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Dairy Focus SEPTEMBER 2016

New Zealand’s top

PERFORMERS Pages 10-11

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EDITORIAL COMMENT

INSIDE

Dairy Focus is proudly published by the Ashburton Guardian Limited

Enjoy reading Dairy Focus? You may also enjoy Guardian Farming

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LENDING A HAND

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Read the latest Guardian Farming online at guardianonline.co.nz We appreciate your feedback.

PASTURE

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SOCIAL MEDIA

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BOVINE BEAUTIES

Editorial Email your comments to susan.s@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7957. Advertising For advertising enquiries email emma.j@theguardian.co.nz or phone 03 307 7936. Post Ashburton Guardian, PO Box 77, Ashburton.

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EARLY RESTRICTIONS USE WATER WISELY

Susan Sandys

SENIOR REPORTER

The old perennials of market forces and the weather are lining themselves up to be big players in the season ahead. ECan reports low rainfall has caused many Canterbury rivers and streams to have begun the irrigation season already on restriction. The region has just completed its third consecutive winter with low recharge of groundwater, likely to cause pressure on springs and spring fedstreams, surface water and groundwater. Significant rain would see some recovery, but it is unlikely it would be to

average levels. There is brighter news on the milk price front, with Fonterra increasing its 2016/17 forecast by 50 cents to $5.25 per kilogram of milk solids. When combined with forecast earnings per share, the total payout for the current season is forecast at $5.75 to $5.85, before retentions. With volatility remaining in global dairy markets, the forecast will continue to be updated in coming months, but it’s a sign that the dairy market is on the way up. Farmers certainly think so. Two thirds told Rabobank in its recent Rural Confidence Survey they expect conditions to improve following a jump in commodity prices. It’s great news, and much deserved for dairy farmers who are hopefully now leaving the worst of the downturn behind them.


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Lending a hand in tough times Stressed out and exhausted farmers have received a godsend – in the form of freshfaced and energetic Lincoln University students. Susan Sandys reports.

When the calls come in, the Handy Landys are there to help out. At their first farm visit, to a dairy farm in Dunsandel, are members (back from left) Georgie Lindsay, Shannon Morton, Ryan MacArthur, Hannah Lockwood-Geck, Paige Harris, Tim Craig, Matty Risi, Joe Robins with farm manager Aidan, and (front from left) Heather Gee-Taylor, James Atkinson, Charles Pearse, Roderick Crowley, PHOTO SUPPLIED Campbell Harrison, Kelsey Scott and Dave Ingham.

The Handy Landys was set up by a group of Lincoln University students this year, after they came up with the idea while having a pint at their local. The Famous Grouse Hotel in Lincoln was where Ryan MacArthur and five of his university friends, all thirdyear Lincoln agriculture students, were together at a table last November. They were talking about the hard times which had befallen some farmers lately, relating to the dairy downturn, and in North Canterbury where drought-struck farmers were heading into another dry summer. Challenged by the ethos of the university’s Future Leader Scholarship, they felt there was something they could do to help out and came up with the concept of a group of students to undertake volunteer work on farms. continued over page

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Handy Landys Sophie Gualter, Tessa Schmidt, Oscar Beattie and Matty Risi are still smiling after a PHOTO SUPPLIED busy morning training heifers onto a milking platform.

From P3

Handy Landys Christina Berneheim, Roderick Crowley and James Atkinson lamb-proof a fence for a young family just PHOTO SUPPLIED starting out farming on the Banks Peninsula.

They were going to call it Farmy Army, but got a call from Federated Farmers telling them that that was trademarked. They had two days before their launch in February to come up with a new name and thankfully someone thought of the catchy new title, Handy Landys. Ever since the calls have

been coming in and there has been more than 15 farmers assisted so far, ranging from those on lifestyle blocks to larger dairy, and sheep and beef, properties. President Ryan MacArthur said he had loved participating in on farm tasks such as fencing, tailing, grubbing thistles, painting sheds, cleaning out under woolsheds, helping out with a North Canterbury “drought

shout”, and training heifers on to a dairy platform. “It is such a good feeling coming away from there knowing you have helped out,” MacArthur said of what he liked about the role. Students also benefited from the training and experience they received. Farmers had ranged from those who were overwhelmed and desperately in need of help, to those who may need a

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TO THE RESCUE It’s a farmer’s job to provide shelter for their stock, says Cath Smith. The Rakaia farmer and her partner Paul Florance were recently helped out by the Handy Landys. One dozen members turned up on the arable property they lease earlier this month. The job for the day was to plant 730 trees, and within four hours the work was done.

Smith said she and Florance had no staff, and needed to fit in the planting around the vagaries of the weather, after removing hedges for an irrigation upgrade. “They are wonderful,” she said of the group. By the time the Handy Landys left, six kilometres of trees were in the ground, and stock on the farm were set to be protected in future from wind and snow.

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hand for a short time because of a lack of staff. Among the most serious cases had been helping a dairy farming family get their place ready for sale when it could no longer service the farm’s debt, due to one of the members being diagnosed with cancer. Others included dairy farmers who were working ridiculous hours after cutting down on staff in the dairy

downturn. About 100 students were members of the Handy Landys, and so far no farmers had had to be turned away. MacArthur said the group could be helped out by rural companies wanting to provide volunteer labour as part of their own community initiatives. Of the group’s founding members, three had grown up on farms, while the other

three had been city kids. MacArthur was among the latter group, having originally come from Dunedin. His career goal was to work with a milk supply company. He had chosen agriculture as a career due to his interest in that area and it being a booming industry. “I reckon it’s the future of New Zealand,” he said.

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Around the traps The Small Business Development Group and Minister for Small Business Craig Foss visited a Methven dairy farm and other Mid Canterbury businesses this month, before having drinks and dinner at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre.

Above (from left) - Heidi and Daniel Burgess of Hutt Shuttles with Minister Craig PHOTOS AMANDA KONYN 140916-AK-080 Foss. Above - David Mathieson of Mathieson Chartered Accountants and SBDG 140916-AK-082 member Sonia McConnachie.

Above - Greg Martin of Arrowsmith Law and Lynda Mathieson of Mathieson 140916-AK-081 Chartered Accountants.

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Social media bridging divide I recently read an article about the rural/urban divide in New Zealand, the disconnect that exists between farmers and their counterparts in town. The piece was written by Blair Drysdale, a Northern Southland farmer whom I know through interactions on Twitter. Blair is a passionate advocate for farming and, while he was writing an insightful, intelligent and well-thoughtout piece calling on farmers to bridge that ever-increasing divide, I was cramming ever-increasing numbers of gingernuts into my mouth and posting the pictures to social media. I like to think we were both working towards the same goal. Blair is right there is a divide and the traditional ways in which it was bridged have all but disappeared. But new methods of engaging with non-farmers are available to us and they can be very effective. What we’ve all been guilty of in the past is preaching to the converted, talking to other farmers, chatting amongst

Craig Hickman

ELBOW DEEP @dairymanNZ

ourselves. It’s fair to say city dwellers have a stereotypical view of farmers and it’s not very flattering. As a collective, farmers on Twitter reach an audience numbering in the thousands, and I give a light-hearted view into dairy farming that many of those folk might not otherwise get. I also share the tweets of others doing the same - the cow drinking Milo from a travel mug in the middle of a paddock, the farmer sneaking into cow sheds in the middle of the night to leave baked goods and encouraging notes, the calf club calves being hand-fed marshmallows and, of course, me covered in cow shit. We can achieve so much just

by sharing the good things we do: the annual donations of calves to IHC, our universal condemnation of animal cruelty, our constant striving to work smarter and do things better and, to the surprise of many town folk, our passion for the land we are farming. This is how we’re engaging a diverse audience; with

humour, with light-hearted pictures of our everyday work, with amusing anecdotes about our careers and by answering their questions directly and honestly. The feedback we get from sharing our farming lives online is heartening people are truly amazed at some of the things we see as mundane: be

it calving a cow, shifting the effluent spreader or saving calves that got stuck in a tomo. While I’m by no means the best advertisement for farming in New Zealand, I can truthfully say I’ve given more people a deeper understanding in the past 12 months than I have in the previous 20 years.

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Cultivating “pasture-first” mentality Pasture drives more than 85 per cent profit for dairy farms, so it is crucial to get the most out of it this spring. DairyNZ is teaching South Island dairy farmers how to optimise pasture growth and quality, and incorporate crops into their system, at its Tactics for Spring workshops kicking off this month. Research and development general manager Dr David McCall said it was important farmers focused on what they could control, especially with uncertainty around milk prices. Research showed that without any input other than basic fertiliser, pasture drove more than 85 per cent profit for most farms at a $7.00 per kg MS milk price, but 98 per cent at a $4.00 milk price. “Profitable farmers, no matter what system they run, have a pasture-first mentality. They measure and work to optimise the cheapest feed source,” McCall said. “Growing and harvesting an extra tonne of dry matter that has already been paid for can reduce costs by around 33

TIPS FOR SPRING Act quickly to remove supplement when balance date arrives. Balance date occurs when soil temperatures are greater than 10 degrees celsius and pasture cover is at least 2,000kg DM/ha. Once balance date is achieved, pasture will meet the nutrient needs of the cow including getting them in calf.

North Waikato farmers learn, in Tactics for Spring workshops this month, how pasture will meet PHOTO SUPPLIED all their cows’ nutrient needs after balance date.

cents per/kg of milksolids, pushing farms closer to breakeven or further into profit.” Tactics for Spring workshops are being held around the country, in September and October, the beginning of what DairyNZ

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Dairy Focus

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Bovine beauties top producers at Susan Sandys

Big is beautiful at the Temuka dairy farm and stud of Deloraine Holsteins. Cows at the premises are queens of the bovine world they are washed, brushed and individually named. In return they bring in prizes for their owners and are among New Zealand’s highest performers on the milking platform. The purebred Holstein Friesians have a reputation for taking out top awards, and this year in the Holstein Friesian New Zealand – Semex NZ Ltd On-Farm Competition they brought home three championships from six classes, replicating their success of 2013. The competition is based on appearance, and the judges know what they are looking for. Being large is a good start, as it indicates a capacity for producing lots of milk. Other aspects taken into account are the cow’s shape. Being rounded like a beef cow is not a good look, angular is where it’s at. This is a sought-after feature in the dairy world, as it indicates the cow is putting her energy

SENIOR REPORTER

Big, buxom and beautiful is translating into awards and high milk production at a fourthgeneration Temuka farm.

Dairy farmer James Sherriff (left), with Deloraine Mr Sam Phebe and his cousin Ashley Sherriff who farms nearby, with Deloraine Talent Vila, at the Winchester A & P Show. PHOTOS SUPPLIED

into producing milk instead of putting on unnecessary weight. The shape of the cow’s head in proportion to her body is examined, and even the cow’s markings can make a difference. Deloraine Holsteins operator James Sherriff said while the makeup of black and white is not taken into account by judges as such, he believes it is easier to make a cow with

“Mate, I can’t see the forest OR the bloody trees?” Get your eyes sorted

more black on it look good for the judges. “You can just get them looking sharper,” Sherriff said. The 29-year-old is the fourth generation of his family to farm the property, and the cows are his pride and joy. Prior to judges visiting, the cows entered are washed and given a brush as well. No clipping is allowed. That day’s milkings are timed around the visit to

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ensure the cows’ udders are of a reasonable fullness, another factor indicative of top milking capacity. The on-farm competition’s awards are highly sought after, and this year it was judged from 709 cows across 96 herds nationwide. It began in 2004, and since then Deloraine Holsteins has claimed 16 championship and four reserve championship titles. The secret behind producing

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Temuka

Deloraine Sam Marga has produced 13,098 litres of milk, with 1028kg of milk solids, over 305 days. PHOTOS ROSS EASTERBROOK

such bovine beauties is good breeding, and of course feeding helps as well. Sherriff operates Deloraine Holsteins in partnership with his parents Bridget and Alister. The cow stud was established in 1934, and in 1957 began tapping into overseas genetics when it imported bull semen from Canada. Today it continues to use bull semen from the country,

Deloraine Mr Sam Phebe is a top prize winner. Three times New Zealand on farm Semex champion.

and it is one of only a minority of Holstein Friesian studs nationwide to source from the continent. Sherriff says it’s the genetics which are behind the farm’s top per cow milk production – 650 kilograms of milksolids for the 2015 to 2016 season. The national average is about 377, and less than two per cent of herds in the country are producing over 600.

The farm grows 12 hectares of lucerne, which is baled and fed out when pasture supply is low. It also grows 40 hectares of barley and 20 hectares of maize silage. Its milking platform is 140 hectares on a total farm area of 344 hectares. The farm rears all its calves. About 160 bulls are produced in an average year, most of which are sold on to other farms as breeding bulls, the

remainder as beef bulls. About 160 female calves are raised, and what are not used as replacement heifers are either exported to become producers for the Chinese dairy industry, or sold onto other South Island farms as in-calf heifers. Cows can also be sold to studs for breeding, attaining high prices; one of these recently went for $21,500. Calving was going well on the farm earlier this month, with no losses due to bad weather. Calves have an automated feeder in each pen. They can go up to this whenever they feel hungry, and a system tied in with their electronic ear tags ensures calves feed at intervals throughout the day, and they do not receive more than seven litres per day. Among cows coming back to the milking platform is Marga, the farm’s top producing animal ever. As pedigrees all the cows are named and registered, and Marga’s full name is Deloraine Sam Marga. Over 305 days she had

produced 13,098 litres of milk, with 1028 kilograms of milksolids, 4.48 per cent of fat and 3.36 per cent of protein. She took out the national title as a two-year-old about four years ago. Among top prize winners on the property is Deloraine Sam Phoebe. She has taken out three national championship titles, making her one of the farm’s top prize winners. Seeing results at competitions was rewarding, and an indication of the effort which went into picking bull semen was all worthwhile, Sherriff said. The farm milks about 370 cows and its annual average milk production is 231,000 kilograms of milksolids, a good figure considering the farm’s high calf-rearing capacity. Added to breeding and feeding in order to get such good results, Sherriff said good management was an aspect as well. The farm’s vet had told him his pedigree cows were like Ferraris. “They take a lot more looking after, but you get a lot more out of them,” he said.

“Genetic gain from Liberty Genetics high BW bulls has added value to our herd” Sam and Hanna Kingston are long-term clients of Liberty Genetics and are pleased with the service and results they are getting for their herd. The Kingston’s average 1750kg / milk solids per ha across their farming business, running a low-cost system below $4kg / milk solids with very little brought in feed. The savings from Liberty’s lower cost genetics helps with this low cost structure. After a few years of milking Liberty breed cows, Sam says they are very impressed with their Liberty daughters for their superior udders, temperament and size. “Our calves look so much better than they used to; bigger and better marked as yearlings than when we used bulls from other semen providers,” Sam explains. The Kingston’s are also impressed with the genetic gain they are achieving by using Liberty Genetics. “BW is important to us. The genetic gain from Liberty Genetics’ high BW bull teams has added value to our herd.” Sam says they are moving the herd toward A2/A2 next season to add greater value to their milk in the future. “Liberty’s A2/A2 bulls in their packs are so much more affordable than their competition. Other companies see A2/A2 as a nominated product and charge a premium for A2/A2 bulls. Liberty charge their standard $6.75 per straw for their A2 team of friesian, crossbreed and jersey bulls,” he says. The Kingston’s also praise Liberty Genetics’ AI technician service, which is “another bonus with technicians on-farm at a convenient time to inseminate cows.”

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science. For the past 30 years corporate science has been promising cures, but they never seem to evolve. The problem is that the chemists don’t want to stop the money flow. In reality they are trying to speed the business up by vaccinating every part of life - plants, animals and humans. So, from my point of view, keep your head down, but make sure your butt is not sticking up, because it will surely get needled.

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As a kid growing up in the 1940s through to the 1970s we recognised water as a healthy, safe commodity, to the extent that if you were thirsty you could safely drink out of the nearest puddle to you, or the streams, rivers and lakes. That was the system – you had trust in the water. However, over the past 40 odd years the heavy use of toxic chemical sprays and fertilisers reached a point where water is no longer safe to drink. During the 1980s, as a commercial grower, I read an article in an agricultural journal which stated that there were 10 thousand tonnes of toxic chemical products sprayed throughout the planet every 24 hours. I was one of those people spraying toxic chemicals. Bad boy? Johnny! Go to the back of the class. Do we really need a licence to farm? From the late 1940’s to the 1980s our farmers were recognised as the best and most cost efficient farmers on our planet. We had farming intelligence way ahead of any

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other country and a strong team of independent scientists funded by the tax payer taking our farmers to new heights. It was a magic period, with plenty of money circulating throughout all towns. Farming is a natural process and governed by natural laws that, if followed, will influence the production on the farm, keeping the whole system in a natural healthy state. Nature is all about health and fertility. Chemicals have the opposite effect, which favours the chemists. So, don’t panic, go Organx™ with Agrissentials best on earth fertilisers. Call us. Call us today on 0800 THE KEY for a chat or a free info pack, that’s 0800 843 539 to find out how we can partner with you to find a better way of farming. Alternatively, you can contact your best on earth fertiliser representatives Murray Nichol 027 655 4360 (Central), Darryn Graves 027 288 0140 (Mosgiel), Ailsa Broughton 027 681 1100 (Southland) to grab your special deal today.

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2 14

Farming Dairy Focus

www.guardianonline.co.nz Advertising feature

Innovative agriculture equipment MEETING THE NEEDS OF YOUR HERD The real advantage in having your own mineral dispensing system is that it allows you to purchase the cheapest grain on the market and mix special brews of minerals to meet the specific needs of your herd. PPP Industries was formed in 1962 and was originally set-up as a poultry equipment manufacturer and parts supply company. In the early 1970’s the technology used in the poultry industry was adapted, combined with some good kiwi ingenuity, and New Zealand’s first commercial in-shed dairy feeding systems were created. Since the 70’s, the systems we’ve supplied have constantly evolved whilst maintaining a focus on being user-friendly

and cost effective. Dairy inshed feed systems are now our main product and we are focused on providing systems which meet the demands of New Zealand farmers. From time to time we service systems which were installed in the 70s and 80s and it’s great for farmers to know that when they need service work or upgrades in the future that we will be there to back our product

PPP mineral dispensers Different seasons bring different demands on our animals and it is important to maximise production and health. With a PPP Mineral Additive System, you have the option of adjusting when, where, and what minerals you need, and you know exactly what your animals have received. For Herringbone and rotary sheds. Feeding cows is only one part of a PPP feed system; Add in minerals to improve reproductive performance and health to maximise farm profitability.

PPP Mineral Systems are a simple add-on to existing feed systems as well. The PPP in line mineral dispenser allows the farmer to feed as little as 40 grams of mineral per 500g of feed. As the system comes complete with its own control box which allows you to make a simple adjustment via a dial for increasing or decreasing the amount of minerals being fed into each line. For both herringbone and rotary sheds, there is one dispenser per line.

system developed for the European market. Each cow has its own specific nutritional requirement. A cow produces best if it is

Liquid feed dispensers

In line mineral dispensers.

MultiDos liquid dispensing If you require formulated low dose amounts of minerals or animal health products fed to lactating cows then PPP can offer you the MultiDos

providing healthy farm profits. he mess factor with molasses can be an issue. PPP can offer a mess-free molasses and liquid system for adding molasses and CDS (Condensed Distillers Syr up) – either on their own or to other feeds – to increase nutrition and palatability for your animals.

Multidos dispenser.

fed just the right amount of feedstuffs. Sometimes a cow needs something extra in addition to the basic ration. Healthy stock means low veterinary costs and higher milk yields. The result: Healthy cows

Molasses is the most common liquid used in New Zealand dairy sheds and has long been the farmers’ friend. It contains significant quantities of trace minerals such as copper, zinc, iron and manganese and is an excellent source of energy, promoting animal health. Whey bi-products are the next most common liquids used.

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2 16

Farming Dairy Focus

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Challenging assumptions The season is now well under way and the winter has been very good to us during calving - at least here in Canterbury. But even with a good spring we still get lame cows. Why is this? What are the risk factors for lameness? We see an increased prevalence of lameness during mating and animals in housed environments have different lameness challenges. There also seems to be challenges associated with diet that may contribute to lameness. The question then becomes ‘what are the real causes’? Research has shown that rough tracks and poor animal handling increase the prevalence of lameness. This is great information to have but, in and of itself, is of little value because there are farms with tracks that are so good that you could land a plane on them if they were a bit wider and yet lameness is very much an issue on some of those farms. There are farmers who are very conscious of, and particular with, their animal handling, eg no pushing in the

Fred Hoekstra

VEEHOF DAIRY SERVICES

yard and staying 20m behind the cows when they walk to the cow shed and, once again, some have major lameness issues. And, of course, there are farms where the tracks are perfect and animal handling is fully under control and still the problem of lameness remains. The question therefore must be: Why does research tend to only point to rough lanes and animal handling as the major causes of lameness in dairy cows? Could it be that the focus on this one issue creates a blindspot where we are missing alternative causes? Research is great and can be very helpful to understand the environment around us. Often we understand a theory to be

true, but when a proper trial is being conducted it turns out that our theories are incorrect. Research is done starting with a limited understanding of the truth. Even if we know quite a lot about the subject, it is still limited. It is also very difficult to eliminate the bias factor when it comes to research and be 100 per cent objective. So, assuming that the research is done properly doesn’t mean that the conclusion drawn from that research is correct. This is why theories are often changed or even proven wrong. A classic example of this is the research on eating eggs. I can choose whatever research result suits me on any given morning to justify me eating an egg or not. So, when we read a research paper that tells us that tracks and animal handling have an influence on the prevalence of lameness then that is the only conclusion you can draw from that. If you, the readers, then draw the conclusion that the research means that stones

are the reason why bad tracks and bad animal handling is a problem then you have jumped to a conclusion based on assumptions. It may be an assumption coming from the research but nevertheless it is still an assumption.

Why does research tend to only point to rough lanes and animal handling as the major causes of lameness?

In order to “prove” that it is the stones that are the culprit we need more targeted research to find evidence. As far as I am aware there has never been research done that supports that theory. I have heard arguments that say that it doesn’t matter

because we know from the research that we need to handle our animals well and there are benefits in improving our tracks. This is true, however, without proper understanding we can never eliminate a problem completely. Whilst I don’t believe it is possible to completely eliminate lameness, how close we get will depend on understanding what the true causes of the problem are. Is it possible that bad tracks increase the prevalence of lameness because the cows spend more time per 24 hours on walking and therefore that decreases their available time for resting? Is it possible that poor animal handling increases stress hormones in the body beyond healthy levels and this contributes to problems like lameness? Research has shown a link with resting time, stress and lameness (time management for dairy cows Michigan Dairy Review). Let me know what you think, email me: fred@ veehof.co.nz.

NICK’S PETFOOD LIMITED “We’ve been in the industry for the past 15 years.”

Nick’s Pet Food Ltd buy unwanted animals • Cattle • Goats • Calves • Horses • Other farm animals Please call Nick for more information 027 210 1621/03 348 9439 or send us an email nick.pacey@hotmail.com


www.guardianonline.co.nz

IRRIGATION AND EFFLUENT FEATURE

17

Restrictions kick in early Dairy farmers are hoping for spring snowfall in the mountains to help recharge aquifers and river levels as irrigation restrictions kick in early. The South Island contains around 80 per cent of the total irrigated land in New Zealand, with Canterbury and North Otago making up the majority of that area. NIWA’s spring outlook from September to November forecast it was “very likely” in the central and southern South Island, and “likely” in the northern South Island, that temperatures would be above average this spring. Rainfall was equally likely to be near normal or below normal in the South Island, except for in the north of the South Island, where it was likely to be normal. There has already been some warm spring days, suggesting NIWA’s forecasts have so far been right on the money. Making sure you get a good start to the irrigation season will help ensure the most efficient use of that precious water going into summer.

In the first irrigation, make sure surface pumps are primed, fill the mainline slowly, and take initial flow readings, operating pressures and amp meter readings, as these will serve as benchmarks for the rest of the season. Listen out for the pump system making any unusual noise, check all pressure and/ or flow switches which could have been damaged over the winter, check any leaking seals, joints or glands, and

check suction screens and surface water takes. If pumps have auto clean, ensure it works. At the irrigator, grease the pump and motor, check its operating pressure to compare with initial readings or specifications, check sprinklers for condition, rotation, blockage, wear and tear, and check hoses and pipes for damage or leaks. Once the irrigation season is underway, grease the pump and motor, check flow

readings, operating pressures and amp meter readings to compare with initial readings or specifications. At the irrigator check sprinklers for condition, rotation, blockage, nozzles not hooked up, wear and tear, check irrigation speed and operating pressure, check application depth and compare against design specifications, check hoses and pipes for damage or leaks, follow maintenance schedule for

regular greasing of travelling irrigators, and have a plan to manage travelling irrigators in high winds. Strategies to protect from the wind may include turning water off, but keeping the irrigator filled with water, and tying down rotary booms. It is also advised to park the irrigator behind shelter or in the same direction as the wind, to minimise the wind contact area. Source: DairyNZ

Irrigate your small block & pivot corners We have IRTEC Irrigator models in stock that cover 1-40ha. These will work on pressures down to 3.5 bar, keep trees and fencelines intact and not limit your crop options. Talk to Carrfields Irrigation to customise a solution.

Contact 0508 4 IRRIGATION, 162 Dobson St, Ashburton

www.carrfields.co.nz/irrigation


Farming Dairy Focus

2 18

www.guardianonline.co.nz

IRRIGATION AND EFFLUENT FEATURE

Use water wisely Andrew Curtis

IRRIGATION NZ

The anti-irrigation movement has become more and more vocal over recent months. Much of this relates to the upcoming local body elections as candidates compete to find their point of difference. IrrigationNZ has a strict policy of not endorsing individuals or parties in local body and national elections. We take an apolitical approach, as it allows us to more easily form a professional working relationship with whomever ends up in power. It’s extremely difficult to do this if the person or party you have sided with during the election is not successful. Irrigators need to be aware that this is the start of what will likely be a year of noise and improper accusations as

we move towards the general election. The recent Hawke’s Bay campylobacter outbreak epitomises this. Selfproclaimed experts were quick to bag intensive agriculture without even knowing the facts. I spent nine years living and working in Hawke’s Bay and can’t remember an intensive livestock farm anywhere near the water supply bore fields for Havelock North. However, an issue this incident does bring to the fore, is the need for better well-head protection. How many of us have bores that are open, well cases that are not sealed or no backflow prevention in place for fertigation injection equipment? For all irrigators that take from bores, the above need to be high on the priority list - check and take action accordingly. It is part of your social licence to operate. Farm Environment Plan (FEP) audits are starting to reveal an interesting picture around irrigation practice.

A number of irrigation workshops are planned for this summer.

In summary, there is a fair way to go before the majority of us are at good practice. Regular checking and maintenance of equipment could be improved, but poor irrigation scheduling is by far the biggest challenge. IrrigationNZ will be running numerous soil moisture monitoring workshops and irrigation scheduling training courses this summer, so keep an eye on our online events calendar for one near you. For assessing irrigation

Visit our website for more on how the

system performance, we’re releasing the first Check It – Bucket Test app next month. This will make checking how much water is being applied like child’s play. To find out more, take a look at our spring magazine at http://irrigationnz.co.nz/ news-resources/publications/ magazine/. Plan submissions and hearing evidence are taking up an increasing amount of IrrigationNZ’s time. This will likely increase over

the coming months as each region notifies updates to their regional plans to give effect to the Freshwater Management National Policy Statement. The introduction of national planning templates in the near future would be useful. One submission nationally on some of these issues would be a far more efficient approach, as we are finding we’re doing a lot of cut and paste between each region’s submission around the same issues.

PHILL STAYS GREEN WITH INCREASED REVENUE Farm owner and agricultural consultant Phill Everest uses Growsmart® Precision VRI to “kill five birds with one stone.” He’s able to improve the sustainability of his dairy operation while reducing its environmental impacts. Phill sees the benefits in terms of track maintenance and grass growth as well as ensuring the availability of his water. The water he saves under one pivot can be redistributed to irrigate an additional 23ha of his farm. FieldNET® integrates with Precision VRI to provide complete remote pivot management, with VRI control, monitoring and reporting. “The first time using the new FieldNET tool for Precision VRI, I found it very easy. It was much simpler and quicker having just the one place to go to control my pivot and manage my Precision plans” Find out how you could benefit from increased water efficiency using Precision VRI with FieldNET by talking to your Zimmatic® dealer or visiting growsmartprecisionvri.co.nz

© 2016 LINDSAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. ZIMMATIC, FIELDNET AND GROWSMART ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS OF THE LINDSAY CORPORATION.


www.guardianonline.co.nz

IRRIGATION AND EFFLUENT FEATURE

19

Helping farmers launch into spring The team at Landpro are used to talking about irrigation and effluent until the cows come home. Landpro is a wellestablished and awardwinning professional consultancy business offering planning, surveying, engineering, hydrological and mapping services. With bases in Cromwell, Timaru, Gore and New Plymouth, Landpro’s team of consultants have become trusted advisors and enduring problem solvers for their farmer clients throughout New Zealand. Managing director Kate Scott said as farmers now put calving behind them, they will be wanting to make sure everything is in order in terms of compliance and planning around effluent and irrigation. “The approach we like to take is to work with our clients to help them through that process. We try and keep costs as low as we can by working with our clients to gather the necessary information and

put it together in the way that councils understand it,” Kate said. If you need help understanding your effluent system, or advice on meeting consenting requirements, or drafting an effluent management plan or sustainable milk plan, Landpro are able to assist. On the irrigation front, Landpro has vast experience in helping individual farmers, as well as irrigation schemes, to prepare resource consent applications and address compliance issues. The company’s team of surveyors are also very experienced in mapping and surveying irrigation infrastructure, pipelines and races, using both conventional survey equipment as well as a survey drone. “Once the design is finalised, whether it be irrigation, fencing or dams, our team ensure everything ends up where it’s meant to, allowing our clients to get on with their work, without the stress,” Kate said.

Landpro’s survey drone is in demand for mapping and surveying irrigation infrastructure. PHOTO SUPPLIED

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2 20

Farming Dairy Focus

IRRIGATION AND EFFLUENT FEATURE

www.guardianonline.co.nz

Farmer recommends testing effluent Applying effluent is a great way to fertilise paddocks naturally and cheaply, says Methven dairy farm owner David Molloy. But it is important that effluent is tested annually, so it can be used strategically on paddocks to ensure nutrients are applied where they are needed most. Effluent is flood-washed from cow yards into a sand trap and pumped up through a rotary separator at the farm. Solids are separated out and the remaining liquid goes into the on-site effluent pond. A treatment product is applied every month to help with the oxygenation process, and two stirrers operate 24 hours per day in the pond. When it comes to application, the effluent is pumped into the farm’s lateral and centre pivot irrigators which operate across the whole farm. Molloy said next month a sample would be collected from one of the irrigators and sent to Hill’s laboratory to find out its nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium and

sulphur (NPKS) makeup. This analysis was undertaken annually, and generally showed for every 10mm of effluent applied there was 22kg of potassium per hectare, 11 units of nitrogen, and about 2.5kg of phosphorous. The data was analysed alongside soil tests, so strategic decisions could

be made on which paddocks to prioritise for effluent application. “For us, we believe it’s important we test our effluent on an annual basis, to make sure we know what its nutrient value is, so when we are applying through irrigators we know how many nutrients are going on at the

same time, so we can target the paddocks we know need it,” Molloy said. Molloy’s dairy farm was among businesses visited by the Minister of Small Business Craig Foss and members of the Small Business Development Group (SBDG) on a tiki tour around Mid Canterbury this month.

Innovative effluent - Methven dairy farm owner David Molloy (right) explains the science behind natural paddock fertiliser to Minister of Small Business Craig Foss (left) and Small Business Development Group members, including Neil Pluck, this month. PHOTO SUSAN SANDYS 140916-SS-001

BY BYLINDSAY LINDSAY

0800 ZIMMATIC ZIMMATIC 0800

Ashburton: 25 McNally, Ashburton 7700. Phone (03) 307-2027 Ashburton: 25 McNally, Ashburton 7700. Phone (03) 307-2027 Timaru: 81 Hilton Highway, Washdyke 7910. Phone (03) 688-7042 Cromwell: 9 Rogers St, Cromwell 9310. Phone (03) 445 4200 Timaru: 81 Hilton Highway, Washdyke 7910. Phone (03) 688-7042


www.guardianonline.co.nz

IRRIGATION AND EFFLUENT FEATURE

21

Advertising feature

Avoid frustration Top pond liners Farmers need to make sure their effluent systems are up to the job. A poorly-designed system will only cause unnecessary expense and frustration in the long-term.

Problems can include:

• High risk of non-compliance with regional council requirements. • No contingency for adverse weather events, staff absence or system breakdown. • High demand on labour and time. • Expensive to operate and maintain. • The need to irrigate on days when ponding, run-off, and leaching risk is high. • Additional pressure on the farm team during calving or wet weather. • Unrealised investment in the system if it is not user-friendly or doesn’t achieve compliance. • Little room for future expansion. The system must be capable of storing all effluent when conditions

aren’t suitable to irrigate, and then allow the option of getting effluent on to land and emptying the pond when conditions permit. And when designing an effluent system, it is best to think about potential intensification in future, including an increase in cow numbers, greater use of stand-off and feed pads or the addition of wintering facilities. If these are desired but finances don’t allow them, plan for a staged expansion as you require it. Getting your system designed now with such changes in mind can save a big expenditure in the future. Use suitably qualified and accredited effluent system designers. For more information about designing and upgrading an effluent system, see dairynz.co.nz/effluent or call 0800 4 DairyNZ (0800 4 324 796). Source: DairyNZ

Aspect Environmental Lining Ltd is country-wide. AEL is a company which has quickly extended its range since its formation in 2007, with the original Waikato base being added to in Southland. Our establishment in the South Island was a direct result of the increase in the dairy industry. Winton-based Craig McMillan, a codirector, along with Hamilton-based co-director Greg Terrill, say their company is able to “provide the right product, the right service and offer plenty of good advice. “We can give independent advice and assistance in the ever increasingly environmentally conscious and regulated environments we all live and work in.” The rural sector is an important segment of AEL's, providing lining systems for dairy effluent ponds, stand-off pad liners, sludge bed liners and also frost protection and irrigation dams. AEL predominantly construct their lining systems out of High Density polyethylene (HDPE). Advantages that come with a HDPE geomembrane are: • Seams can easily be 100 per cent tested, guaranteeing water tightness. • Durable with excellent UV resistance.

• I ncredible track record throughout New Zealand and internationally. Aspect Environmental Lining Ltd prides itself on being an independent New Zealand owned company, not aligned with any major groups or syndicates. This enables AEL to offer unbiased advice and assistance. Mr McMillan says the company sources materials independently from a number of suppliers. Products are supplied from worldwide manufacturers who prove they can provide quality products, lead-times and guarantees which all align with AEL's comprehensive installation and material warranties.

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

Irrigation Pump Sheds/Storage

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

Adams Sawmilling Co Ltd ISPM 15 accredited for Export Pallets

Malcolm McDowell Drive, Ashburton Ph (03) 308 3595 Fax (03) 308 5649

NATION WIDE


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Farming Dairy Focus

IRRIGATION AND EFFLUENT FEATURE

www.guardianonline.co.nz Advertising feature

Meet the POOCRU Effluent products Locally owned and operated

The POOCRU in action.

Locally owned and operated by Darryl and Kylie Burrowes since 2004, Allens Ashburton is a Liquid Waste Disposal company based right here in Ashburton. We service all of Mid Canterbury and are Ruralco/ATS suppliers that gives members a 10 per cent discount on all servicing. Allens has a great, reliable team who supply prompt and friendly service. The boys are well trained and clean up after themselves. We have two powerful vacuum trucks and a jetting truck (high powered water blasting)

and a drain machine also. So, if you are bunged up, blocked up, overflowing, or just plain full, then Allens Ashburton can clean it, clear it and get rid of it for you. If you need your septic tank cleaned and serviced, dairy, or any farm, effluent sorted, or even your residential drain unblocked, just give the POOCRU a bell! We specialise in sucking. Call Darryl direct on 0274 333-563 or track us down on Facebook, flick us a message and let the POOCRU help you.

Pluck’s Effluent Division offers our specialist effluent products anywhere in New Zealand, with an extensive and proven product range, we can supply, install and maintain everything needed. Products in our range include: • Civil works covering Enviros Saucer™ storage ponds, stonetraps, screening-bunkers, leachatepads and aprons. • Effluent screening systems utilising our self-managing ADR500 rotaryscreen or Yardmaster screw-press separators. • Access-walkway/pump-raft systems for storage ponds and sumps, which provide safe and secure access to off-shore pumps. • Yardmaster shore and raftmounted centrifugal effluentpumps, and high efficiency Mono progressive-cavity pump effluent pump-stations. • Stirrers for sumps, ponds and tanks with high-efficiency and low power requirements. • Travelling irrigators with exceptional distribution uniformity that complies with Dairy NZ effluent standards. All our products have proved themselves in providing reliable and effective performance over many years in the field. Our sales and

design engineers are well trained and experienced in effluent system design and able to provide highly effective, practical, and cost-effective effluent solutions for your farm. This is backed by our well trained and equipped service teams who provide expert rapid response after sales support. Over the 26 years Pluck’s has been involved in dairy effluent, it has invented and developed a number of important effluent products, they are the Enviro Saucer, which is a primary pond design and shape that never builds up with solids and always cleans itself out to nearly empty every time it is used, also Pluck’s developed a range of effluent pond stirrers specifically for dairy effluent and very low kW with huge blades turning over the liquid within the farmer’s pond seven time per hour. Another important dairy effluent product Pluck’s has developed is the effluent screen with the concrete and electronic infrastructure to support the screens function, where their screen filters the dairy effluent down to particle sizes of no greater than 0.9mm, so no blocked nozzles on the farmer’s irrigator when spreading effluent. R&D of dairy effluent products is a very important part of the company and Pluck’s is always looking at new and better ways to make a farmer’s day better.

From Pluck's Effluent Division (since the 1980s)

ADR 500 Effluent Screening Plant COVERED BY N.Z. PATENT APPLICATION No. 591985

BLOCKED DRAINS

Dairy Saucer/Wedge/Sump and Drain Clearing.

r Very low kW at 0.4kW r Self cleaning screen, built-in auto wash r Effluent is clean enough to be pumped into a pivot system if required r Screens out everything bigger than 1 mm r Once per year maintenance of a quick look over and wash down

Pluck’s latest model Pond Stirrer SEPTIC TANKS, SUMPS, WEDGES AND PONDS Does your Septic Tank need to be emptied?

Allen’s Ashburton offer a great service r Only 1.1kW driving a 1.0 M blade r Two-year warranty on the new type of motor and planetary gear box r New to the world of agriculture – the latest in five-lip sealed bearings

CALL THE POOCRU

r No greasing required – ever! r All bearings and seals above the water line r Huge 1.0 M blade, moving 44,000 litres per minute r Good range of sizes for any pond type whether lined or earth, clay or concrete - big or small Call us now to find a distributor and installer in your area

Locally owned and operated

0800 PLUCKS 0

Phone Darryl Burrowes on 03 308 5293 or 0274 333 563

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0

0

www.plucks.co.nz

7

5

8

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5

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enquiries@plucks.co.nz

Main South Road, Rakaia 7710, Mid Canterbury


t n e u ffl e r u o y t o g e ’v We solutions covered!

490 West Street, SH1, Ashburton | 03 307 6388 www.stockerdairyservices.co.nz


Charlies Takeaways A Division of Robsons Canterbury

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Septic tank emptying and maintaining, pumps supplied and fitted

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In the waste business for 40 years

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Rakaia 0800 372 004 Christchurch 0800 372 003 robsonenviro@xtra.co.nz www.robsonenvironmental.co.nz

Profile for Ashburton Guardian

Dairy Focus - September 2016  

Dairy Focus - September 2016