can also increase the risk of milk fever. A good way to make sense

of why cows are going down is to take a blood sample before treating downer cows with multi-mineral metabolic solutions to give a better idea of what minerals the cows are responding to. Feeding anionic salts 2 to 3 weeks before calving to lower the cation/anion balance of the diet can be a very effective way to reduce the incidence of milk fever. They stimulate the early production of hormones, which encourage mobilisation of bone calcium, so that cows are better able to cope with the increased calcium demand of milk production. The Achilles heel of anionic salts is their unpalatability, which can limit intakes. NRM’s Anionic PreCalver Pellets are a rich source of anionic salts wrapped in palatable energy and protein, which can be beneficial to the springer cow. With a high level of trace minerals, vitamins and Bovatec®, they are well worth trying by anyone looking to reduce the incidence and severity of milk fever. 

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Optimising replacements’ growth rates We know how important it is to have proper heifer replacements. Most farmers will say “yes”, but the reality is different. Research shows that in New Zealand approximately 90 per cent of dairy farms are not achieving target live weights in heifers of 60 per cent of mature cow’s weight at mating and therefore not achieving 90 per cent at calving either. This lower weight in heifers affects milk production in the first lactation of the animal at least. Target milk production for the heifers in the first lactation should be not less than 90per cent of the average herd production. Let’s say that the mature cows are doing 2.2 KgMS/day; your heifers should be doing 1.98 KgMS/ day. When target weights aren’t met, the result is poor outcomes from young dairy stock graziers. Heifers are sent away grazing and most farmers are not tracking their weight often enough to make sure the animals return with target LW at mating or calving.

Fig 1 – Milk.

Milk and straw.

Milk, straw and meal.

Left inset – Matias Cassineri, Canterbury/West Coast/Tasman Animal PHOTOS SUPPLIED Nutrition Sales Representative.

Reaching your goals: Colostrum is critical for the newborn calf. The time frame to feed is short (6 hours) and gives major protection against disease. Milk is the main source of protein for muscle development and growth in a calf ’s diet. Consistency in quality, frequency and temperature of the milk are key to growing the calves to their genetic potential. Meal helps develop the rumen function faster by supplying energy and protein

(see Fig 1 above). In week one meal should be offered ad lib to stimulate intake. Fresh calf meal with a balanced nutritional profile must be available. Some calf meals don’t have enough of the amino acids required for muscle growth. Consider a balanced calf meal like Agrifeeds Grower range which is highly cost effective. Roughage quality straw helps rumen development (scratch factor). Forage will help increase bacteria in the rumen, important to ferment pasture.

Once weaned, heifers must have access to all the excellent quality pasture they can eat. There will be a loss of 20 to 30 per cent production during a heifer’s first lactation due to not reaching target weights at calving. Loss of production represents a substantial extra cost. At $6 pay-out, we can see that if heifers are peaking at 1.48 KgMS/day, you are losing 0.5 KgMS/day/heifer. That represents $3/day/ heifer for as long as the milk production peak lasts. At the same pay-out with an

average herd production of 420KgMS/year, you are losing between $453 to $680/heifer/ year in milk production when the heifers don’t achieve target weights at calving. Set your dairy heifer up for a long and productive life and be proactive with your future cows. You can’t manage what you don’t measure and remember that you are paying big money to get the job done, don’t accept average. 

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Dairy Focus

CalvingSmart this dairy season As the dairy season’s busiest time fast approaches, farm teams are encouraged to hone their calving skills at a DairyNZ CalvingSmart workshop in Canterbury. Workshops are being held during July in Culverden, Dunsandel, Hinds and Waimate where farm owners and staff will get the latest tips and techniques to set-up for this season’s calving. DairyNZ animal care team manager Helen Thoday says calving is traditionally a very busy time on dairy farms, and some simple preparation will help achieve a smooth and stressless calving season. “Ensuring the entire farm team has the right knowledge and skills to establish a caring, healthy and safe environment for calves, and everyone is working to the same plan, will help calving be less stressful,” Thoday said. “Having everyone on the same page also supports good farm routines and ultimately means calves get a good start to life.” The sessions are practical and


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interactive, and tailored to experience levels. A new skills session supports staff in their first couple of seasons to learn the signs of calving, stages of labour, identifying when to assist calving cows, safe handling of newborn calves and transporting calves. Team sessions are for workmates to f.ind out how teams work better together to save time and provide good animal care, along with establishing clear standards and processes. And finally, decision-maker sessions will explore what it would take to be world-leading in on-farm animal care, and look at calf rearing and system designs that work for calves and the team. The Canterbury events are being held in Culverden (July 5), Dunsandel (July 12), Hinds (July 13) and Waimate (July 17). The CalvingSmart workshops are free to levy-paying dairy farmers and their staff. Find out more about them at www.dairynz.co.nz/calvingsmart.

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Rest areas for cows are important Last month I wrote an article on once a day (OAD) milking. I got quite a bit of positive feedback from that as it resonated with what farmers were experiencing. This month I want to write about cows on winter crops. I somehow get the feeling that I won’t get the same sort of feedback as I did with my OAD milking article, yet the principles of both management decisions are very similar. The reason why cows do so much better with once a day milking is because they have a lot more time available to them to behave naturally, which is great. At this time of year lots of cows in our country go on to winter crops, which can be knee-high in mud with nowhere for cows to lie down and no shelter – so they are left just trying to cope with the rain and wind. When we choose to be animal farmers we choose to look after living creatures. That means that it is our responsibility to provide for the six basic needs a cow has, which

Fred Hoekstra


are: air, light, water, food, shelter and space. If those needs are met, a cow can function properly. If they are not met, a cow will struggle. It just depends on the severity of the shortfall as to how much a cow will struggle. When we put cows on winter crops we have a few challenges to deal with. One of them is the dietary challenge. It is important to make sure that there is a transition period of at least two weeks to allow the bacteria in the rumen to adjust to a new diet. This is even more critical in the spring when the cows go back onto a grass-based diet. Changes in diet have been proven to affect hoof health. Calving is also a risk period for lameness so if you com-

Putting cows on winter crops provides a few challenges.

bine those two, there is more attention to detail needed to ensure lameness issues are minimised. The other requirement is shelter. Cows that are on winter crops often lack comfortable resting places, which is part of the need for shelter. As the lying down area deteriorates, the threshold before a cow lies down goes up. This means that a cow will be becoming increasingly tired before she will choose to lie down.


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A good way to find out if the needs are being properly met is by looking at cow behaviour. When you look at a well-fed herd in the paddock take note at how the cows behave. They normally either graze, drink, lie down or socialise. Cows don’t normally stand for the sake of standing for very long. If they are standing for long periods of time, then this should raise a red flag that there is a problem. When cows spend the


winter months on winter crops they spend a lot of time standing. That is not the normal behaviour of cows and therefore we can expect cow wellbeing to be compromised. There is a correlation between resting time and lameness in dairy cows. As many people recognise, the positive effect of resting time in OAD milking, I hope people will also recognise the positive effect of providing better resting areas in the dry periods as well.


Dairy Focus


Upgrade your cooling equipment With the new June 2018 standards now in place, many farmers have already taken advantage of early bird deals and have their new equipment installed and running. But many more are still investigating the options available to them to upgrade their milk chilling equipment. We spoke with Matt Cammock from Southfreeze Dairy about these changes and he urges farmers who have not yet upgraded their cooling equipment to meet the new regulations, to take action now. It can be a minefield for farmers to navigate through the vast range of possibilities, with all sorts of claims being made of systems’ performance, quality and efficiency, says Matt. Capital cost, energy consumption and component quality are all factors that need to be considered when looking at cooling options. Pressure is already coming on manufacturers and installers to provide equipment in the required time frame. By leaving your decision until the last minute,

The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is very relevant when it comes to milk cooling.

you may also be narrowing your options, and end up having to purchase a lesser unit. The old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ is very relevant when it comes to milk cooling. Matt believes that the New Zealand made Varicool, designed specifically for New Zealand dairy farms should be at the top of the list to consider. Varicool offers one of the most energy efficient systems on the market today to cool your milk. It is designed using 3D-modelling software and is manufactured in Hamilton. Farmers can visit the factory and see what goes into building a Varicool system. Although the capital cost of the Varicool units may be higher, they offer lower running costs which have been verified by an ECCA

study. This makes the cost of ownership much cheaper than a lot of competitor products. As suggested in the name, the Varicool uses variable speed technology and utilises a variable speed drive. Many farmers will have experienced the energy saving benefits on their farm already with variable speed drives fitted on vacuum pumps, milk lift pumps and irrigation. The Varicool logs its energy usage and efficiency, which the farmer can view on their smartphone. It offers high grade heat recovery on all models as standard, along with remote support via a wide area network connection giving the dealer, farmer and manufacturer remote access to the machine. This can save time and money on call-outs, which are often not due to the

chiller unit itself. Issues with bore water cooling and plate coolers can often be identified remotely with the information from the Varicool’s remote connection. A Varicool can also reduce the electrical load on a dairy shed compared to its competitors by making current and often ageing direct expansion vat chillers redundant. It utilises the power normally used by the direct expansion units to not only cool the vats but to precool the milk to between 6 and 8 degrees. This is all within ‘one box’ which takes up minimal space outside the shed. Another unique feature is the Varicool’s ability to log the milk’s thermal gain due to the ambient air temperature once it is in the vat. Once the unit has been running for a few months, Matt can identify how

much it is costing the farmer per day to keep the milk at holding temperature and the possible benefit of using a vat wrap which can also result in significant power savings. Southfreeze Dairy are busy installing equipment on new build sheds and upgrades on existing sheds. The company also install ice bank systems, tank insulations and vat wraps. They offer preventative maintenance checks and an emergency breakdown service, taking pride in offering a quick response and a first time fix approach to breakdowns, recognising the importance of farmers having their plant up and running again as soon as possible. Southfreeze Dairy currently have payment options, along with Farm Source interest free payment plans available to eligible customers to help spread the outlay. Based in West Melton, Southfreeze Dairy works as far north as Culverden and Parnassus, and in the south to Hinds. Advertising feature








(03) 374 3437 or MATT 021 633 583 southfreezedairy@gmail.com www.southfreezedairy.co.nz MAINTENANCE



Silver award for ‘dream’ dairy Darfield’s Rural Building Solutions Limited (RBS) won Silver at the NZ Master Builders Commercial Project Awards in Auckland in May, at a sold-out gala evening at Skycity. RBS provides quality dairy shed design and build services to the full Canterbury region, including Ashburton District and this was their second entry and second award. Owners Nigel and Ruth Hodges, who have a background in the commercial building industry, set up RBS in 2009 to provide commercial building quality to the rural sector. “I found the rural building industry had very inconsistent quality and results,” Nigel commented. “Coming from a commercial background I knew we could offer high quality results every time.” Confirmation that RBS has achieved just that has come in the form of the Silver Award from the NZ Master Builders Commercial Project Awards for 2018. These national awards are the pinnacle of commercial

The award winning shed and feedpad.


Inset, from left – Nigel Hodges (RBS Director), Kristy and Peter Schouten (Waipapa Farm Owners).

construction in NZ. Their aim is to ‘recognise New Zealand’s outstanding commercial construction and the project teams that work together to create our city skylines and rural landscapes’. The silver award was for a full dairy facility for Waipapa Farm near Swannanoa, owned by Peter and Kristy Schouten.

This included a 60 bail rotary shed, 5036m2 feedpad, silage bunkers and effluent management system, that sets a new standard in the dairy industry. Peter and Kristy’s request was for a project to create their ‘dream’ milking facility while fitting in with the property’s layout, and current

and future environmental regulations. They wanted a building that was aesthetically pleasing, with the utmost practicality. Somewhere that staff would enjoy working, which also considered the needs and preferences of the cows. After looking at some of Nigel’s other builds in

Canterbury, Peter and Kristy knew RBS was the right company to build their dream dairy. Nigel noted “This has been a fantastic example of getting things right first time, and future proofing a dairy farm. It has really taken things to the next level”. “The project hasn’t been about meeting minimum compliance standards, but about embracing the future direction of dairying. Effluent recycling, solar power and feed pad are just three of the environmental innovations included at Waipapa Farm”. Peter and Nigel were so proud of the finished product that they held an open day for the public to see around the new facility. There was a big turnout from North, South and Central Canterbury, demonstrating how valuable farmers find it to actually see for themselves what others are doing. This open day also resulted in new clients requesting RBS to complete new projects. Advertising feature


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Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Dairy Focus - June 2018  

Dairy Focus - June 2018