Page 1

JUNE 2014

RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE

NUTRITION

FORAGE AND ARABLE

HORTICULTURE

ANIMAL MANAGEMENT

DAIRY MANAGEMENT

Plan 365 is a technical guide aimed at helping shareholders learn about best practice and the latest advancements in rural technology.


DAIRY MANAGEMENT

Changing milk liners If you can’t remember the last time you changed your milking liners, you’re probably missing out on both milk and money. Old, worn or ill-fitting liners can waste energy, cause grades and damage your cows. They are one of the single biggest factors influencing milk production. They are also one of the most economical things to replace. Cracks and splits cause poor milk out and harbour bacteria. Cups with worn-out liners are more likely to fall off during milking and cows’ teats can be permanently damaged. On average, NZ dairy farmers currently expect their liners to last for about 4,900 milkings, or nearly twice their effective lifetime. But that’s way past their actual use-by date! After 2,500 milkings – and roughly 2 million pulsations – liners inevitably start to deteriorate.

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To ensure more efficient milk harvesting and to save the average NZ dairy farm thousands of dollars a year in energy, labour and animal health costs, all you have to do is calculate how many times your current milking liners have been used since you installed them. If the answer comes to 2,500 or more, it’s definitely time for a change. Your cows will thank you and, plus milk harvesting and quality will improve. Here’s how to do the math: divide 2,500 by the number of milkings each set of cups is doing every day, i.e. 2,500/the number of cows in the herd x the number of milkings (once, 1.5 or twice per day)/ number of clusters.

This farm should change liners every 100 days or approximately every three months. Farmers who continue milking with over-used liners often don’t realise they’re missing out on potentially significant gains. “The very nature of milking liners means they are likely to have more impact on milking efficiency, hygiene and cow comfort than any other component of a milking machine,” says Skellerup National Manager, Perry Davis. For more information, please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today. Article supplied by Skellerup.

For example, take a 300 cow herd, milked twice a day in a 24 aside herringbone. In this case each cluster is milking 25 cows per day. Divide 2,500 by 25 and the answer is 100 days.

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DAIRY MANAGEMENT

The importance of biosecurity in growing healthy calves Prevention, rather than cure, is the most effective approach to disease management in any calf rearing programme, ensuring the best possible start for optimum growth and future production. The immune system of a young calf is underdeveloped, therefore preventing the introduction and spread of disease (or biosecurity) is essential in calf health management. An effective programme involves increasing the calves’ immunity while decreasing contact with infectious agents. Development of the calves’ immunity will be supported by effective colostrum intake, feeding high quality calf milk replacer, free access to fresh water and a sound vaccination programme. Supply of palatable feed that is supplemented with a coccidiostat and quality forage is also important, to meet the calves’ nutritional requirements and allow for optimum weight gains. Stress inhibits the immune system of calves. Factors such as transportation, sudden feed changes, poor ventilation, crowding, temperature fluctuations and drafts can all impact the disease resistance of calves. Adequate planning, scheduling and management of farm personnel and ongoing monitoring of your calves is key in alleviating sources of stress. Minimising the risk of exposure to bacteria, viruses and parasites in the calves’ environment is an essential

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part of the calf rearing programme. A broad-spectrum disinfectant should be used regularly to clean and sterilise pens, railings, water troughs, feeders and other equipment and surfaces. There are disinfectants readily available that are both safe and effective for use in the presence of animals and people, particularly in aerial disinfection water treatment and foot dips, should the control of disease outbreak be required.

For more information, please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today. Article supplied by NRM

Good calf management is the key to rearing healthy and productive calves, minimising the risk and spread of disease. Put together a management plan, keep a careful watch on your calves and intervene early if your calves are not thriving. If in any doubt as to the diagnosis or best treatment, contact your veterinarian immediately for advice.

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DAIRY MANAGEMENT

Get the most out of your cows Donaghys ProMonensin 60 contains sodium monensin, which is an ionophore (rumen modifier) known to provide a range of advantages when administered to dairy cows. It adjusts the rumen microbe population, reducing gas producing bacteria. This assists the population of good microbes, leading to an improved rumen condition. Feed is digested more efficiently with less wasteful methane and higher productivity. By improving the feed conversion, the natural gases produced by the cow are reduced, aiding in the prevention of bloat. Due to an improvement in cow condition, energy related diseases like ketosis and coccidiosis are also minimised and milk production is increased. Sodium monensin is the active ingredient of the well-known Rumensin™ range. ProMonensin 60 is a redesigned formula*

that utilises different ingredients to improve the delivery of sodium monensin. The liquid is more palatable to cattle and has a lower viscosity than Rumensin™, so is easier to pour and administer. Priced at 6.5 cents per cow per day**, ProMonensin 60 is the most cost effective product of its kind on the market. A mixture designed for oral use in cattle, ProMonensin 60 can be pre-mixed with liquid vitamins or mineral supplement concentrates. Use of a metered inline water system is recommended. A dose rate of 5ml per head per day can be administered year round to dairy cows, as well as replacement heifers and beef cattle.

Article supplied by Donaghys *Donaghys formulation and method of manufacture has a patent pending (NZ599028 & 601896).

ProMonensin 60 is available in 20, 60, 100 and 200 litres. For more information please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today.

**Based on recommended retail price excluding GST.

Milk Bar 80 The Milk Bar 80 offers a user friendly solution for people rearing large numbers of calves. The Milk Bar 80 has two 550L tanks connected by custom made 50mm fittings and large taps to quickly fill the manifolds. Separate tanks give rearers greater flexibility in their calf feeding management by allowing mobs to be fed by one tank or another. Split tanks reduce the overall height of the feeder

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and coupled with a wide rear axle, the Milk Bar 80 is extremely stable. A manual leveller ensures milk flow is evenly distributed and also makes cleaning a breeze. The unique positioning of the tyres gives the driver the ability to jack knife onto tight turns. There is a large meal tray at the rear of the feeder which is highly practical without affecting the balance.

The park brake is an essential safety feature allowing the whole unit to be secured before removal from the tow vehicle. The feeder is designed for New Zealand conditions and feeder sits on two runners of 75x40x6mm channel steel for unmatched strength. For more information please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today.

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NUTRITION

Family business flying high From humble beginnings using a concrete mixer to prepare their birdseed, North Otago’s Topflite has cemented its position as an agribusiness success story. The Rosedale property used to rely on rainfall to keep up seed production, which began with hand-mixing 10 tonnes annually in an old concrete mixer. The family business now produces more than 1,600 tonnes of bird and small animal feed a year, with 250 product options from 15 different mixes, including more than 150 tonnes of budgie mix alone. Farmlands shareholders, the Webster and Mitchell families have been there every step of the way. The Mitchell family started producing animal feed when they started farming in the area in 1871. They moved into continuous cropping in 1968, including sunflower production in 1974. Nowadays, Jock Webster, his son Nick and nephew Peter Mitchell have watched demand for birdseed grow, as customers seek to not only feed caged pets but wild native birds as well. Peter Mitchell says the key to Topflite’s success is “working and listening to what

the customer wants”. Another key has been recognising limitations – a slow start for Topflite was essential, due to the lack of irrigation. “We’ve been very incremental but irrigation was a huge investment,” he says. “The North Otago Irrigation Scheme got up and going and we went from having 60ha irrigated up to 450ha and now 617ha.” Coinciding with the arrival of irrigation, the Mitchell Webster Group has been winning recognition for their practices, including being named Supreme Winner at the Ballance Farm Environment Awards. Cited as “an extraordinary and inspirational family business that has stood the test of time”, judges also commended them on the “long term sustainability focus through research and crop trials, wise rotations and agricultural use and comprehensive monitoring.” The Topflite operation, overseen by Jock, produces everything from flax seed to fodder beet on the 700ha farm, with an additional leased 674ha. Close to 40 percent of production is for dairy support, while a recent dairy conversion has emphasised the importance of having supplementary feed.

“It’s in some degree a shift in focus but it’s complementary as well. There’s a lot of crossover between cropping and dairying. We’re selling a lot of supplementary feed to dairy farmers and being able to use it on our own dairy farm will help us retain a greater share of the profits,” Peter says. The original cement mixer remains on site, as a reminder of Topflite’s early days. Now, with 18 staff year-round and a peak of 40 during busy season, these shareholders are seeing the rewards from sowing a different idea.

DOVE MIX 20KG • A high energy mix for active birds. • Formulated around New Zealand grown ingredients of the highest quality.

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NUTRITION

Addressing nutritional challenges with molasses blocks A good winter diet is critical for preparing cows for calving and lactation. Nutrient demands also need to be fully met to reduce the risk of metabolic issues during this period.

Adequate dietary magnesium, along with factors such as vitamin D, helps to maintain healthy calcium levels, reducing the risk of Milk Fever. A common way to prevent milk fever is to supplement pregnant cows with magnesium, given 1-2 months before calving. Often, supplementary feed like silage is dusted with magnesium oxide. However, molasses blocks are another option to consider – and they can have additional benefits. Access to molasses blocks such as Crystalyx Dry Cow or SealesWinslow’s Cattle High Magnesium Mineral Block will help keep essential mineral levels in the desired range, with little stress for stock or farmers.

“Most farmers are aware of the need to supplement with magnesium during the dry and transition periods,” says Jackie Aveling, Product Manager Animal Nutrition for Ballance Agri-Nutrients. “This is necessary to reduce cases of milk fever and the knock-on effect of an increase in cases of mastitis and retained placentas. “Cows face a lot of metabolic stress around calving and the start of lactation and the demand for key minerals like magnesium often outstrips supply.”

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With 12.5 percent magnesium, the SealesWinslow block has higher levels of magnesium than are found in some other blocks, so it’s ideal if you’re looking for a good source of magnesium that your cows will take to easily.

mineral levels before calving and immediately afterwards. This supports a strong immune system in both the cow and calf and also promotes healthy rumen function and improved digestibility, which is important if the cow is to get the best out of feed. Article supplied by SealesWinslow

HI MAG MINERAL BLOCK 50KG • Convenient, waste free access to essential minerals and vitamins. • Available in 50kg tubs and 500kg blocks for large herds. • Made in New Zealand for our conditions and requirements.

Crystalyx Dry Cow also contains magnesium, along with a range of other trace elements that are essential for the immune system and rumen function. “Many deficiencies have an impact on animal health and/or production at subclinical levels,” Jackie says. “Animals showing symptoms are just the tip of the iceberg.” Proven under New Zealand conditions, Crystalyx Dry Cow helps replenish nutrient levels and balance pasture

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NUTRITION

Pre-calving nutrition Calving is the most dangerous period in a dairy cow’s life and can be stressful for the people taking care of them. Investment in nutrition in the precalving period is worthwhile, not just for cow performance and profitability but also to help reduce problems during one of the busiest and physically challenging periods of the year. Hopefully as calving approaches cows will be in their optimum condition for calving – as demands for the unborn calf increases, it gets increasingly difficult for cows to gain condition, especially as wind and rain can increase maintenance requirements by up to 25 percent if they lack shelter. It may not be too late now to check if some of the later calving cows are light and need supplementary feeding. Calving represents a time of huge metabolic changes and stress for cows – ideally not all occurring on the day of calving, or they might be overwhelming. A checklist of the pre-calving diet should include consideration of the energy content – is enough being fed and does it contain the same elements as the post calving diet? If cows mobilise too much body fat around calving their liver function can be compromised, resulting in ketosis – which even if sub-clinical can suppress appetite and accentuates weight loss. Rumen microflora take a little time to adapt to changes in the diet, so if starchy

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feeds like grains and maize silage are going to be fed after calving, they should be introduced at a lower level before calving. If cows have been wintered on crops that will not be fed after calving, they should be transitioned back onto the post-calving forage. Magnesium and vitamin D play a key role in helping cows mobilise calcium from their bones post-calving. If supplements are being used to help reduce milk fever, it’s worth checking what sources of magnesium they contain. Magnesium is best provided in the chloride and sulphate forms before calving, because they can help to counter the effects of high potassium levels in the diet, which predisposes cows to milk fever – especially older ones. Try to limit intake of high potassium feeds such as pasture regularly treated with slurry if attempts to reduce milk fever are failing. Ironically, at a time when the cow’s immune system needs to be at an alltime high, it is suppressed to prevent an immune response to the calf during calving. Giving birth and coming into milk present huge infection and disease challenges, which cows can fight more effectively when their dietary levels of selenium, vitamin E and zinc are boosted prior to the challenge.

as NRM Pre-Calving Diet taste and smell as attractive as possible to encourage intakes. Farmers who strive for a goal of zero milk fever and ketosis may not quite achieve their goal but report the effort has been financially and personally worthwhile. For more information, please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today. Article supplied by Dr. Rob Derrick, Nutritionist, Farmlands Nutrition.

Stock are sometimes moved long distances and have to adjust to new social groups before calving, so it is important that supplementary feeds such

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NUTRITION

Rumen development crucial for calf performance Successful calf rearing relies on encouraging the rumen to develop from a small organ in the newborn calf (about 1-2 litres in size) to the most important part of the digestive system by about three months (by which time it is 25-30 litres). Cow’s milk and colostrum can be quite satisfying for calves so to encourage intake of hard feed, which will stimulate rumen development, it is important that feed is palatable, smells good and has good mouth feel. Calves are instinctively inquisitive and will explore their environment for feed but it is important that feed is consistent, so that intakes increase as confidence is gained that the feed is not harmful. Meal should be offered to calves from four days of age, even if they only eat a small amount. Ensure that troughs are readily accessible and only put out a small amount and replace it daily to prevent it becoming stale or contaminated by vermin or birds. Intake is determined not just by smell, taste and mouth feed – digestibility effects how readily the feed is fermented in the immature rumen. Grains are more quickly fermented than fibrous feeds and by-products. Heat processed grains (steam flaked, pelleted or micronised) are more easily broken down than dry rolled or crushed grains, because heating changes the physical nature of starch. Heating has another benefit in that it kills bacteria that are invariably on the

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outer coat of grain, which can spoil rolled grain once the nutritious inner has been exposed. Spoilage can create off-odours, which calves will rightly try to avoid. Whilst meals encourage early intake, compressing feed into a pellet or nut e.g. Grow Up 20% and Grow Up Finisher 16%, makes it easier for calves to eat larger amounts quickly as they get older. Cow’s milk is nutritionally not as well balanced as one might imagine. All NRM calf feeds are enriched with added trace minerals and vitamins, which can be lacking in milk but are essential for health, performance and appetite. An anti-coccidial – Bovatec® – is included to help fight coccidiosis and also enhance the beneficial bacteria population in the rumen, so that calves get more out of the feed they eat. Housed calves need to eat just a little long fibre to encourage rumen motility, to allow the calves to learn the art of rumination and help to keep the rumen papillae clean and active. NRM Moozlee and Ready Rumen contain measured amounts of quality roughage, eliminating the need for free access to roughage and improving early intake of feed.

For more information, please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today. Article supplied by Dr. Rob Derrick, Nutritionist, Farmlands Nutrition.

NRM products are backed by a team of experienced feed professionals who are available to answer questions and provide support where necessary. Calf rearing can be a very demanding occupation and each year can bring new challenges, so calf rearers are urged to seek advice if needed.

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NUTRITION

The ins and outs of ionophores Dairy farmers are able to take advantage of rumen modifiers called ionophores. They are available in a range of forms – depending on the product – which allow them to be added to dry feed, molasses, in-line water medication systems, power drench systems and rumen capsules. Required in only tiny amounts per day, they are well suited to inclusion in compound feeds, because accuracy of mixing, no separation of ingredients and less variation in intake between animals ensures target intakes are more likely to be achieved. Ionophores are naturally occurring compounds, which are toxic to specific bacteria and protozoa and can be used to modify rumen fermentation to improve health or performance. In order for ionophores to be registered for use in New Zealand, trial data has had to be submitted to justify the claims made, which can include (please see individual product information for specific claims, which can vary between products): • Increased milk protein production (which is more valuable than milk fat) • As an aid in the control of ketosis (which is most likely just after calving and can have lasting effects on performance) and subsequent improvement in immune function, which can reduce the incidence of clinical mastitis in lactating dairy cows (which reduces both the quality and quantity of milk produced)

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• As an aid in the prevention and control of coccidiosis caused by Eimeria bovis and Eimeria zuernii (which is especially important in young calves) • As an aid in the reduction of bloat in cattle • For increased rate of weight gain and to promote the early onset of first oestrous in heifers • For improved feed efficiency and/or rate of weight gain in beef cattle Many ionophores have been identified but monensin (the active ingredient in ProMonensin 60 and Rumensin®) and lasalocid (the active ingredient in Bovatec®) are the most popular commercially. Lasalocid is more frequently requested in NRM compound feeds than monensin. Ionophores penetrate into biological membranes and alter the flow of ions into and out of the cell. Simpler, grampositive bacteria have less complex membranes than gram-negative bacteria, so are more susceptible to the effects of ionophores. Gram-positive bacteria tend to produce more acetate (which drives milk fat production), hydrogen, ammonia and methane (a gas that can become trapped and cause bloat). Gram-negative bacteria however tend to produce propionate (which drives milk protein production) and less methane. By manipulating rumen fermentation, ionophores increase the amount of feed energy and protein

in forms usable by the cow, whilst reducing gas production, which can cause bloat. Shareholders who have seen the benefit of ionophores as coccidiostats in calf feeds and milk powders are encouraged to consider their use for the dairy herd, if they haven’t already done so. For more information, please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today. Article supplied by Dr. Rob Derrick, Farmlands Nutrition.

Bovatec 20 CC Millmix is registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997, No. A009679 ProMonensin 60 is registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997, No. A010904 Rumensin is registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997, Nos. A3553, A9676, A7450 and A827

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ANIMAL MANAGEMENT

Have a longer smoko with Zapp Encore KILLS LICE FASTER

Prevention of clinical infestation is the key to lice control. In many cases we wait until we see a problem before treating it. Unfortunately, it is near impossible to eradicate lice completely but with some good management practices and the right product, you can ensure you control the problem and decrease the damage lice can do to your sheep’s pelt and wool. Zapp Encore is a combination product, containing dual actives (triflumuron and imidacloprid) to kill lice rapidly and effectively. Triflumuron (IGR) halts lice during the moulting stages of their lifecycle while imidacloprid (neonicotinoid insecticide) kills on contact (ref. Figure 1. Lice Lifecycle). This combination of actives provides superior knockdown and persistent activity against fly and lice.

For more information, please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today.

Figure 1. Lice Lifecycle

X

OU

LT

MALE

FEMALE

ADULTS

OU

LT

1 ST STAGE NYMPH

2 ND STAGE NYMPH

Article supplied by Bayer Animal Health.

EGGS

3 RD STAGE NYMPH

X M

XX

X

M

X X X

H

You may think lice look harmless but don’t be fooled - they can still do damage and cost you in productivity and money.

TC HA

M O U LT

X Imidacloprid X Triflumuron

So don’t let lice make winter lousy, use Zapp Encore with twice the killing power. Zapp Encore • Contains two active ingredients • Only product containing imidacloprid with a different mode of action • Fast knockdown with rapid relief from maggots and lice • Persistent control • Rainfast formulation • Dual parasite control for both flystrike (coarse wool) and lice • Fast spreading solvent base allows for rapid penetration into the fleece • Low mammalian toxicity ideal for both operator and animal

ZAPP ENCORE POUR-ON 20L • Knockdown of maggots and long term control of flystrike. Registered pursuant to the ACVM Act 1997 No 140400.

With Extinosad™ Dip and Expo™ Pour-on WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED FOR LICE

Extinosad Dipping and Jetting Liquid and Expo Pour-on cover all the bases for lice control of coarse wool and fine wool sheep. The optimal time to use a chemical lice control is when lice numbers are at their lowest and when wool is of a length that facilitates movement or placement of the chemical on the animal. • For a pour-on, best results will be achieved off-shears. Expo is best applied off-shears but it can still provide good control up to 3 months’ wool length on coarse wool breeds.

• For a saturation dip on coarse wool breeds, optimal results with Extinosad will be achieved on short wool, at least 3 weeks after shearing up to approximately 5 months wool. Good results can still be achieved on longer wool, as long as the application equipment is capable of saturating the fleece. • For a saturation dip on fine wool breeds, best results are achieved at, or soon after 3 weeks post shearing, simply because these breeds become increasingly difficult to “wet” as wool length increases.

• Extinosad dip is also a registered “lice salvage” treatment for fine wool breeds and can be safely used on long wool at any time prior to shearing if required, due to its nil wool withholding. Expo and Extinosad both contain spinosad, a high potency lice eliminator for all sheep breeds. Rapid knockdown, a very high safety margin and no meat or wool withholding have made these popular choices nationwide.

For more information, please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today. Article supplied by Elanco.

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ANIMAL MANAGEMENT

Which drench treatment is best for my ewes pre-lamb? There are a lot of different products on the market for pre-lamb treatment, so how do you go about choosing the right product for your animals? Not one particular product is going to suit all your animals. By scanning your ewes, you can divide them into groups with different needs. Single bearing ewes that are in good condition shouldn’t need any treatment at all. All they need is a 5-in-1 vaccine. It is good not to treat some ewes on your farm, as this will give the opportunity to slow down the development of resistance to anthelmintics and create refugia. Poor condition single bearing ewes will need some help to get them over that feed pinch, so use a short acting treatment at docking, or give them a persistent acting product such as Eweguard® prelamb (a 6-in-1 vaccine and persistent acting wormer), to help get them through the lambing period. Multiple bearing ewes in poor condition are going to be the group on the farm that will get the maximum benefit from treating pre-lamb. These ewes have high energy requirements due to carrying twins/triplets, so using a long acting product like Cydectin® Long Acting Injection for Sheep, to give maximum parasite protection, will give the most cost effective return. That leaves the last group - your twin ewes in good condition. A difficult mob to treat and that decision will probably depend on other factors, for example

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feed availability. The product you use, whether it is very long acting (e.g. Cydectin® Long Acting Injection) or slightly shorter (e.g. Eweguard) will depend on other factors, which must also be taken into consideration when choosing a product Good condition ewes

5-in-1 vaccine only

5-in-1 with or without a Medium/Long acting drench product

Singles

Twins 5-in-1 with a Medium acting drench product

5-in-1 with a Long acting drench product

Poor condition ewes

Other factors to consider are: • how much time you’ve got, • how much labour you’ve got - and

And if time and labour are limited, you’re probably better going with an injectable product like Cydectin® Long Acting Injection for Sheep, rather than a capsule. In summary, one drench product is not ideal for all your ewes. Divide the ewes into groups, into singles and twins/ multiples and then again by condition score - poor and good conditioned ewes. Use the most effective treatment to meet the requirements for each group. Medium acting drenches include: Cydectin® Oral Drench for Sheep, Eweguard®, or Cydectin® Injection for Cattle and Sheep. Long Acting drenches include: Cydectin® Long Acting Injection for Sheep. Article supplied by Zoetis. CYDECTIN and EWEGUARD are registered trademarks of Zoetis Inc. or its subsidiaries. ACVM No’s 6204, 7302, 9122, 9659 and 9926.

• what facilities are like.

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FORAGE AND ARABLE

Why should you feed maize silage? Variable and more severe weather patterns have created challenges for farmers seeking to build systems that are both profitable and environmentally sustainable. While ryegrass-clover pasture continues to be the backbone of New Zealand livestock systems, a growing number of farmers have recognised the importance of high quality supplementary feeds. Maize silage is an obvious choice, because it: Reduces feed cost and controls feed supply. Maize produces high dry matter yields delivering low cost feed, especially if it can be grown in high fertility paddocks (Table 1). A two year on-farm study funded by the Foundation of Arable Research (FAR), DairyNZ, Environment Waikato and Genetic Technologies Limited showed that maize silage crops grown on effluent paddocks with no additional fertiliser (no base, starter or

sidedress) yielded an average of 26.1t DM/ha.

content and reduces nitrogen excretion by the cow. Modelling through Overseer shows that feeding maize silage reduces nitrate leaching.

Growing all or a portion of maize silage requirements on the home farm or run-off allows farmers to control their feed supply. Maize silage is on hand when needed and the dry matter cost is relatively stable compared to the cost of imported supplements, which varies according to global supply and demand, as well as the exchange rate.

Helps improve pasture persistence. New Zealand dairy farms’ global competitive advantage is our low cost ryegrass-clover pasture. However, pasture persistence is a major problem on many farms. Regular regrassing is necessary to ensure pasture remains productive. Maize is an ideal break crop in a pasture renewal process. The cultivation process allows farmers to apply fertiliser, incorporate lime and address drainage issues that may have been negatively impacting pasture persistence. Cropping removes the normal feed source for pasture pests such as black beetle, Argentine stem weevil and pasture nematodes. This interrupts their breeding cycle and reduces insect pressure on seedling plants during the pasture renewal process.

Delivers environmental benefits. Maize is a deep-rooting crop that can extract water and nutrients from depths 2-3 times greater than typical pasture species, including ryegrass and clover. Growing maize silage on effluent paddocks decreases the risk of nitrogen leaching. It also decreases soil potassium levels and the associated risk of Milk Fever. Feeding maize silage (a low protein feedstuff) in conjunction with high protein pasture dilutes dietary protein

Table 1: Average on-farm cost of home-grown maize silage for the 2013-14 growing season1 Maize silage yield (t DM/ha in the stack) 16

18

20

22

24

26

28

30

Cost with full fertiliser input (c/kgDM)

23.8

21.2

19.0

17.3

15.9

14.7

13.6

-

Cost in effluent paddock (c/kgDM)2

-

15.9

14.4

13.0

12.0

11.0

10.3

9.6

See Pioneer Maize Silage 2014/2015 pages 33 - 34 or visit www.pioneer.co.nz for a comprehensive list of costs and assumptions. Assumes no base, starter or sidedress fertiliser is required.

1 2

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FORAGE AND ARABLE

While most forage crops must be fed when mature, a key benefit of maize silage is that providing it is well compacted and sealed, it can be stored on-farm and used to fill genuine feed deficits. Feeding supplements results in pasture substitution - this reduces grazing pressure, lifting post-grazing residuals. Forages such as maize silage have higher substitution rates than concentrates and can be used to manipulate farm pasture cover levels, reducing overgrazing and improving pasture persistence. The combination of maize silage and a well-designed feed pad or cow housing system allows farmers to keep cows off wet pastures without compromising production or animal welfare. Maize silage is a top cow conditioner. Many New Zealand cows are dried off early because their body condition is too low. Low body condition score (BCS) at calving affects milk production as well as reproduction and animal health. In fact, DairyNZ information shows a cow calving at BCS 4.0 will take 8 to 10 days longer to start cycling than if she calved at BCS 5.0. This will result in a later calving date and up to 15 to 20kg of milk solids less in the following lactation. In an independent market research survey, close to a thousand New Zealand dairy farmers were asked “Which feeds do you think increase cow condition?� Maize silage came out on top, ranking higher than a range of other supplementary feed choices including pasture silage, palm kernel extract and cereal silage. Cows milk well on maize silage and pasture diets. Research and commercial farm experience has proven that cows can produce milk yields of greater than 2kg

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MS/cow/day on diets comprised of maize silage and high quality pasture. Maize silage has a consistent high quality when compared to other New Zealand silages. Since it contains a mix of carbohydrates (mainly from the maize grain) and fibre (from the green parts of the plant), maize silage is safe to feed. Maize silage helps support high live weight gains. Whether you are finishing beef cattle or rearing young dairy stock, maize silage is an excellent complement to pasture, supporting high live weight gains

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throughout the year. Many farmers recognise the value of maize silage in helping them to achieve target live weight gains or allowing them to put animals onto the market at a set time regardless of pasture growth rates. For more information about how maize silage can help improve the efficiency and profitability of your livestock farming operation, please contact your local Farmlands representative. Article supplied by Pioneer

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FORAGE AND ARABLE

Progress check HOW ARE PASTURE COVERS LOOKING FOR LAMBING AND CALVING? Regardless of how or where you winter your stock, the goal is always the same – to reach lambing and/or calving with the right amount of pasture available across the farm to feed lactating animals well and to get next year’s production off to a good start. By this stage of the season key winter feed planning decisions will have already been executed. But it’s important to check everything is on track to achieve those all-important pasture cover targets in early spring. Lambing part of his flock from 15 August, to allow an early weaning draft and ewe cull by the end of November, South Canterbury’s Chris Eaves wants covers of approximately 1,800 kg DM/ha on his early lambing paddocks by then. He farms sheep and dairy grazers on rolling hill with some flats at Albury, inland from Timaru, where dry summers are the

most common challenge but winters can be cold and grass growth doesn’t really get cranking until October. Split lambing is an effective drought management tool but it does mean feed needs to be carefully managed before and during spring. The early lambing paddocks are warm, sunny faces - deliberately sown in early flowering, more winter active ryegrass for that purpose - and sulphur and nitrogen will be applied in early August to help boost growth ahead of what can be a feed pinch in September. The ewes in question – Coopworth-Texel cross, averaging 145 percent lambing – were off those paddocks by 1 May and onto kale and baleage for winter. Grain feeding for the first 15 days of mating in April helped keep autumn pasture covers from getting too low - dry cows were used to clean up the

paddocks for re-growth and there is usually enough DM produced during May and June to achieve 1800kg/ha target by 15 August. If for some reason growth slows and grass gets very tight, Chris says lambing single bearing ewes, behind a break fence can save a lot of pasture for the multiple ewes although it is more time consuming management-wise. He also uses ram harnesses so he can hold later-lambing ewes back if necessary. The same process, from grass to winter crop and back to grass, is repeated with the balance of the main flock (which lambs from 1 September) and the hoggets (10 September). Agriseeds Pasture Systems Manager, Graham Kerr says having the right pasture cover at lambing/calving sets up a good spring. “Too little grass lowers both animal intakes and pasture growth rate - it takes grass to grow grass, if you like. And so a farm can spiral down into a lack of pasture which is difficult to get out of. “Too much grass is equally a problem, as you lose quality in the base of the pasture, which reduces both animal intakes and regrowth after grazing. “Decisions made now in response to poor pasture growth (e.g. feeding more supplement, applying nitrogen, sell trading stock), or to good growth (saving supplement, banking it in stock condition) can really help in setting up the spring.” Article supplied by Agriseeds.

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HORTICULTURE

Planning key to successful fruit and vegetable crops As we come out of the colder winter months, growers will be looking to apply their winter base and spring dressings. Ballance Horticultural Specialists Shaun Vickers (Bay of Plenty), Scott Beckett (Pukekohe) and Mark Redshaw (Hawke’s Bay) are unanimous in recommending structured fertiliser programmes backed up by regular soil sampling. “You need to soil test early,” Mark says, “as it allows timely base dressing applications and avoids bottlenecks when spring arrives. Soil testing should start in May on pipfruit, stonefruit and viticulture properties, provided moisture levels are adequate.” Kiwifruit fertiliser programmes will consist of one winter base dressing followed by up to three side dressings. “Side dressings are applied at significant growth points,” Shaun says. “Nitrogen goes on at bud burst and, depending on what the base contained, other nutrients, like phosphorus, potassium or sulphur can also be applied. The second dressing goes on pre-flowering and contains the last lot of nitrogen, to help with canopy development. The last dressing occurs at fruit set, around mid-October/November. It will contain potassium predominantly and maybe magnesium to help with fruit development. “Avocados are a bit unique - you add their nutrients little and often, so you don’t get too much vegetative growth. They get side dressings about every

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four to six weeks all year round, using something like YaraMila Complex at rates of between half to one and a half kilos per tree. The spring application will be tailored to maintain soil nutrient levels and might have nutrients added to it, like a bit more phosphorus, potassium, or boron, as this helps with flower development.” Vegetable crops like potatoes and onions need to have fertiliser applications to match crop nutrient demands in late winter and early spring. “For potatoes, potassium is acutely important to achieve good yields, particularly for the fresh market,” notes Scott. “Potassium creates turgidity in tubers, which maintains tuber integrity and reduces bruising. Also, sufficient, or slightly elevated, levels of potassium reduce the chance of nitrogen deficiency, as nitrate nitrogen and potassium are taken up together through the roots. On fields that are low

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in phosphorus and potassium, YaraMila Complex is a good product for finishing potatoes. “Onions are relatively shallow rooting and therefore fairly high nitrogen users. Nitrogen uptake peaks during bulb formation, which starts at sixth true leaf stage. YaraBela CAN is appropriate then. Demand for potassium, phosphorus and calcium continues on during bulb enlargement. However, it is important not to over-apply nitrogen during bulb bulking, as this will result in delayed maturity and bulb softening. YaraMila Complex is a good choice during this important phase.” To ensure you have the right fertiliser programme in place for your crop, contact your local Farmlands representative. Article supplied by Ballance Agri-Nutrients

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HORTICULTURE

Fungal disease control for lettuce and vegetable brassicas Growing a marketable crop has its challenges, especially when that crop is grown year round. So for those growing lettuce and vegetable brassicas, having a strategic plan around fungal disease is all the more important - not to mention a ‘ feel’ for the locality and environmental conditions that play their part. With the requirement these days to always have product to fit market schedules and tight margins, growers require the best value, technically based and reliable fungicides for disease control. Lettuce is a leafy herbaceous annual or biennial plant and is now available in many different leaf types, ranging from the ‘iceberg’, head types like butterhead, oak, cos and of course leaf, such as the so called ‘fancy’ green and red frill types. As lettuce is normally grown in higher rainfall areas, this can create its own set of problems. Modern varieties have inbuilt tolerances to downy mildew, probably the most significant disease of lettuce, as well as other quality attributes. However, monitoring is always important, even with new varieties. Downy mildew protectant options include Nordox or Manzate Evo, alternating to Acrobat when disease conditions increase. As fungicide resistance to new downy race strains is very important, always apply products on a preventative basis prior to high disease levels in the crop, as late control is very difficult.

sp.), gray mould (Botrytis sp.), bottom rot (Rhizoctonia sp.) and the bacterial disease soft rot (Erwinia sp.). Protek (carbendazim) should be applied soon after transplanting. Barrack Betterstick can be used successfully for ringspot, or softer chemistry Bacillus subtilus for botrytis. Vegetable brassicas or cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and brussel sprouts and like lettuce, tend prefer a cooler growing environment. However, cool often means wet, which encourages fungal diseases. One of the most important is downy mildew, which can start early in the nursery and kill seedlings. With distinctive angular spotting of leaves, head damage in broccoli or secondary soft rot causing smelly product, downy control starts with regular protective sprays of Barrack Betterstick or Nordox. Cultural control to reduce humidity such as timing irrigation is not enough on its own, as dews are nearly always present. Clubroot is another important disease encouraged by intensive brassica production on lower pH soils. Application of calcium nitrate instead of ammonium

based fertiliser will help along with a pre-plant application of fluazinam. Liming to lift soil pH should be part of an overall maintenance programme. There are limited resistant varieties available, so successful clubroot control must be a well planned approach. Other fungal diseases include alternaria and ringspot, the latter risk increased by overcropping after an outbreak, so a break to another crop species for several months is a worthy tool. Chemical controls revolve around Barrack Betterstick (protectant) and Score (systemic), used regularly and prior to or at first sign of disease. A key strategy is always to maintain good protection, especially before a prolonged wet weather event. Fungal disease control in lettuce and brassica crops can be challenging but achievable with correct monitoring and timely fungicides that are robust if applied prior to infection. For further information, please contact your local Farmland Horticulture Technical Advisor, or your Farmlands store. Article supplied by Andrew Whitworth.

Other lettuce diseases include leaf drop (Sclerotinia minor), ringspot (Anthracnose

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HORTICULTURE

Let’s get soil nutrition right Adequate soil nutrition is critical for achieving yield and quality. Too little will cause economic loss, whilst too much can see toxicities that affect your bottom line. Therefore, getting the balance right is key. More importantly, the payback from having optimised soil nutrition is extremely good. The availability of nutrients varies throughout the year, in response to plant uptake and temperature. Crop production continuously removes and recycles nutrients, meaning an annual application of fertiliser is usually required. Simply applying the same fertilisers year after year will lead to imbalances, so the only way to get the fertiliser programme right is with an annual soil test. With fertiliser being an additional annual input, finding means to assess requirements and plan effective expenditure should

therefore be a yearly exercise. This enables the trends in nutrient status to be monitored so that any deficiencies, excess or imbalance of nutrients can be anticipated and corrected by adjustment to the fertiliser programme. Try to collect your samples at the same time each year. Soil samples can be taken at most times of year, except during drought conditions or soon after fertiliser application. Orchards are normally sampled from late autumn to early spring, as the trees are less active and the results are used to determine spring fertiliser applications. Annual crops are generally sampled about three weeks prior to planting. Farmlands Horticulture offers a comprehensive soil analysis service. The team can take your soil sample or help you sample correctly. Samples are

then sent to Hills Laboratory for analysis. Your Technical Advisor can then make recommendations specific to your crop, as well as discussing the analytical results and your management objectives. Farmlands works closely with Ballance Agri-Nutrients to ensure leading edge advice and products are provided to our members. Article supplied by Rob Hengst, Technical Advisor - Hawke’s Bay.

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RURAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Tight on water PLASSON COMPRESSION FITTINGS Compression fittings are becoming the norm on rural polyethylene (PE) pipelines, as more farmers take advantage of the flow benefits delivered by metric diameter PE (MDPE) pipe. This article gives a brief overview of where these fittings can be used and how they work. Compression fittings are designed to work on MDPE pipe, which is pipe manufactured to the international standard AS/NZS 4130, with pipe outside diameters in the range 20mm to 160mm. These fittings are typically rated to operate up to a maximum working pressure of 16-bar (232 PSI), on both PE80 medium density and PE100 high performance PE pipe. Because of the simple push-fit and tighten assembly, many farmers are now using these fittings on 20mm and 25mm AlkatheneTM low density PE (LDPE) pipe as well. This is possible because the outside diameter (OD) of these two pipe diameters is 25mm and 32mm respectively, matching the OD of the MDPE pipe. Compression fittings engage on the outside of the PE pipe, with the pipe being inserted into the socket of the fitting’s body. Inside the socket there is a rubber seal ring, which the outer wall of the pipe compresses, hence the term “compression fitting”. In the Plasson range of fittings up to 63mm diameter, these rubber rings are held in place within a groove in the socket, minimising the number of components making up the fitting. This is a definite advantage when it comes to disassembling the fitting,

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lessening the chance of losing “bits and pieces”. Essentially, once the pipe has compressed the rubber seal ring, a watertight joint has been formed. The remaining two components of the fitting - the split grip ring and backing nut, prevent the pipe from pulling or “backing out” of the fitting’s socket, when being installed or when the pipeline is pressurised. The split grip ring has sharp ridges on the inside and fits around the outside of the pipe. When “handtightening” the backing nut, these sharp ridges bite into the pipe’s wall, holding the pipe in the socket, forming what is known as an end-load resistant joint. The backing nuts on larger fittings (75mm and above), require mechanical tightening, e.g. strap-wrench. It is important to note that over tightening the backing nut has no effect on the water-tightness of the fitting and in some cases may actually damage the fitting!

Split Grip Ring

Compressed Seal Ring

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Jointing Plasson compression fittings is quick and easy. In fittings up to 63mm diameter, simply loosen the backing nut, insert the pipe and hand retighten the backing nut. During this operation, two resistances will be felt - the first when the pipe is pushed passed the rubber seal ring and the second when the pipe “bottoms out” at the base of the socket. Checking the pipe for imperfections, cleaning, cutting the end square, chamfering the pipe end and lubrication are good jointing practices and will definitely ease assembly for fittings 40mm and above.

There are a large range of Plasson compression fittings, making it a very adaptable system. Perhaps the most innovative fitting is the Socket Reducer, which permits annular reduction in the fitting’s socket. This allows reduction from one pipe diameter to another, without using another compression fitting or leak-prone threaded fittings. They also allow tees with three different pipe diameters and one step pipe reduction from a larger BSP threaded fitting. Farmlands is now able to offer the technically advanced Plasson range to their South Island shareholders. For more information on Plasson or other rural pipeline matters, please talk to the friendly team at your local Farmlands store today. Article supplied by Iplex

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Plan 365 June 2014