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Fonterra, Westland sound out suppliers in each other’s patch Page 4

250th issue!

July 12, 2011 Issue 250

genetics in demand

young farmer of the year

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FE-tolerant bulls

It’s about dedication

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“Fonterra needs to be seen having broader community interest.” – Finance Minister Bill English PAGE 3

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011



Get the good news out there – Carter SUDEsH KISSUN AND PETER BURKE

Australasia’s largest infant formula plant.

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Agribusiness Person of the Year.

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Gains at start of a calf’s life can help lift production.

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News........................................................... 3-22 Opinion.....................................................24-26 Agribusiness............................................ 27-31 Management...........................................32-38 Animal Health......................................... 39-43 Calving.................................................... 44-49 Machinery & Products.......................... 50-54

THE DAIRY industry is facing growing calls to improve relations with the urban community. Fonterra and DairyNZ are being urged to take on the role of ‘cheer leaders’ and relay the good news on dairying to the community. Environmentalists are piling pressure on the industry and particularly Fonterra and its farmers to lift the game on sustainability. At the same time, consumers are frustrated at paying more for milk, butter and cheese while Fonterra farmers enjoy a record payout. Agriculture Minister David Carter says the dairy industry needs to acknowledge there are urban concerns about the effects of the intensification of dairying on the environment. He urges dairy farmers to acknowledge that and spend more time telling the industry’s goodnews stories so urban New Zealand can respect the progress dairying is making on environ-

“I’d prefer the industry to be out there highlighting some of the positive stories.” mental issues. Carter is adamant Fonterra and the dairy industry must be more proactive rather than reacting to criticism in the news media. “I’d prefer the industry to be out there highlighting some of the positive stories, some of the very good farm management changes that are improving environmental outcomes; let urban New Zealand know,” he told Dairy News. Finance Minister Bill English two weeks ago told farmers at the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) the Government was willing to help Fonterra overcome “the disconnect with urban New Zealanders”. English pointed to the sheer size of Fonterra and noted every New Zealander is affected by its decisions. But he urged Fonterra shareholders not to get too negative about the criticism. “Fonterra has such a high pro-

file it has to be seen having broader community interests,” he says. Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Simon Couper says farmers have not done anything wrong but agrees on the need to have the community be- David Carter hind them. Couper says farmers are not here to destroy New Zealand’s environment or tarnish the country’s image on the world market. As part of its efforts to win over the community, Fonterra is throwing a birthday shout across the country on Labour Day (October 24). Couper hopes it will make a difference. “While it will not change the world, we hope to get those without a good understanding of the industry to know us a bit better,” he told Dairy News. DairyNZ chief executive

Tim Mackle agrees the industry needs to engage with the public and politicians on sustainable dairying but lift on-farm performance at the same time. Fonterra chairman Henry van der Heyden last month told a Smaller Herd and Supply Herds (SMASH) conference in Northland the co-op had lost its connect with urban New Zealanders. English says there are clearly tensions between Fonterra and the public over environmental issues.

Greens campaign worries Govt AGRICULTURE


David Carter is concerned about the attitude of the Green Party to dairying and farming generally. “The Greens take every opportunity they can to criticise

the whole of the New Zealand primary industries,” he told Dairy News. “They are economically irrational and because of that take every opportunity to highlight bad stories.”

The Greens are pushing for regulations to control dairying and point to scientific evidence of effluent polluting waterways. But Carter is warning against politicising science. The problem is that science never comes

up with clear answers, he says. “There’s always one scientist on one side of an argument and another on the other side. Positions will be taken by people accepting the science they want to believe. “

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Co-ops sound out suppliers in each other’s patch

Rod Quin


THE GLOVES might not quite be off, but the apparent unwritten agreement between Fonterra and Westland not to tread on each other’s turf is certainly in tatters. Hot on the heels of Westland’s announcement it would be hauling milk over the alps from Canterbury to its Hokitika plant (Dairy News, May 10) Fonterra representatives went on a tour of West Coast farms. Dairy News understands about 150 were visited, and though the representatives were at pains to point out they were not recruiting – it was purely a “promotional” visit – the im-

plication is clear: Big Brother is assessing supply potential in the west, at the very least. It has also hit fast forward on its plans for Darfield, holding community meetings and preparing consent applications for a second dryer on the central Canterbury site with a view to trebling capacity by 2015. That may just be a reflection of the growth potential of the region, but with Westland considering a processing plant at Rolleston it looks like another shot across the West Coast cooperative’s bows. Consents for an initial 2.2 million litre/day plant at Darfield were granted in December and construction started April with commission-

“If it turns into a supply battle like with the meat companies that wouldn’t be helpful at all.” – Richard Reynolds ing expected by August next year. Westland chief executive Rod Quin says he’s not surprised “Fonterra has reacted in a competitive way” to Westland’s east coast expansion. “It’s one of the things you expect when you expand.” He’s tight-lipped about how many Canterbury suppliers have committed to Westland but says “it’s enough for the milk concentration plant at Rolleston to run efficiently.” That will be completed in August

and a proposal for a full-blown processing plant alongside it is in front of Westland’s board. Fonterra last week did not respond to Dairy News’ requests for an interview on developments at Darfield, but Federated Farmers West Coast Dairy chair Richard Reynolds says it would be “crazy” if the two cooperatives’ start hauling milk in opposite directions over Arthurs Pass. However, if some sort of reciprocal supply agreement that improved the outcome for both cooperatives

could be reached, then Fonterra operating in the west, and Westland in the east, would be no bad thing. “But if it turns into a supply battle like with the meat companies that wouldn’t be helpful at all.” A second processor sourcing milk would present some long-term issues for the Coast if there was a large shift in supply, he adds. “That risk is always there and the best way to prevent that is to make sure Westland is competitive with Fonterra.”

Birthday shout to say thanks Don’t panic on price dip – yet FONTERRA FARMERS will be hanging up their overalls and heading into town on Labour Day to celebrate the co-op’s 10th birthday in their local communities. Fonterra staff and farmers are laying on shouts from Northland to Southland. Farmers will man the barbecues and hand out Tip Top ice creams. Kiwi entertainers have been lined up to perform Simon Couper at each centre: Whangarei, Hamilton, Hawera, Palmerston North, Ashburton and Invercargill. Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Simon Couper says despite the busyness of farmers during October, the co-op couldn’t pass the 10-year milestone without thanking the many people and communities that have

helped it along the way. “It’s taken a lot to get here, but we’ve had huge support from our shareholders, the 16,000 people who work for us and our local communities around the country. “Labour Day’s a good time to stop and say thanks to our own people and to New Zealand and the best way to do that is with a traditional Kiwi shout.” The shout will take place from noon to 4.30pm, allowing farmers to milk cows before heading to the celebration. Couper says Fonterra has used its first ten years to build on a 125-year tradition of dairying in New Zealand and long established export expertise. Details of charities to benefit from the events and the names of entertainers will be announced later.

A 6.7% fall in $US terms on last week’s Global Dairy Trade auction isn’t yet a cause for alarm on farm, say economists. “That $6.75/kgMS milk price forecast from Fonterra probably reflected a bit of movement so I don’t think there’s any reason to anticipate a change in that yet,” ASB rural economist James Shortall told Dairy News. However, the $NZ hitting US83.5c last week does exacerbate the fall here, and there’s little prospect of a respite with exchange rates, he reckons. “We believe it’s going to go

higher in the next two-three months and probably average over US80c during the next 12 months.” A lot more skim milk powder was offered, probably accounting for the 15.5% crash in that commodity in the near contract, bringing it close to parity with whole milk powder, which averaged 6.8% down at $US3638/t across all contracts and grades. US dairy commentator William Bailey, Western Illinois University, points to the recent sharp correction in corn as a factor in dairy’s dip. Writing in ASB’s weekly

commodities update, he says as a feed input and in setting the mood for soft commodities in general its impact is negative. “With the recent US all milk price (a blend of different milk classification prices) at its highest level in several years, the combination of reductions in feeding costs and strong milk prices is a signal for the US milk industry to increase production,” says Bailey. However, European butter markets, led by the United Kingdom, remain very firm, he notes.

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australian rural trader Landmark will buy more dairy heifers from New Zealand to export to China. Landmark exported 30,000 Australian dairy heifers to China last year – or 95% of its total dairy heifer exports – but managing director Richard Norton says the company will now buy 50% of dairy heifers from New Zealand. The company first thought to buy 80% of stock from New Zealand before the Federal Government reversed its decision to ban live beef exports to Indonesia on July 5. Norton says the decision was made to satisfy customers in China that it could still meet supply should a total ban be placed on live exports from Australia.

The Government’s handling of the issue has made Chinese buyers wary, he says. “Their main concern is that trade will be closed down without consultation,” Norton says. “As an organisation, we’re saying we can continue to supply, and are mitigating our risk by getting more shipments out of New Zealand. “China doesn’t understand the difference between breeding and slaughter markets. They just saw it as our live export market was closed.” Norton says Landmark immediately began lobbying the Government when the decision to close the trade to Indonesia was made, explaining the differences between the slaughter and breeding trades.

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Synlait 2 on schedule there’s not much leeway but we’ll hit the date.” That’s despite the THE LARGEST purpose- earthquakes that have built infant formula plant rocked the region for in Australasia is on time, nine months. on budget and just 60 “We’ve plugged the days from commissionearthquake cracking with ing, says Synlait Milk. resin to prevent moisture The central Canterfrom coming into any of bury processor showed our high hygiene facilisuppliers and journalists ties,” he told suppliers on around its site last week, the tour. including its second Synlait managing large-scale dryer, still be- director John Penno ing built. “We’ve added says the tight timing is extra functionality and planned. we’re still under budget “They schedule [the so we’re pretty happy,” build] right down to the general manager manuday. Once it’s finished facturing, Neil Betteryou really want to test it idge, told Dairy News. straight away. You don’t “There’s about 60 want to have to wait for days to go before milk so milk.” Last week there were about 320 tradesmen on site, typically working 18 days on, three days off. July 30: plant flushing. The site’s original 1.6 Aug 19: separator on water. million L/day Aug 25: evaporator on water. capacity will Aug 27: dryer on water. cope with the Sep 1: plants one and two milk flow from combined. the firm’s 130 suppliers to mid Sep 15: first milk. September. ANDREW SWALLOW

countdown to completion

The new dryer has 1.8m L/day maximum throughput and can make 8t of infant formula/hour. Some mixes are up to 25% vegetable oil, including coconut and palm oils. “It’s perceived as a healthier fat distribution and helps the digestion,” says Betteridge. A second, 15MW coal-fired boiler has been added to the 20MW unit already on site, burning up to 50t/day to produce 600oC steam at 40 bar. A clean burn and filter means “you can’t even see” the flue gas coming out of the stack, notes Betteridge. “The boiler tested as the third most efficient in New Zealand last year.” Over a million L of water/day, taken from a bore, is used for cooling, and about 2m L/day will be extracted from milk. It’s all irrigated onto two of the firm’s neighbouring farms with three computerised pivots controlled from the plant’s control room. “The factory is actually water positive.... We’re just borrowing [the

Minor setback from quake The first cranes went up September 3, and on September 4 the 7.1 magnitude earthquake ripped down the Greendale fault, barely 10km from the plant. Remarkably everything stayed standing, though the 28m tall evaporator shifted 20cm smashing

piping and supports. The four cranes were commandeered by Civil Defence for use in Christchurch, and though they came back, when the February 22 quake hit the city, they were commandeered again. In total, about three weeks construction was lost.

“The factory is actually water positive.... We’re just borrowing [the water] before it goes to grow grass.” – John Penno water] before it goes to grow grass.” Nitrogen content of the extracted water is monitored and applications plotted to ensure effluent consent limits of 150kgN/ha/year are not breached at any point. In 2010/11 each of the three pivots applied between 100 and 110kgN/ha. “We believe it’s one of the most sophisticated irrigation networks in the southern hemisphere.”

A 15mW coalfired boiler has been added to the original 20mW unit, whch last season was rated the third most efficient in the country.

Speciality milk strategy SYNLAIT’S ORIGINAL concept of using feed and genetics on farm, integrated with its processing plant, to produce speciality products, is alive and well, says supply manager David Williams. However, since its first dryer was commissioned in November 2009 it has become clear there’s no need for the firm to own most of the farms supplying it to execute the strategy. “We found out quite quickly that some of our contract suppliers were even more keen on what we’re talking about than we are. That’s why you’ve not seen the number of Synlait farms grow.” A couple of speciality milks are already being produced from

two of the firm’s own farms. product from the rest of the dryers. A small-scale dryer, alongside Some of our Japanese and Taiwanthe two main plants, is used to pro- ese customers are enjoying that at cess them. present.” “It can only take Some lines are two tankers [of milk] worth as much as 50 a day so it’s ideally times the value of suited to two big CanWMP, says Betterterbury dairy farms idge. Trials for the doing something spemain plant are also cial with the feed,” conducted. notes general manIn 2010-11 $2.6 ager manufacturing, million of special David Williams Neil Betteridge. milk, colostrums The mini-tower and/or seasonal boproduces about 180t/year of spe- nuses – the equivalent of $10cents/ cialist product at present. kgMS – will be paid on top of the “It’s only small volume but it current forecast payout of $7.50/ earns good revenues for us.... We kgMS. In 2009-10 suppliers avercan make a completely different aged $6.21/kgMS.

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Supply situation ‘no sweat’ SYNLAIT’S MILK supply manager David Williams says he’s “not overly concerned” by the three-way supply split developing in the company’s backyard. Fonterra is building at Darfield, 30km from Synlait’s Dunsandel plant, and Westland is for the first time openly recruiting in the east, and plans a plant just 20km up SH1 at Rolleston. “We’ve known for quite a while [Westland’s] intention was to come over this side but they’re a cooperative as Fonterra is and they’ll be targeting the guys who want to stay with a cooperative but take some money out of Fonterra.”

Synlait will “pretty much talk to anyone” says Williams, but the aim is to concentrate on collections within 80km of its Dunsandel site. Progressive, good farmers “interested in our vision” are preferred. “It’s really important to us we get people who are going to grow and get into the things we are. We have turned some farms down, mainly on the environmental side.” Synlait’s buy-out of proposed South Canterbury start-up operation Oceania, including its supply agreements, will see milk from 20 farms from south of Timaru trucked to Dunsandel

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FARMERS WITH LIC Protrack in their dairy sheds are encouraged to brush on up their skills before the new season starts. The farmer co-op is this month holding Protrack refresher courses throughout the country to get farmers together to refresh their skills, knowledge and confidence. “Protrack... is only as good as the people who use it,” says LIC farm automation manager Garth Anderson. “The refresher courses cover every aspect of Protrack and how it can assist them and their business to ensure they [realise] the full potential of their farm automation system.

Takeover bid stumbles

SINGAPOREAN COMPANY Olam International has fallen short in its quest for full control of NZ Farming Systems Uruguay. A group of independent directors have refused to sell, preventing Olam reaching 90% and mounting a compulsory takeover. Olam told the New Zealand Stock Exchange last week it has secured 86% of the Uruguayan farmer.

once calving starts. They’ll represent about 15% of supply, Synlait’s own farms 17%, with the balance of the 130 suppliers on contract within that 80km, says Williams. “A lot [of the milk] is really close. There are only a couple over the

Rangitata [to the south] and up at Ashley [in the north].” About 50% more milk will be collected this coming season, but the new dryer won’t be full because capacity has, in theory, doubled. But that doubling is based on maximum

throughput, says Williams. In practice, how much milk can be processed will depend on the product mix. The new dryer can turn 1.8 million L/ day into skim milk, but no more than 200,000 L/ day into “our most complex product,” he says.

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Dairy News hits 250! Dairy News has come a long way since its early days, when the previous publisher put a photo of a sheep on the cover. At that low point Dairy News’ current publisher Rural News Group bought the magazine – then called Dairying Today – and overhauled it, adding a sharper focus on news to its on-farm content.

More recently Dairy News has led with dairy industry news, increasing its frequency to twicemonthly to more effectively cover breaking stories. The magazine’s design has been refreshed and the editorial team is working harder and smarter to lead from the front on issues that matter to dairy farmers.

Rural News Group general manager Adam Fricker says Dairy News succeeds in part because it is distributed free to everyone in the industry, not just a select few. The dairy industry itself succeeds by sharing information throughout the entire industry. Dairy News will remain true to that principle, he says.

Win ‘positive for dairying’ ANDREW SWALLOW

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DAIRY FARM manager Will Grayling (25), Ashburton, has won the National Bank Young Farmer Contest. Grayling, raised on his parents’ two dairy farms near Hamilton, manages a 1600-cow Spectrum property. He took the title during the closing quiz rounds at Masterton on July 2. “I hope that it sends a positive message [about dairying],” Grayling told Dairy News last week. “...That there are young people out there in the industry who are concerned about the issues and here to farm for the long-term and make it work for everybody.” Maintaining a licence to operate within the Dream challenge: Young Farmer Contest winner Will Grayling assembles a cluster during the practical day.

community is one of the key challenges for the sector, he believes. “We’ve got to get everybody on board, on the same page. Try to explain more about the benefits we bring to the community and our efforts to mitigate our effect on the environment... “As an industry we’ve not got to accept what the bottom people do. The bottom 2% drag us all down. As an industry we’ve got to tell these guys it’s not good enough. Everyone’s got to understand that if their neighbours do a bad job it gets a bad name for all of us.” Grayling saw off finalists from seven other Young Farmer re-

gions to take the title. Preparations for the final – including submitting a project in advance, completing a day of written and oral tests, then a one-day practical challenges and the televised evening quiz – was a challenge, given he had an 840-cow farm to run to May 30, then a move to the bigger unit to organise. “Getting up early,” was the key, he says. “Still getting up at 5am or 5.30am to study so that I could still be out the door [on the farm] by 8am. That’s probably the big one, and prioritising work so all the important jobs got done but putting off some of the little

jobs that could wait. It was hard work though.” He’s now looking forward to “a full-on year with the Young Farmers and being able to give back to the competition.” That’s not to mention his new job and December wedding to fiancé Kimberley True. Long-term his aims are to let the dairy career path “take us as far as it can”. “The next step is a sharemilking arrangement and trying to get a share of the business, and enjoying the lifestyle on the way hopefully to farm ownership.” His win landed him a prize package worth $62,000, on top of a scholarship worth $15,000 and an $8000 study/travel prize.

Dairy News // july 12, 2011



Fonterra eyes India’s growing dairy market sudesh kissun

FONTERA’S SUCCESS in India hinges on a comprehensive free trade deal phasing out tariffs. The co-op annually exports $200 million of products, mainly pharmaceutical grade lactose, to India but tariffs up to 60% are a stumbling block The recent visit to India by Prime Minister John Key has given the co-op hope of boosting trade under a FTA with the world’s fastest growing dairy market. Fonterra director Greg Gent and trade strategy manager James McVitty accompanied Key and met with the National Dairy Development Board developing the Indian dairy sector. The Government hopes to finalise a FTA with India next year. McVitty hopes it will be comprehensive. “Agriculture needs to be part of the FTA,” he told Dairy News. McVitty sees Fonterra’s trade with India going hand-in-hand with investments. The co-op is studying the feasibility of co-owning dairy farms with key Indian dairy players. “We hope to get a clear sense of direction in the next few months,” he says. Fonterra may buy a pilot farm as it has in China where it now owns several farms. McVitty says while Fonterra’s trade with India is nowhere near China’s, there is massive potential for growth. “India has the potential to be a bigger market for Fonterra than China,” he says. With 17% of the world’s population and 20% of children, there is a great demand for milk. “The children love their milk and understand its nutrition value. As wealth increases, formal retail channels for milk are developing,” says McVitty. India is the world’s largest producer of milk, churning out 112 million tonnes per year. Economic growth i fueling demand for dairy and the country hopes to lift production to 200m t by 2020.

India’s dairy market • 70 million farmers • Average farmer has 2-3 cows • Most production is consumed on farm and only 20% of milk enters a formal supply chain • Largest fat market in the world • Fastest growing dairy market in the world • Fonterra sells mostly pharmaceutical grade lactose to India.

If India wants to meet demand locally, its 70 million dairy farmers must lift production by 6m t every year. New Zealand produces 17m t of milk annually. McVitty says it will be a massive challenge for India to lift milk production. Local supply is struggling and dairy prices are rising 20% annually.

Prime Minister John Key address media in Delhi while Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looks on.

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Federated farmers annual conference

Ferrier puts success down to teamwork PETER BURKE


executive Andrew Ferrier says he’s thrilled and honoured to be named Federated Farmers Agribusiness Person of the Year. The award was made at a gala dinner at Feds conference at Rotorua recently. Ferrier was one of five nominees for the award including Doug Edmeades of AgKnowledge, Larry Bilodeau of Ballance Agri-Nutrients, Barry Quayle of National Fieldays and Craig Hickson of Progressive Meats. Ferrier told Dairy News after the awards

that it was fantastic to be representing Fonterra and the farmers of New Zealand in a world class company. “I’ve loved every minute of it although it

all the time. What I show is ethics, integrity and cooperative spirit, and focus and determination.” A good team approach is the key to suc-

“I’ve loved every minute of it although it hasn’t been easy all the way.” hasn’t been easy all the way. It’s a thrill to be honoured and an honour not just to me, but for the 16,000 employees who work hard for the farmers of New Zealand.” Ferrier says to succeed you’ve got to go flat out. “There’s no question we have enormous opportunities and we’re out there grabbing them

cess, Ferrier says, chiefly building a team to bring in the best players. “So I hire the top players in their field. My job is to get them to work together as a team but let them go out and do what they’ve got to do. We’ve got some world class people.” Ferrier has seen the tremendous contribu-

New Feds president banks on farming BRUCE WILLS has spent most of his working life off-farm but since his return to the land in 2003 he’s made up for lost time. Raised on a sheep and beef property in Hawke’s Bay, Wills says he effectively left the farm at the age of 13 when he headed to board at Nelson College. From there it was straight to Lincoln University to complete a degree in agricultural commerce after which he obtained a job with the then Rural Bank. Bruce Wills While at the bank he became a registered valuer and farm consultant. “Pretty much as soon as I picked up those two qualifications, which required three years of practical experience I moved to AMP Investments in Wellington. That was about 1986 and I did various roles around AMP, generally in the analysis and investment areas for a number of years.”

Post the 1987 stock market crash, Wills was involved in sorting out some of AMP’s companies that didn’t perform well during the crash. After a brief stint in Auckland with AMP he moved to Hamilton in 1989 to become the local manager with a staff of about 30. His role included managing all of AMP’s lending operations in the central North Island. In 2003, AMP restructured and Wills decided that the time was right to move to farming which he did in late 2004. He now farms on the original family farm in partnership with brother Scott. “The only reason I can undertake federation work is because my brother is happy to cover things on the farm.”

tion farmers make to the country – for which they should feel proud. “I also believe New Zealanders should appreciate more than they do how incredibly successful New Zealand farmers are. “In most countries people look at farmers as the people you have to go around and support. But here in New Zealand farmers take it absolutely in their own hands. They get out and they are successful and they are world class. They should be enormously proud of their success.” Ferrier is irked by the ‘tall poppy’ syndrome. Farmers are

Steve Rieger, Vodafone, hands Andrew Ferrier the Federated Farmers Agribusiness Person of the Year trophy.

caught up in this and it’s wrong because they are backbone of the New Zealand economy. “The NZ Institute

of Economic Research study last year stated that when the payout goes up by a dollar it puts almost $300 in

every new Zealander’s pocket. So farmers’ returns are going right back to the community.” says Ferrier.

Farmy Army honoured FEDERATED FARMERS has named its own John Hartnell and his Farmy Army as

the 2011 Agri-personality of the year. Huge applause and a standing ovation greeted the news at Feds’ awards night at the recent annual conference at Rotorua. Outgoing president Don Nicolson says Hartnell agreed to lead and speak for the Farmy Army, working with Civil Defence to understand the immediate needs of Christchurch residents. “During the two days following the February earthquake, John worked hard with a core group of federation people to assemble a volunteer group and build a team of support staff. Sponsors were keen to help with cash donations, food and drinks. Many were inspired by the actions of Federated Farmers and so the Farmy Army was born.” The Army drew huge John Hartnell praise and massive positive feedback from the community. The Army had done a huge job reconnecting the urban and rural communities. Accepting the award, Hartnell described being part of the Farmy Army as a humbling experience – “going into a city broken to bits to help people of all different ages who couldn’t help themselves. “The February event was traumatic for these people and for me too. Going out on the first day and having people come up and tell you they were hungry in a country that’s the best food producer in the world was tough.” Hartnell says he had a great group of people cleaning up silt and debris, and a great group of women running a kitchen at the Christchurch show grounds. “Sponsors were exceedingly generous and we not only fed the army, but other residents as well. What was achieved was a big big team effort by a whole lot of people. We even had people come from Sydney to join us.” Hartnell is proud of what Federated Farmers did. Their actions attracted huge, positive media coverage for the organisation, he says. The federation now has new friends in the city, he says.

Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Federated farmers annual conference

Big changes at Feds PETER BURKE

FOR THE first time in decades massive changes are seen in the leadership of Federated Farmers: five new members were elected to the sevenperson board during the recent annual meeting at Rotorua. The changes are likely to cause Feds to take a more collaborative, rather than confrontational, approach to issues. Hawke’s Bay sheep-and-beef farmer Bruce Wills was elected president, succeeding Don Nicolson who stepped down after the standard three years as leader. Wills headed off three other contenders: Donald Aubrey, Frank Brenmuhl and former dairy section chair Lachlan McKenzie. Wills won the election on the second ballot. To win he had to get at least 20 of the 39 votes from delegates. Dr William Rolleston, South Canterbury, was elected vice-president; Anders Crofoot and David Rose were elected to the board for the two nonindustry group positions. The unsuccessful candidate for these positions was Stu Wadey, Waikato

Jeanette Maxwell, (meat and fibre) Willy Leferink (dairy) and Ian McKenzie (grain and seeds) were elected to the board by virtue of being chairs of their respective industry groups. Maxwell is the first woman to be elected to the board. Two former board members – John Hartnell and Phil York – did not stand, but Aubrey and McKenzie did stand for president and the latter also for vice-president. There was clearly a concerted and organised move to ring changes on the board. Dairy News understands those seeking change had up to 23 votes and used these to elect certain people. This became obvious when Rolleston was elected vice-president on the first ballot. He was up against Rose, Wadey and McKenzie, who made a last minute decision to stand after not gaining the presidency. But Rolleston won this on the first ballot, meaning he got at least 20 votes, while three other contenders shared the rest. The new board has a business-like look. Wills, Rolleston and Crofoot have business, science and IT backgrounds and strong connections with

industry and government, especially in Wellington. Wills has been a banker most of his life, entering full-time farming, and Feds membership, in 2004. Rolleston is a farmer and businessman and chairs the Innovation Board of the Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI). He’s also a member of MSI’s Science Board. Crofoot, from New York, but holding dual NZ and US citizenship, has an IT background. The other members all have strong farming backgrounds. Rolleston’s role as chair of MSI should work to Feds’ advantage as he has direct access to the Minister of Science and Innovation, Dr Wayne Mapp. Wills believes with the changes to the board comes a mandate for change. Collaboration will be the key for him. “With agriculture being such a big part of our economy, coping with the Christchurch earthquake and the economy in general, the Federation has a part to play in this recovery. It’s wider than just the rural community so we’ve got to take and embrace and work with the urban community.” Wills says the Federation wants

Federated Farmers leadership award winners Richard and Joanna Greaves at the conference.

farming to be successful, profitable and sustainable. But some people in the wider community see farmers in some sectors, particularly dairying, as needing to improve their understanding and care of the environment... to front foot environmental issues more vigorously. Wills says he’s conscious that apart from Leferink there is not a lot of experience of dairy farming around the new board table. But Leferink will get plenty of support,

he says. The substance of the federation will not change as a result of the new board, Wills says. But obvious to all is that a large number of influential people within Feds have been unhappy about its direction for three years. The changes appear designed to position the Feds as a more mainstream lobby group with the ear and respect of government and industry decision makers. Make no mistake, this is a radical move.

Mackle praises Feds’ reps

McKenzie bows out

DAIRYNZ’S chief executive Tim Mackle pays tribute to the work of Federated Farmers regional representatives. Mackle, keynote speaker at the Federation’s annual conference at Rotorua, told Dairy News the time farmers give up to work on local issues is important and they do a tremendous job. DairyNZ, Feds and Fonterra work particularly well together especially on policy issues and need to do more of this, he says. “What DairyNZ brings is more of the science either from our own people or from some of our providers. That’s what we bring to the policy mix and that complements Federated Farmers very well.” One issue he says needs resolving is science – its coordination and communication. “We need a ‘New Zealand Inc’ approach; people getting together and identifying what the issues are and then seeing what the science is telling us and then what the plan could be coming out of that. “This approach is much more constructive than, say, industry, local government, regional government all hiring experts doing the same and then meeting up somewhere in a more adversarial way.” If dairy is to increase its contribution to

LACHLAN MCKENZIE says others are more upset than he is about him missing out on the presidency and vice presidency of Federated Farmers. He is philosophical about what has happened, saying he knew when he stood for office there was a chance he wouldn’t win. He told Dairy News he accepts the democratic process; he didn’t wish to discuss the election results at the Feds conference. Now he will concentrate on work on his farm and other businesses he’s involved in. He will not seek a federation office again. He gets fewer phone calls than before and has no Wellington trips planned. The sudden change will mean more time at home on the farm with his wife Heather. During his three years on the board McKenzie has been particularly vocal, not surprising given his portfolios of

the country through more value and volume, and deal with environmental issues, it must do this in partnership with the public, Mackle says. But he concedes it’s a big challenge. “There will need to be a strategic, innovative and coordinated approach from farmers through to government. We’re going to have to work strongly in partnership. So it’s not just about the dairy farming family members working together. It’s about working with the regional councils and others to try and solve issues.” The industry needs to do a better job at getting on with its neighbours. “You might call that a social license to operate, and that’s important for our industry. Yes, there’s been a beat-up by some mainstream media, but there are things we can do and should be doing that will go some way to address that.” While farmers understand some aspects of their ‘environmental footprint’, most notably effluent, they are not necessarily aware of the total picture. But he senses a growing awareness of the need to take the sustainability issue seriously. “Our challenge is to do that in such a way as not to undermine our profitability.”

Lachlan McKenzie

dairying and the environment. He served on the Land and Water Forum and is credited with building positive relationships with NGOs the Feds have traditionally locked horns with – especially Fish and Game. In theory he is still on LAWF because he was chosen as a farmer, as opposed to being a member of the Feds board. McKenzie was praised by Environment Minister Nick Smith for his work on LAWF.

When elected three years ago to the Feds board he planned to leave after his three-year term. “But people came to me and said I had skills they respected and they asked me to stand for president. “Now the issue for me is how can I pass on the knowledge and skills I picked up by holding office… to other leaders coming through the ranks.” The fact there’s only one dairy farmer on the new board doesn’t matter, he says. When he was on the board he was the sole dairy farmer. With the sudden departure of McKenzie from the Feds goes a wealth of experience – something the new board is short of. His public passion for agriculture – the dairy industry in particular – will be missed. Hopefully his experience and talents will not be lost and McKenzie will surface again in some form of public office.

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federated farmers national conference

Greens wind up dairy leader THE ACCURACY of science on water quality caused the Green Party co-leader and DairyNZ’s chief executive – plus a few farmers – to cross swords at the recent Federated Farmers Conference at Rotorua. The exchange, between Russel Norman and Tim Mackle, resulted from Norman’s address to the conference. (He was one of four political leaders invited to speak; the others were Don Brash, Bill English and Phil Goff.) The exchange occurred after Norman said there was good science behind the claim that intensive agriculture leads to water pollution and the ecological decline of waterways. Mackle took issue with Norman, saying though he agreed with Norman that dairying needed to improve its environmental footprint, there wasn’t sufficiently good science available right now to develop an action plan. “While we’re saying there are some indicators, we still don’t have the complete science to formulate what the best approach is in various catchments [and] how we’re going to manage water quality issues.” Mackle disagrees with Norman that there is sufficient science available to make those decisions. “We’ve done enough work to understand there are concerns and issues, but we certainly haven’t done enough to truly understand what is the best approach we should be aiming for and the approaches to resolve it.” Mackle says there’s a risk the issue will get politicised and says he wants a bipartisan approach to this issue from a ‘New Zealand Inc’ perspective. “Work out where we want to go with dairy, seize more opportunity for growth and determine what it’s going to take to get there. “We then need to devote the science resources to achieving that and working with regional councils, industry, central government and different science bodies on common goals. “We need to take this

approach rather than have the different parties all hiring experts and coming out with different views. That’s counterproductive.” Mackle concedes that during an election year things will be said about dairying which are not true. The industry must stick to the facts, he says. Ironically, says Mackle, some scientists Norman was quoting were trained by the former chief executive of NIWA, now working for DairyNZ .

Russel Norman

Tim Mackle

After Norman’s address, farmers also rose to challenge him. Much to the mirth of the crowd one of them addressed him as “Mr Green”. Norman launched straight into the dairy farmers, the expansion of the industry and the environmental impacts he claims it results in. He pointed out the amount of effective land under dairying has increased 20 years from about 1 million ha to 1.6m ha. Likewise cow numbers have virtually doubled while the number of herds has declined slightly. Norman noted stocking rates had also been going up – a classic sign of intensity. But Norman’s main thrust with the science he claims conclusively proves intensive dairying is having huge environmental impacts. This is backed up by NIWA scientists’ reports, he says. “The environmental gains in terms of reduced point source pollution are being overshadowed by

increasing diffuse pollution. What we’re seeing is that the RMA has been reasonably effective in dealing with point source pollution such as sewage and industrial waste, but gains we’re making there are being swamped by an the increase in nitrogen coming from diffuse

“Work out where we want to go with dairy, seize more opportunity for growth and determine what it’s going to take to get there.” – Tim Mackle pastoral pollution.” Norman quoted controversial Massey

University scientist Mike Joy who claims native fish species are being

threatened by dairying. “This is what the science is saying. There is a consensus among the scientists about the issue and I can present paper after paper after paper about this.” Farmers should not attack scientists, it was embarrassing they did so,

Norman said. “Scientists get passionate about these issues…. They study the environment and see [it] disappearing before their eyes. Scientists are not attacking the farmers, they’re just doing their job; there are masses of data about this.”


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New Feds’ team pleases Carter PETER BURKE

AGRICULTURE MINISTER David Carter says he’s excited there is such a new leadership team at Federated Farmers following their recent annual conference in Rotorua. Feds has a new president – Hawke’s Bay sheep and beef farmer Bruce Wills – and five new board members. Carter says the Federation is the most important agricultural lobby organisation in New Zealand. “I am looking forward to working with talented and respected people such as the new president Bruce Wills and the new vice president William Rolleston. “I have an exciting opportunity as minister of agriculture to engage with the new board and I’m looking forward to that.” Carter says the fact Wills has

signaled he wishes to work in a collaborative way bodes well for the future. “In recent times each president had his own style which has formulated the style of the Federation. “There’s more opportunity to get gains by working in a collaborative fashion with government, and I expect that is the way Bruce Wills plans to operate, but that’s over to him,” he says. It’s time to look forward, not backwards, says Carter. But he notes the previous board led by Don Nicolson was passionate about New Zealand agriculture. “I’m hopeful that passion will remain with the new board and expect it will,” he says. It’s no secret the massive changes on the board were orchestrated by a group of senior provincial presidents concerned about the image and perception of the Federation – especial-

The Rugby World Cup will attract 85,000 international visitors.

ly in Wellington. While understandably Carter would not be publicly drawn on this, he clearly has some views. “Some of the stances taken in past by Federated Farmers in my opinion weren’t that logical. I’m expecting a far more collaborative approach.”

Miraka signs up SIGNS ARE going up in many parts of the central North Island signaling the opening very soon of a new dairy factory in the area. The Miraka plant, owned by a consortium of Maori trusts, is on schedule to take its first tanker load of milk on August 1. The $90 million plant with its 8t drier will initially produce whole milkpowder, mainly for markets in Asia. The plant is utilising geothermal power owned by one of the trusts which is a partner in the venture. The Miraka plant is situated west of Taupo. Many of its suppliers are local Maori trusts and incorporations; some are local farm-

Miraka supplier signs are up near Reporoa.

ers who have joined as suppliers. One of the suppliers is the Waipapa 9 Trust which last year won the Ahuwhenua Trophy for the best Maori dairy farm and won it again this year for its sheep and beef operation. The factory will employ 60 full-time staff.

In the past week supplier signs have been delivered together with ‘starter packs’ for suppliers. A ‘welcome day’ has been held at a local marae. Miraka says everything is running to schedule for the August 1 opening.

Biosecurity focus on World Cup arrivals THE LOOMING Rugby World Cup has prompted MAF to refine its systems against biosecurity breaches, says Agriculture Minister David Carter. He told the Biosecurity Institute Conference last week that MAF is intent on conferring with some big tour groups and teams before they reach New Zealand’s border. “It’s important so they understand quite clearly the requirements when they arrive in New Zealand. We do have to acknowledge we’re going to have 85,000 people coming in over a six week period. We need to efficiently manage them at the border but not at the expense of biosecurity,” he says. Carter told the conference biosecurity is critical to the success of New Zealand agriculture, “because the economy of the country is based on the primary sector and those industries are dependent on good biosecurity”. “Therefore the livelihood of every New Zealander is determined by the success of our biosecurity systems pre-border, at the border and postborder.” Carter defended the Government Industry Agreements (GIA) which are part of the changes being made to the Biosecurity Act currently be-

fore parliament. While many primary sector groups support the changes, others do not. “We’ll get far better biosecurity outcomes if we engage with industry in a collaborative fashion. Most in-

“The economy of the country is based on the primary sector and those industries are dependent on good biosecurity.” dustries are agreeing and accepting that message; there are just one or two reluctant to come on board with GIAs. “But those industries showing reluctance pose a risk to [themselves] if they don’t come on board and work collaboratively with government to get the best outcomes.” The minister also fended off longrunning criticism of MAF Biosecurity, saying New Zealand has arguably one of the most robust biosecurity systems in the world. But he says MAF cannot rest on its laurels and is working to improve and modernise its systems.


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dairy cows are in areas at risk of FE; costs are measured in dollar terms, in lost genetic gain and in the stress and suffering of animals and farm staff. CRV AmBreed genetic strategist Phil Beatson says the FE-tolerant animals are welcomed by herd owners.  “For the farmers who own and manage the 7300 herds in at-risk areas, the opportunity to add genetics to their arsenal of weapons against FE is important.” The bulls, selected with the help of AgResearch and with funding from DairyNZ, enable farmers to get back some of the FEtolerance lost from herds over 25 years, Beatson says.  “FE-tolerant cattle will certainly be an asset to farmers. Their tolerance to FE will augment traditional prevention tools such as zinc and pasture/grazing management.” FE-tolerant sires

will be offered in teams of four, with young Holstein-Friesian and Jersey sires available. The Holstein-Friesian sires average 172BW and the Jersey sires 156BW. Farmers may specify a team of four or more FE-tolerant sires or add the FE-tolerant teams to their chosen proven sires at pack prices.  “Using a team of sires will allow farmers to bring genetics with the highest available FEtolerance into their herds with less risk,” Beatson says.  While there is some trade-off in other traits, CRV AmBreed says farmers will recognise the value of these young sires, from the company’s “elite” Progeny Test Programme.  “Our rigorous young sire selection criteria, coupled with the reliability gained by using these bulls in a team means that farmers get a desirable all-round genetic package,” says Beatson.

Dairy debt a risk to banks A SEVERE downturn in dairy could cause significant losses for New Zealand’s banks, warns a report in the Reserve Bank’s latest Bulletin. The report, ‘Stress testing New Zealand banks’ dairy portfolios’ highlights that of $46.3 billion loaned to agriculture as of June 2010, 63.5% was for dairy. Total registered bank lending was $294b. During 2010 RBNZ surveyed the four largest banks which together accounted for 91% of the $20b loaned to dairy as of June 2008. Anonymous financial records supplied showed 45% of the sector’s debt was carried by just 10% of farms at that time. The data revealed a significant number of farms to be vulnerable to a substantial downturn due to high loan-to-value ratios, high cost structures and/or low earnings relative to debt servicing. Likely defaults on loans in the event of a sustained downturn represent a substantial risk for banks, especially as land against which lending is secured would likely lose value too. The Reserve Bank’s new capital adequacy requirements for farm lending took effect early July. This requires New Zealand’s four largest banks to hold more capital to back rural lending. The impact on each bank will vary depending upon the make-up of lending. “The Reserve Bank expects the new average risk weight across these banks will be about 80 to 90 percent,” says Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer. “This is an increase on existing risk weights. However, it is important to note that before 2008 … this figure was 100%. “The changes are expected to have only a minor impact on rural loan margins, as banks have already adjusted pricing considerably over recent years.”

Dairy News // july 12, 2011



Fonterra bonds debut in Oz FONTERRA RAISED $A300 million this month through its first issue of corporate bonds in Australia. The bonds are for a five year term, maturing in July 2016. They were priced at a spread of 100bp over swap. The bonds were issued by an Australian subsidiary, guaranteed by Fonterra. They are rated A+ by Stan-

dard & Poor’s and AA- by Fitch, consistent with the agencies’ current ratings for Fonterra. General manager treasury Stephan Deschamps said the bond proceeds would be used to refinance bank debt in Australia. “Fonterra has a large business in Australia and it makes sense for us to seek a greater alignment between our

funding activities and our asset base. “Fonterra has not participated in the AUD corporate bond market previously and we are pleased with the strong demand from institutional investors.” The AUD bond issue comes two weeks after Fonterra entered the Chinese currency bond market, raising 300 mil-

lion yuan ($NZ56m) through an issue of RMB denominated bonds. “The strong interest in both of these recent bond issues demonstrates how Fonterra’s business profile and financial strength are well regarded by international investors,” Deschamps says. Fonterra is not ruling out more bond issues.



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A TARARUA farm supervisor’s proactive farming practice is being hailed by the Horizons Regional Council (HRC). The council, notorious among farmers for its One Plan, has been surprised by farming practices at Cavelands Farm, opposite Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre. Cavelands Farm is a top performer in the council’s Tararua stream fencing campaign, in which the council subsidises dairy farmers’ fencing costs to help prevent stock from entering and contaminating waterways. Concerns about Cavelands stemmed from the property’s steep terrain, its 15km of waterways and high annual rainfall (3.3m in 2010). But since September 2010 Cavelands farm supervisor Doug Phillips has built 10km of the 30km of stream fencing required for the property. Phillips has developed Cavelands into an exemplary farm with 750 fenceposts and 10 culverts interlinked by 1 tonne of wire. HRC biodiversity and water quality manager Alistair Beveridge is impressed by Phillips’ progress. “The hard work Doug and his workers have put into this project is something other famers can aspire too,” he says. “He has put in truck loads of effort and now he deserves to reap the benefits.” Cavelands Farm got a 50% subsidy, saving $14,000 so far on fencing costs. Phillips says the fencing campaign offers benefits to him as a famer and to the animals and the wider environment he helps cares for. “Last year we lost a number of stock, cows becoming trapped in streams, seeps and drains, then becoming hypothermic and dying. “Since then we have erected a significant amount of fences which makes caring for the stock more manageable, as well as providing vital protection for our streams. ”Being located on SH2 and right opposite the Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre means we are a highly visible farm, so it’s important for us to be proactive at all times to ensure our property and stock are properly cared for. “This project was a challenge at times but I just went out and made it happen. We’ve noticed the differences since.” The main stream running through the Cavelands property is Bruce Stream which continues into the wildlife centre. It is also part of the Makakahi and Mangatainoka catchment which eventually feeds into the Manawatu River. DoC captive breeding team leader Rosemary Vander Lee, based at Mt. Bruce, appreciates the progress on Cavelands Farm. “We’re over the moon with the huge advances made. Water quality is always an issue when breeding any bird species, so the active role Cavelands is taking to protect their stream is fantastic.”


Waterways fences win praises


Cavelands Farm, Tararua.


Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Most farmers cleaning up effluent act ANDREW SWALLOW

EARLY DATA from two big dairy regions show dairy farmers cleaning up their effluent act, but another region looks set to let the side down. Significant non-compliance in Waikato last season was down to 12%, from 27% the previous year. “We’ve seen considerable improvement in compliance this season which we’re delighted about,” Waikato Regional Council divisional manager compliance and education, Rob Dragten, told Dairy News. Meanwhile in Canterbury 65% of farms were fully compliant, up from 59% the previous year, and while significant non-compliance at 9% was unchanged in 2010-11 compared to 2009-10, in 2008-09 it was 19%. “This improvement reflects the work done with industry partners and other stakeholders,” says Environment Canterbury commissioner Tom Lambie. That’s echoed by Dragten in Waikato. “There’s been a huge effort by the regional council, Fonterra and DairyNZ working together to coordinate action.” The improvement seen is enough to show a real improvement in farm

practice and, in some cases, infrastructure, he says. “Many of the issues are related to infrastructure and improvement of that takes time. But we’re delighted to see the results trending in the right direction. The efforts being made within the industry are really pleasing.” Tools such as the effluent pond size calculator, effluent code of practice, and Fonterra’s every farm every year, are helping build farmer capability, he adds. “With compliance with any legal requirement there will always be a very small proportion who don’t comply, either by accident or not following the rules. But I’m confident we can get to a high level of compliance

Effluent management is improving in most regions, according to latest data.

“We are continuing to work closely with farmers and industry partners to understand the reasons behind the occurrence of significant non-com-

“There’s been a huge effort by the regional council, Fonterra and DairyNZ working together to coordinate action.” because the vast majority of farmers are keen to do it right. Farmers are as tired of the [poor] effluent stats as the rest of the community.” Lambie also says there’s increasing awareness among dairy farmers of the need to improve environmental performance.

pliance and will continue to develop and implement tactics to reduce the rate of non-compliance.” Significant non-compliance issues include effluent ponding, discharge of effluent too close to waterways, and nitrogen overloading due to insufficient area being used for effluent

discharge. In Southland, these have spiked in recent months. “It was looking good but since mid May it has all turned round,” Environment Southland compliance manager, Mark Hunter, told Dairy News. “We’ve not got all our inspection reports in yet but based on the numbers to date significant non compliance is a bit more than last year.” Last year there were 189 significant non-compliance cases. This year the tally is already at 205 out of 826 effluent discharge consents, or 25%. Hunter is unsure exactly what’s driving the increase – “if we knew that we’d be able to fix the problem” – but he has an inkling management

changes at the end of the season could be playing a part. “The autumn hasn’t been bad so either people have just taken their eye off the ball, or there appears to be a certain sector, especially with sharemilkers moving on, that just let the pond fill up and walk out, effectively leaving someone else a ticking time bomb.” Milking later into autumn may also have played a part, but this year’s increase follows a jump from 125 significant non-compliance notices in 2008/9 to 189 in 2009/10. “We’ve said to DairyNZ there’s only so long we can go on putting a rosy picture on what’s happening [to address the issue] in the region.”

Taranaki ahead of the pack WHILE WAIKATO and Canterbury compliance rates are improving, Taranaki’s are more or less static. However, at 96% full compliance, and only about 1% significant non compliance, the region’s record is way ahead already. “We fluctuate between 4% and 5% non compliance here and have done for the last few years,” director of resource management, Fred

McLay, told Dairy News. A history of working with farmers to get effluent management right, and a willingness to prosecute when it isn’t, is the reason behind the region’s success, he says. Roughly 60% of the region’s effluent consents are for discharge to waterways, after treatment, and 40% to land. About 6% of farms hold con-

sents to do both and TRC is keen to see that grow, given the winwin it offers, says McLay. “They can put it on the land when it’s dry and the rivers are low and when the land is [too] wet, the streams have high flows so the discharge is most diluted.” There’s also an “awakening” occurring about the nutrient value of effluent, hence increased demand for land discharge, he notes.

Farmers are realising the nutrient value in effluent, says Taranaki Regional Council.

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Indians buy Oz dairy THE NSW Hastings Valley Dairy Cooperative is to sell its Wauchope dairy factory to the Indian company Sungrow Australia. Sungrow will inject extra capital and resources into the dairy to increase milk production, build a milk powder plant and add Indian dairy products to the current range of Hastings Valley Dairy products. The company will export at least 50% of its manufactured dairy products to Persian Gulf countries. Sungrow chairman Chiprasean Gulave told ABC Radio it will export cheeses to Dubai. “This is a manufacturing company wanting to start dairy

“This is a manufacturing company wanting to start dairy business here in dairy cattle and dairy processing making liquid milk and milk powder.” – Chiprasean Gulave business here in dairy cattle and dairy processing making liquid milk and milk powder, all dairy product to be exported to Gulf countries,” he says. However, the sale does not include the ownership of brand names, trademarks and recipes developed by factory staff and management, which will be licensed to the purchaser for continuing manufacturing.

Co-op marketing manager Tim Walker says jobs at the factory will be secure. “The Hastings Cooperative Dairy factory has had a tricky and interesting time these last few years and this is a positive step for the factory, the co-op and the community.” The sale awaits the completion of an independent accountant’s report and is subject to the

approval of Hastings Co-op shareholders. Hastings is owned by 8900 shareholders and supports 12 local dairy farms. It was set up in 1916 by local dairy farmers who brought their milk to be processed and fresh fruit and vegetables to be marketed. The co-op now owns a department store in Wauchope, three supermarkerts and two farm supplies outlets. Hastings Valley Dairy Co-op is changing hands.

Flooding hits NSW farmers FLOODING HAS devastated dairy farms in midnorth NSW. Three days of heavy rain in mid-June hit communities in Clarence Valley, Upper Hunter, Bellingen Shire and Kempsey areas. Big floods forced the evacuation of parts of the Macleay and Hastings Valleys.Dairy farmers moved livestock out of the region or onto higher ground. Farmers cleaning up have found hay bales and silage washed onto their properties from neighbouring areas, such was the force of the flooding. Lower Macleay dairy farmers Sue and Brett McGinn expect the effects to be as serious as the three major floods in 2009. The fourth-generation farmers were among about 10,000 residents isolated by the water. “It was already a tough winter season but this flood added to it and it is devastating,” McGinn says. Farms have been isolated by floodwaters and paddocks saturated; now they are vulnerable to pugging damage. Australian Crop Forecasters managing director Ron Storey says there has been a sharp increase in the demand for fodder, mainly lucerne for protein. “Many local lucerne producers are sold out and hay may have to come from further afield,” Storey says. The Australian Fodder Industry Association has a network of members with hay for sale for immediate delivery. The NSW Government has classified the affected districts a natural disaster area and primary producers and small business owners can now apply for assistance through the NSW Rural Assistance Authority. Those eligible can apply for long term loans of up to $A130,000. There is no interest charged or repayments due in the initial two years of the loan, after which the interest rate is fixed at a rate of 2.77%. The loans are available to those who derive their total gross income from farming or small business and have incurred clean-up and recovery costs.

Co-op invests $A4m at Cobden FONTERRA IS starting a $A3.9 million capital works scheme to upgrade cream treatment equipment and reduce water consumption at its Cobden manufacturing site. The site employs about 200 people making 65,000 tonnes of dairy products each year – butter, dairy spreads and whole and skim milk powders. The project is due to be complete in September. Fonterra Australia managing director Simon Bromell says this takes the company’s total investment in the region to at least $10m.. “Our Cobden site has an important role to play in Fonterra’s value-add strategy in Australia, in particular manufacturing high quality butter and dairy spreads for the domestic market, where we hold a leadership position through our Western Star Butter and Mainland ButterSoft brands,” Bromell says. Fonterra’s Cobden site manager Rob Howell says the new equipment will save 10 million litres of water a year. “Our ability to process large volumes of milk efficiently is imperative for production purposes and so that we can give our farmer suppliers confidence to continue investing in and improving their own businesses.”

Dairy News // july 12, 2011



UK farmers seek higher milk price EMBATTLED UK dairy farmers are joining forces to seek a better milk contract price formula. The farmers, members of National Farmers Union in Scotland, Wales and England, have devised a formula they want dairy processors to accept.

supply in the commodity markets. “There is still scope for improving the contractual terms and specifically for transparency and certainty as to the price farmers receive, supplying milk to dairy processors in the UK,” says Raymond.

Low farmgate milk prices are driving UK dairy farmers out of business. Low farmgate milk prices are driving UK dairy farmers out of business. For many farmers milk contracts offer no certainty or clarity on the price they will be paid for their milk from one month to the next. Many are locked into contracts for anything up to a year with no way out even if the price they receive is cut. NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond says it has been highlighting the shortcomings in contracts that tie farmers into lengthy notice periods, with little or no certainty on price. But NFU Scotland is bringing the lack of price transparency in dairy contracts into focus by highlighting the shortfall in producer returns, relative to the value of the milk farmers’

“The Co-op retail group is the latest retailer to come to the market with a proposed contract for dedicated liquid supply, which pays a premium for complying with key conditions. “ The challenge ahead for us is to ensure every farmer in Britain has access to a milk contract with certainty their farmgate milk price will be calculated in a fair, equitable and transparent manner. “We intend to meet key stakeholders in the supply chain to call for transparent contractual terms to be offered to farmers supplying into other dairy category markets such as cheese, to pave the way for constructive negotiations between dairy companies and farmer representatives or dairy cooperatives and their various customers.”

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UK farmers want processors to pay more for raw milk.

UK farmers have been buoyed by a European Parliament vote for compulsory contracts with price determination. Raymond is confident farmers will achieve fairer contracts. “The supply chain now has the opportunity to work with us to achieve fair trading conditions voluntarily in the short term.”

More bargaining power THE NFU says dairy farmers could be given the power to negotiate better contracts with milk buyers under plans backed by members of the European Parliament (MEP) agriculture committee.   A report written by Northern Irish MEP Jim Nicholson calls for

mandatory contracts for all member states. He says the contracts should set out the milk price payable, how the price is calculated and volume specifications. It adds that all terms are to be freely negotiated between parties. The NFU says the move will

be a major step towards re-balancing power in the dairy supply chain. “When ten dairy farmers are going out of business every week, as is the case in the UK, it is clear something has to be done,” says NFU dairy board chairman Mansel Raymond.


Dairy News // july 12, 2011


FTA push pleases US dairymen US DAIRY farmers are happy with moves by legislators to finalise three key free trade agreements (FTA). The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) say they support efforts by the Obama administration and members of Congress to quickly implements FTAs with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. US trade representative Ron Kirk last week announced the scheduling by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus of informal or ‘mock’ markups for three separate implementing bills for the FTAs. The mock markup is an informal step traditionally taken by congressional committees with jurisdiction over trade policy before formally considering legislation to implement

a pending trade agreement. says NMPF chief executive Jerry Ko- ing made.” Committee members convene a zak. USDEC president Tom Suber public committee meeting to review “We’ve been saying for several agrees, pointing out the industry esthe draft implementing bill for the years that the growth in exports of timates as many as 10,000 additionagreement and to consider cheese, whey, skim al US jobs, on and off farms, could amendments. milk powder and other be created by the Korea agreement “This is what we’ve alone. been working toward,” “It’s critical all three The US dairy says Kirk. agreements be implemented sector will see US dairy farmers say before we fall behind the Euthe FTAs have the potenropean Union and other nalarge gains from tial to expand US dairy extions, such as Australia and each agreement. ports and create thousands New Zealand, that are cutting of trade-related local jobs. their own deals with these In a statement NMPF dairy products from countries and gaining preferential acand USDEC urge swift Jerry Kozak these agreements cess in those dairy markets,” Suber action on the implementwill help bolster milk says. ing bills so the benefits of these prices for America’s dairy farms and The dairy organisations also noted agreements can be secured as soon expand jobs in the US dairy indus- the economic benefit from the Korea as possible. The US dairy sector will try. We’re pleased progress toward FTA to the US dairy industry in the see large gains from each agreement, achieving these benefits is finally be- first few years after implementation

will average about $US380 million per year. The economic gains from the Colombia and Panama FTAs together will add another $US50 million annually. NMPF and USDEC stress these estimates are valid only if they make full use of the new market access opportunities in each of these agreements and are not left behind by other exporting countries and their FTAs. “We urge Congress to move without any further delay to approve all three FTAs so the gains from them we have been anticipating for four years can finally be realised,” says Kozak. “The announcement of progress on the implementing bills is a great relief for America’s dairy farmers.”

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NATIONAL FOODS has the goahead for a proposed expansion of its cheese factory in Burnie, Tasmania. The company has effectively received approval from Cradle Mountain Water and the Burnie City Council of its plans to manage trade waste. National Foods announced in March it would spend $A122 million on its Burnie site, after a review led to the closure of cheesemaking sites at Simpson and Campbellfield in Victoria and Kings Meadow and Heidi Farm in Tasmania. It is also trying to sell its two SA sites at Murray Bridge and Jervois. National Foods’ managing director Peter Kean says National Foods, Cradle Mountain Water and Burnie City Council have agreed to work through ways to use the existing infrastructure at the Round Hill sewage treatment plant for the management of waste water from the expanded site at Burnie. Kean says the agreement is a step in the right direction and will assist in seeing the planned expansion of the Burnie site come to fruition.

“This is the best outcome for the local community and the region,” Kean says. “In agreeing the way forward, all parties are now working through ways to utilise the existing infrastructure. “It effectively gives us the goahead to expand the site at Burnie from its current cheese making capacity of 10,000 tonnes per annum to 25,000 tonnes. “We are working... to ensure

the proposed expansion at the site aligns with environmental expectations.” National Foods will produce the brands Tasmanian Heritage, Heidi Farm, Mersey Valley and South Cape at the site. The company had planned to invest $A122m in the Burnie site but will invest a further $A20m to build a new anaerobic waste water treatment plant on the site to enable it to meet regulatory guidelines.

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011

opinion Ruminating


Let’s celebrate our success

milking it... Cows miss friends

COWS ARE more clever than you think; they also have best friends and become stressed if they are separated, a British scientist claims. Krista McLennan (27), who made the discovery while working on her PhD at Northampton University, believes her findings could help improve milk yields.

Willy who?

In her study, McLennan measured the heart rates and cortisol levels of cows to see how they cope when isolated. Cattle were penned on their own, with their best friend or with another cow they did not know for 30 minutes and their heart rates were measured at 15-second intervals. The research

WHO’S WILLY? a lady from Ashburton asked last week after getting lots of calls for Feds new dairy chair, Willy Leferink. The former vice chairman changed his landline number during the year and while the correct one was on the media releases from Feds, some with Leferink’s number programmed in their phones, or written down elsewhere, didn’t notice. “We’ve been getting half a dozen calls for him a day,” the lady told ‘Milking It’.

showed cows as social animals which often form close bonds with friends in their herd, the Daily Mail reported. “When heifers have their preferred partner with them, their stress levels, as shown by their heart rates, are reduced compared with if they’re with a random individual,” she says.

Grumpy Graham

ALL BLACKS coach Graham Henry is not a happy man when he misses his daily early morning trip to the gym. Some attendees at the South Island Dairy Event (SIDE) 2011 raised their eyebrows when Henry told off a photographer for photographing him on the platform. A keynote speaker on high performance leadership, Henry had strong words for the poor photographer – not once but twice: “Sit down, you’re making me nervous.” Henry later apologised, saying he was grumpy because he could not train that morning. We wonder if the pressure of a certain event coming up in 60 or so days is taking its toll on the former school principal.

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Milk reduced diabetes? A KEY nutrient found in milk may help reduce the risk of diabetes, researchers say. A three-year study involving 2039 people with high blood sugar levels found the higher the level of vitamin D in the participants’ blood, the lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The research doesn’t prove cause and effect, but Anastassios Pittas, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, tells WebMD. com if the study’s results are confirmed, there are huge implications for the prevention of diabetes because vitamin D is inexpensive.

AS THE world’s biggest dairy exporter, employing 16000 people – mostly New Zealanders – and winning annual sales of $16 billion, Fonterra ought to be the darling of the nation. Sadly, this is not so. Most urban New Zealanders perceive the farmer co-op as being owned by 10,500 rich shareholders living in a world of their own. They claim Fonterra farmers continue to ramp up milk production at the expense of our rivers and waterways. The prices of milk, butter and cheese on supermarket shelves skyrockets every time newspaper headlines scream record payouts for Fonterra farmers, so the city dwellers say. Does Fonterra and its farmers deserve this criticism? We don’t think so. Though each dollar the dairy payout puts $300 into the pocket of each New Zealander, the co-op’s contribution to our national economy is dimly appreciated. At 4am every day, when most urban New Zealanders are still in bed, dairy farmers are switching on milking shed lights. Within 24 hours milk from most of these farms is processed into milk powder, butter, cheese and other ingredients ready to be shipped overseas. Contrary to the beliefs of urban New Zealanders, dairy prices are not set by farmers. Rather, the supply/demand situation worldwide determines dairy prices. A similar case in point is lamb. New Zealand has 40 million sheep yet the price of lamb products is beyond the budgets of some New Zealanders. Consumers in many countries are ready to pay premium prices for quality grass-fed New Zealand lamb and dairy. But locals aren’t. Some New Zealanders, particularly the Green Party, would love to see regulations control the impact of dairy on the environment. Most Fonterra farmers are doing their bit to protect the environment; no one disputes there is room for improvement. What remains to be done is for Fonterra is to further reconnect with urban New Zealanders. For example, free breakfasts in lower decile schools may not make headline news in mainstream newspapers, but it’s the co-op’s way of helping less-well-off members of our society. Similarly, in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes Fonterra tankers carted water to affected residents, then soon afterwards underwrote a ‘telethon’ for quake victims. Fonterra farmers will also celebrate its tenth anniversary in October. Urban New Zealanders may join the celebration, appreciating dairy’s contribution to the nation. This will further help arrest the tendency of Kiwis to swipe at tall poppies.

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011



‘Open trade system needed to boost food production’

Time for planting BALA TIKKISETTY

Agriculture Minister David Carter recently addressed the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) conference in Rome. Here are excerpts from his speech: “SIXTY-SIX years ago this organisation was formed to tackle hunger among the world’s people. To date it has failed in this task. Rather than reducing, the number of hungry and malnourished has increased, to around one billion people. Therefore, FAO needs to be fundamentally reformed to address the enormous challenges it faces. The new director-general has a unique opportunity to reinvigorate FAO, by modernising it, reconnecting it with its members, completing the implementation of the reform package and slashing unnecessary bureaucracy. It is critical FAO performs to its full potential and this means we all must acknowledge the past failures in this organisation. I would like to turn to the matter of climate change as you cannot address food security without addressing the consequences of climate change. When I addressed the World Summit on Food Security in 2009 I laid out New Zealand’s ambitions for the Global Research Alliance. Today the New Zealand-led alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases has brought together 36 countries with a mutual interest in researching ways to produce more food while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We believe the alliance has a vital role to play in ensuring

food security by accelerating international research efforts in this area, and that it will deliver valuable solutions for food producers. With a focus on scientists not politicians, and with a com-

prehensive level of international buy-in, I am confident the alliance will deliver real results to meet the twin challenges of food security and climate change. From New Zealand’s perspective, we have demonstrated our commitment to the work of the alliance through the provision of about US$40 million in funding. This contribution has been more

than matched by many other countries. The Global Research Alliance is a shining example of the type of practical, focused and realistic action we need to see more of if

It is common sense that food should be produced in the areas of the world best suited to doing so, by those more efficient at doing so. It is deeply regrettable that collectively we have not yet been able to address the distortions that penalise efficient producers and impair the opportunities for farmers in developing countries to lift themselves out of poverty and to make their contribution to the alleviation of hunger. It is incumbent on all nations to pursue policies that actively remove these distortions. While it was pleasing to see the recent meeting of G20 agriculture ministers recognise the need to break down trade barriers to ensure food security, words are not enough. We need to see stronger endorsement of free trade by FAO and the G20. We need to see action to end Food security for the hungry trade protectionism. around the world FAO is at a turning point. Its is paramount, says challenges and its mandate are David Carter. immense. It has made mistakes and been anything but effective we are to meet our food security in meeting its founding goals. goals. I would like to make some However, with fresh leadership, a comments on the role that trade clear focus and productive polican play in reducing poverty and cies, New Zealand remains optialleviating hunger. mistic an effective international There is no doubt that if we response to food security can be are to achieve food security, we delivered. must achieve a free and open inFor the sake of the almost one ternational trade system that al- billion people across the world lows food to be produced in the who are hungry today, let’s hope most efficient locations. our optimism is not misplaced.”

IT’S WINTER again: the time of year best for tree planting on farm. Using trees for stock shelter is one of the ways farmers can lessen the climatic stress animals feel during winter. Normally an animal living in its natural habitat would find its own shelter, but farmed animals may not be provided with sufficient options, especially if their field of grass is surrounded only by a wire fence. Planting a shelterbelt is the option open to some livestock farmers for reducing the adverse effects of wind. Artificial windbreaks also play a part in protecting livestock where cost allows and immediate protection is essential. When establishing a shelterbelt, think carefully about site selection and tree species. An understanding of the terrain and local weather conditions is important, so is an appreciation of the interaction with livestock behaviour. Strategic planting may out-do blanket planting and because of the long-term commitment a careful decision should be made. Besides protecting stock, shelterbelts have traditionally been seen to help to reduce evaporation of soil moisture and transpiration from grass. Strong winds in particular increase transpiration rates from the grass and, if the water absorption rate by the roots is lower than the transpiration rate, the plant develops an internal moisture deficit.  Once this deficit reaches a certain threshold, the plant appears to lose its turbidity, photosynthesis is constrained and growth is curtailed. Mechanical agitation of grass by wind is the chief inhibitor of grass growth. These lower rates are reflected in reduced dry weight, leaf area and height; but leaf area is much more sensitive to wind than growth of whole plant weight, which supports the concept that leaf cell expansion is specifically limited. Roots hold the soil together, providing substantial reinforcing.  Root tensile strength is important, but differs between species. • Bala Tikkisetty is sustainable agriculture coordinator at Waikato Regional Council.

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The return of mad cows? REMEMBER MAdGE?

They were the trendy, bored Remuera housewife types, parading as Mothers Against Genetic Engineering, led by former 1980s pop star Alannah Currie. They were – unsurprisingly – against genetic engineering.

MAdGE was more famous for its soft-porn poster of a four-breasted woman, and its members taking off their tops in Parliament’s public gallery, rather than anything it actually achieved. The group appeared suddenly about 2002 then disappeared just as quickly a

year or so later. MAdGE’s claim to fame – apart from the stunts mentioned above – was insinuating that genetic engineering posed the greatest threat to mankind since... the last greatest threat to mankind. Inspired by conspiracy

theories and pseudoscience, Currie and her cohorts blamed GE for everything from crosspollinated ‘Frankenfood’ to mad cow disease. On reflection, MAdGE was the precursor to similar groups who now, a decade later, are protesting about

today’s greatest threat to mankind – climate change. Ironically, these climate change warriors (worriers) are also led by passed-their-used-by-date female ‘artists’ – namely actresses Lucy Lawless and Robyn Malcolm. Thankfully, Currie got bored with lecturing New Zealanders about the evils of GE and returned to the UK to reinvent herself as an artist-upholsterer. However, like one of her awful 1980s Thomson Twins tunes, her anti-GE conspiracy

or eight years has not detected any measurable transfer of genetic material. Meanwhile, its research manager Jimmy Suttie says the CRI was entitled to refute the report’s claims and that its monitoring methods at Ruakura were sound. Suttie also denied the report damaged AgResearch’s reputation, saying he did not think the public understood the debate. But that is exactly the problem Suttie – the


“The public do not understand complex issues like GE and climate change.”

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theories could be on the comeback following media reports revealing a potential cover-up of research about genetic engineering. A recent report critical of AgResearch practices at its genetic engineering laboratories sparked a war of words between the Canterbury University professor who wrote it and AgResearch. Professor Jack Heinemann, from Canterbury’s Centre for Integrated Research in Biosafety, was asked by GE Free New Zealand to look into AgReserach’s monitoring of the risk of horizontal gene transfers at its Ruakura facility. The report looked at the agency’s offal holes containing genetically engineered cow carcasses and its monitoring of the risk of material from those pits contaminating the soil. Heinemann found what he described as “fundamental flaws” in the monitoring of horizontal gene transfer from genetically modified animals disposed of in offal pits. He claimed AgResearch was monitoring soil that was irrelevant because it was at the top of the offal pits and not metres below, where the animals were buried. Heinemann’s report said whenever signals were detected that the risk of a transfer existed, they were not rigorously pursued. However, AgResearch argued its monitoring programme was in line with “best practice science” and in seven

public do not understand complex issues like GE and climate change. And this makes it easy for groups like MAdGE – and the global warming screamers – to sow seeds of doubt and talk of conspiracy theories. The focus on the “worst case scenario” – especially by uninformed amateurs like Currie, Malcolm and Lawless – does more damage to causes such as the antiGE and Climate Change PR campaigns than anything else. Meantime, the lobby against climate change probably has an even louder voice in this country, which probably explains poll results showing a greater percentage of the population does not believe in climate change. But just because the climate sceptics are louder doesn’t necessarily mean their arguments are more accurate. For most people, complex topics such as GE and climate change create too much confusion. The public don’t want to get caught up in hype – they just want the facts. Therefore it is important that organisations like AgResearch and other scientific bodies are fully open and honest about, and with, their research. This will allow the facts to emerge and means broken-down pop singers and actresses can stick to their day jobs. • David Anderson is a former Rural News editor and an agribusiness commentator.

Dairy News // july 12, 2011



Retail exit takes Allied Farmers back to roots Zealand dairy industry spanning twenty years, including responsibility for a significant ALLIED FARMERS is to sell portion of Fonterra’s manufacor close its retail stores with turing operations as regional the aim of increasing profits general manager - central, through focussing and invest- based in Hawera. ing in its livestock business. Announcing his appoint“I am mindful the livestock ment, Allied Farmers chairbusiness focus brings Allied man, Garry Bluett, said his Farmers back to its very ear- deep experience of the rural liest roots,” says ALF Rural industry and in particular the chief executive Steve Morri- dairy industry, would be “an son. asset to Allied Farmers”. “Customers can be assured the company will continue to bring the very real commitment to serving clients, and to ensuring the competitive offering of these services, that was at the core of why Allied Farmers, as its predecessor Farmers Co-op, was originally formed.” Morrison, who was previously Fonterra’s manuFollowing Morrison’s apfacturing value add manager pointment, Allied announced for New Zealand, was appoint- June 15 the early departure ed in early June. of previous chief executive He owns a sheep and beef Rob Alloway. He resigned as property near Stratford, Ta- managing director in April, ranaki, and developed Tairoa reportedly as a result of disLodge near Hawera which agreement with other directors won the 2010 Westpac Ta- over their role in Allied’s illranaki Chamber of Commerce fated acquisition of Hanover Tourism & Hospitality Award. Finance assets. He held various other manMorrison says he’s confiagement roles in the New dent that by focusing the firm’s ANDREW SWALLOW

attention and resources on the profitable livestock business, “prospects will be much stronger and this will benefit both our customers and shareholders.” ALF shares lifted 0.1c on the NZX on the day of the announcement, to 0.9c, giving the firm a market valuation of $16.3m. In March ALF reported a $20.6 million loss for the half year to December, including a

write-down of $12.6m on assets acquired from Hanover Finance in December 2009. In last week’s announcement, it said recent and forecast poor performance of merchandising, and the highly competitive rural retail environment, prompted a review of options for the division leading to the decision to sell or close the stores. Staff were consulted and

Morrison thanked them and customers for their loyalty “over the past months of difficult trading times for our merchandise stores.” Negotiations with potential buyers for the 14 stores spread across Taranaki and King Country are underway. Any sales will accelerate the group’s debt retirement which in the year to 30 June 2011 saw $50m paid off, says the company. Allied Farmers’ origins go back to 1913 when a group of Taranaki farmers formed The Farmers Cooperative Organisation Society of New Zealand Ltd. Expansion during the 1990s saw it move into King Country with livestock trading and merchandise stores, changing its name to Allied Farmers Ltd in 1996, though stores retained the Taranaki Farmers and King Country Farmers names. In 2002 it listed on NZX and in 2006 expanded its finance business, buying Prime Finance, followed by Nationwide Finance in 2007 and Speirs Finance in 2008. These were amalgamated under Allied Nationwide Finance, now in receivership.

Co-op delivers yoghurt for babies A YOGHURT for babies – containing a probiotic – is being launched by Fonterra. A clinical study by New Zealand universities found the probiotic reduced the occurrence of eczema in young children by almost 50%, the co-op says. Specific probiotics for infants also promote immune responses, with potential to cut allergic disease. The re-launched Fresh ‘n Fruity My First yoghurt range is on sale at supermarkets.

Fonterra research centre spokeswoman Angela Rowan says the co-op saw the benefits of proprietary probiotic in yoghurt after a two-year trial by University of Otago’s Wellington School of Medicine and University of Auckland in 2008. “It has been proven safe and effective in adults, elderly, pregnant women, children and infants, and has demonstrated survival through the gut, meaning it reaches the lower

gastro-intestinal tract alive and active.” My First has no added sugar and preservatives, is made with whole milk, has a smooth texture and is both gluten and gelatine free. It comes in two varieties: for children 6-12 months and older than 12 months. The yoghurt for babies six months old contains pureed fruit and has a mild custard flavor. The yoghurt for babies 12 months and older has soft fruit pieces.

NZAEL board reshuffle A COMPANY managing national breeding objectives has been overhauled following a review. New Zealand Animal Evaluation Limited (NZAEL), a subsidiary of DairyNZ, has a new chairman and board. Former Dairy Board chief executive Warren Larsen is the new NZAEL chairman. Also named to the board is Massey University pro vicechancellor College of Sciences Professor Robert Anderson. He chaired the committee which reviewed the New Zealand Dairy Core Database in 2009. Larsen and Anderson join existing directors Hugh Blair, Massey University; NAIT chairman Ted Coats; and DairyNZ director Michael Spaans. NZAEL directors who have stepped down are chairman Philip Luscombe, Jake Chardon, Steve Ireland and Kevin Old. The new board’s appointment follows a review of the governance and structure of NZAEL commissioned by DairyNZ in August 2010. The review was led by Fonterra director and former DairyNZ chairman Jim van der Poel. DairyNZ chairman John Luxton says the review found that changes were needed to the structure, process and support of NZAEL to address the identified issues and to position NZAEL and the industry to deal with challenges that it faces re the National Breeding Objective. He says Larsen has considerable experience in the dairy industry. He is chairman of Centreport Ltd, deputy chairman of Landcorp Farming and a director of Air New Zealand. Larsen says there are many challenges ahead. “Continuing to improve the contribution genetics can make to increasing the performance of our national dairy herd will be the key focus of NZAEL’s work. There is much for us to achieve, and I look forward to addressing the challenges to the benefit of New Zealand dairy farmers,” he says. Luxton paid tribute to the outgoing directors. “I would like to recognise all the former directors for their significant contributions to NZAEL. The National Breeding Objective has been a crucial part of the benefits farmers have enjoyed through genetic gain,” says Luxton. He also acknowledged the services of retiring NZAEL manager Bill Montgomerie. He has been replaced by geneticist Dr George Cruickshank.

To maintain udder health apply twice daily after milking for three to four days • Do not spray on teats of lactating animals • Keep out of reach of children • Store in a cool dark place This product should be taken as directed by HFS If no improvement, consult a Veterinarian SHAKE WELL BEFORE USE CONTAINS: A BLEND OF HERBAL AB BIOSEA FISH OIL, AND DISTILLED WATER

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Farmers hail RD1 deal FONTERRA FARMERS

RD1 is now fully owned by Fonterra farmers.

are hailing the co-op’s decision to regain full control of retail service provider RD1. Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Simon Couper says investment will improve RD1 products and services to farmers. “It’s an incredibly

competitive market and costs to farmers are already increasing due to many factors including some supply companies trying to make up for the downturn over the last couple of years. “Now RD1 is 100% owned by shareholders we’ll be able to focus on providing great service

and supplies to our farmers at competitive rates and giving them the best deals available. “It’s good to have control and ownership of RD1 and many farmers will not only see the positives in this but will also reap the rewards long term.” Federated Farmers says it will ensure a highly competitive rural supplies market. Feds’ president Bruce Wills notes RD1 is another fully owned farmer co-op joining CRT, Farmlands and ATS. “There is of course PGG Wrightson, Allied Farmers, Elders and other companies in the rural supplies market too,” he says. “Knowing Fonterra, they would not have exercised their buyback rights unless the financial numbers made sense. From Federated Farmers’ perspective, assuring competition in this key market for farmers is a vital outcome.  “It also means instead of going into foreign control, RD1 is fully in the hands of New Zealand farmers.” Fonterra last month paid an undisclosed sum for 50% of RD1 owned by Canadian company Agrium. The deal means Fonterra fully controls RD1’s 57 stores. Fonterra in 2006 sold a 50% stake in RD1 to Australian rural supplies chain Landmark, owned by AWB. As part of that agreement Fonterra had a

pre-emptive right to buy back RD1 if Landmark or AWB were sold. The opportunity arose in December 2010, when Canadian company Agrium bought AWB. Fonterra chief executive Andrew Ferrier says Fonterra is excited at the prospect of RD1 rejoining the fold. RD1 revenues have since 2006 increased from $394 million to $741m. “RD1 is a solidly performing company with strong farming roots and it’s great to have it back in the family,” says Ferrier. Over the next three months Fonterra will review the business before announcing initiatives to better leverage RD1 for shareholders. “With 100% ownership of RD1 we can do much more with the company in order to deliver value to our shareholders,” Ferrier says. RD1 was formed in 2002 from the trading store networks of New Zealand Dairy Group and Kiwi Cooperative Dairies Ltd. “The time of this acquisition could not be better with both Fonterra and RD1 about to conclude extremely good financial years,” notes Ferrier. “Further, we see many advantages for Fonterra’s farmer shareholders using a dairy focused store they own and where all the profits come back to them.”

‘All profits back to co-op’ RD1 CHIEF executive John Lea says the buy-back of RD1 by Fonterra shows the importance of the retailer to the co-op. Being back in the Fonterra fold also gives certainty on the future of RD1, with 100% of RD1’s profit being directed back to Fonterra shareholders, he says. “RD1 is in a strong position, and Fonterra recognises that 100% ownership will be advantageous to Fonterra dairy farmers. “As a buying vehicle for farm goods, we can provide Fonterra farmers with the best products at competitive prices, helping support Fonterra’s bid to secure a sustainable future for New Zealand dairying.” The buyback substantially strengthens RD1’s position in the rural retail market. “There is no difference now between RD1 and other co-ops” says Lea. “All our profits will now be returned to our shareholders so we are on a level playing field with our competition. We look forward to continuing to show our shareholders great returns, and working with them to better leverage their 100% holding in RD1.”

Dairy News // july 12, 2011



Fonterra’s managing director trade and operations, Gary Romano says New Zealand exporters have to show leadership in shipping.

Co-op launches freight venture FONTERRA IS looking for ‘big freight owners’ for its new supply chain joint venture. The co-op has launched Kotahi with meat co-op Silver Fern Farms but says its supply chain services will be open to other New Zealand importers and exporters. Fonterra trade and operations managing director Gary Romano says Kotahi is in talks with other big players but refused to divulge details. “We are looking for four or five other partners, particularly big freight owners,” he told Dairy News. When Kotahi starts operating on August 1, it will service about one third of all containers leaving our shores. “Export earnings are New Zealand’s bread and butter; just last year the collective return was over $40 billion,” notes Romano. “This is a great success story but as the world changes there is a risk we will be squeezed out. “We’re the most remote developed country in the world relative to international markets and the way we get our products to and from these markets is critical to continued success. “International companies, including shipping, are reshaping their business models to adapt to changing markets. “If New Zealand is serious about being a truly global player we have to show leadership in areas like freight management. This is about taking the New Zealand economy to the world.” Farmers back Kotahi and point to significant cost efficiencies to be made in the supply chain, particularly freight. Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills says instead of doing their own thing, it’s logical for our exporters and importers to cooperate on freight aggregation.

“From the farmer’s perspective, a ‘NZ Inc’ approach to freight solutions means better market servicing and the promise of savings reflected in producer returns.” Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson says greater collaboration among supply chain players has to be good for New Zealand. “We’re a small country and need to leverage what scale we have. “If Kotahi succeeds in improving vessel utilisation and providing greater certainty about demand for sea freight, it has the potential to achieve significant supply chain efficiencies. For Ports of Auckland, efforts to smooth peaks and troughs in export demand are also positive. “We’re pleased to see New Zealand cargo owners seeking to play a larger role in decisions over logistics infrastructure and sea freight services.” Kotahi chief executive Chris Greenough says the partnership’s initial focus will be on working with exporters and ocean carriers to drive greater efficiency and service enhancements in sea freight. He says cooperation with others to drive more efficient rail, road and port use will naturally follow. “There is a lot we can achieve fairly quickly to improve services and efficiency in the ocean freight space, but obviously in the long term these efficiencies will only be maximised if collectively we are able to work smarter on the land side too.” Kotahi will first create a robust operating model for its partners’ freight before taking new customers on board in the coming months. Appropriate authorisation from the Commerce Commission will be sought for Kotahi.

Supply chain challenges facing Fonterra The value of New Zealand’s exports in 2010 was $40 billion. 84% by value of New Zealand’s merchandise trade is transported by sea. Fonterra exports 95% of its annual production by sea of which 92% crosses the equator. Individually, New Zealand export-

ers’ ocean freight demand is largely seasonal and often volatile on a week to week basis. For example, in the extreme case Fonterra’s demand can fluctuate by more than an entire ship from week to week. Getting products to market within acceptable timeframes is a major challenge. 3599 Metabolizer halfpg vert.ind1 1

9/11/08 9:20:42 AM


Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Minerals part of a balancing act PHILLIPA HEDLEY

THE MOST important mineral for dry cows is magnesium. This plays an important role in milk fever prevention (calcium deficiency) as it is required for the production of hormones important for the absorption of calcium (Ca) from the gut and the mobilisation of Ca from bones. Supplementing with magnesium daily for twothree weeks pre-calving will reduce the risk of milk fever. However, it does not build up a store of magnesium in the cow. Magnesium sulphate (MagS) and chloride (MagC) are more effective at preventing milk fever than magnesium oxide (Causmag). Unfortunately they are difficult to feed because they are bitter

and not very soluble. Pre-calving add 60g magnesium sulphate per cow into the water trough daily (introduce it gradually for up to one

However, you can also give too much magnesium, which can cause scouring and poor absorption of other nutrients. So it is

“Supplementing with magnesium daily for two-three weeks pre-calving will reduce the risk of milk fever. However, it does not build up a store of magnesium in the cow.” week), but also dust the pasture (or silage) with 60-70g Causmag per cow each day. Supplementing with magnesium needs to continue after calving, until spring growth rates have slowed (around December) to ensure that milk production is not compromised and to prevent grass staggers (grass tetany).

important to know how much you are giving your cows and how much they actually need. For further information and actual amounts required refer to DairyNZ Facts and Figures (p48 ff) and Farmfact 3-1 Magnesium Supplementation ( Calcium Supplementation

with calcium (Ca) immediately after calving ensures the cow absorbs enough calcium to prevent milk fever. In most cases it is important that calcium supplements are not started before calving, as its presence in a pregnant cow’s diet reduces the absorption of Ca. The risk of milk fever is greater in these situations. After calving, provide 150g/cow of finely ground limestone (lime flour) daily during Manage minerals the colostrum well this spring. period – double this rate if dusting. An alternative would be to add lime Minerals flour to supplement or to Trace element feed calcium-enriched supplementation for molasses. at least two weeks


precalving is important to avoid health disorders around calving. The important elements are

copper, cobalt, selenium, iodine and zinc. For further information refer to DairyNZ Farmfact 3-4. Other Consider using starter drenches on high-risk cows at calving. These include 7+ year-old cows, cows fatter than BCS 5.5, or cows with a history of metabolic problems. Cows affected by facial eczema need extra attention. At calving treat with an energy starter drench, vitamin B12 and vitamins A, D, E. • Phillipa Hedley is a DairyNZ developer - farm systems. Article sourced from DairyNZ newsletter InsideDairy July 2011.


Dairy News // july 12, 2011


AMS yet to take off THERE IS low awareness of automatic milking systems (AMS) among New Zealand farmers. They simply need more information on the economics of AMS and the number of units required to milk a herd, says DairyNZ. Adoption of AMS continues to grow worldwide, and New Zealand has five farms using the technology. To develop greater understanding, DairyNZ is working with those five farms and the Australian Department of Primary Industries and other rural professionals. As part of the project, DairyNZ senior scientist and project leader Jenny Jago and consulting officer Sarah Payne met bankers, milk supply representatives, private consultants and extension staff. Jago says there are pockets of interest among farmers, but overall awareness is low. So DairyNZ has created an information portal on its website. “New Zealand farmers need to keep an eye on emerging technologies and the website is a great place to go to learn more about automatic milking and keep up-to-date with developments as part of a project to develop greater understanding of AMS,” Jago says in DairyNZ’s monthly newsletter InsideDairy. Jago says automatic milking in New Zealand is in its infancy, with the first farm commissioned in Ashburton in 2008 and the most recent near Hamilton, in March 2011. “They represent the broad spectrum of farming systems seen in this country, from organic to housed, and are also geographically diverse,” she says. Jago believes there is a need for greater understanding of automatic milking. The joint project, called AMS Integration, has involved dairy extension and research staff from Australia and New Zealand working together to quantify the likely adoption rates for AMS. “We are also seeking to understand what support rural professionals require and, through a series of workshops and farm visits, increase the knowledge and skill of extension staff, enabling them to better assist farmers considering or using automatic milking.” The five New Zealand farmers using AMS participated in a workshop in March. Jago says the workshop brought together farmers with different farm systems, but using a common technology, sharing their experience and learning from each other. By teaming up with the Australian Department of Primary Industries (Victoria), DairyNZ staff can determine the best way for industry to invest to support

early adoption of AMS, she says. “Automatic milking offers exciting potential for dairying, but is in the early stages of adoption, so there are many challenges to be overcome if it is to deliver real benefits for farmers.” Both Australia and New Zealand are at a similar stage of farmers adopting automatic milking technology in the dairy industry. The numbers of people sufficiently experienced to support farmers is also limited, so it is logical for the two countries to pool resources, she says.

Have you thought about the quality of your replacements?

in brief


AMS now online

The DairyNZ website now has information on automatic milking, for farmers and rural professionals. The experiences of farmers who have bought AMS and the questions from consultants and bankers have shaped the content, now available at

© ICON 7075 FIB

Milking 90 cows/ hour

DELAVAL INTERNATIONAL is installing an automatic milking rotary (AMR) in Germany. The company is testing the AMR on farms in Sweden and in Australia and will do commercial installations in those markets this year. The technology will be available in other selected markets next year. DeLaval says the AMR has been developed with three key customer benefits in mind: profitability, farm management and flexibility. The main components of the system are teat preparation, attachment and teat-spray modules, two touch screens to operate the system, automatic cup back flush, automatic floor cleaning and safety systems.

New Zealand farmers want more information before committing to automation.


Dairy News // july 12, 2011



Maize silage quality and safety IN MY last article I outlined information on maize yield gains and hybrids selection from Dr Bill Mahanna’s presentation at the Pioneer Dairy Roadshow. Mahanna is employed by Pioneer HiBred International, Inc. and is also a collaborative faculty member in the

Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University. In this article I will discuss Mahanna’s key messages on increasing maize silage quality and silage safety. Time of harvest As the maize plant matures the starch con-

tent increases and this more than compensates for the relatively small decrease in fibre digestibility that also occurs. Providing maize silage is well processed, changes in starch digestibility are relatively small as harvest drymatter increases from 30-40%. Currently we

are recommending maize silage crops are harvested at 30-38% drymatter. Harvest management Plant processing is important as it helps ensure that the starch in the maize grain is available to the cow. Currently the New Zealand recommendation is to have 99% Source: Dr. Fred Owens, Pioneer Senior Research Scientist. Journal of Animal Science and Journal of Dairy Science literature review summary.

(with a target minimum of 80%) of the kernels broken into at least four pieces. When the silage arrives at the stack spread it into thin layers (not greater than 15 cm) to ensure adequate compaction. For every 2.5 cm of silage depth, the weight of the tractor tyre reaching the pad scale is reduced by about 10%. So, at 12.5 cm, only about one-half of the tyre pressure is felt in the silage. Treated with Pioneer Lactobacillus buchneri inoculent.

The game is up. Your replacements bench is a good indicator as to how well you’ll finish the game. On the farm the heifers you bring into the herd each season will have an immediate impact on your bottom line – for better or for worse. Farmers who have weaned and reared their calves on the freshstart® calf development program report better quality animals from weaning right through to herd replacements. The new milkers are introduced at the peak of their game and contribute strongly to your milk returns from day one. Additionally, indicative evidence suggests these heifers carry superior genes which can be passed on from generation to generation (Phenotypic Plasticity).

The freshstart® calf development program is based on the simple premise that you cannot prepare a calf for grass (fibre) by feeding a non-fibre product. It’s a common sense approach to stimulating full stomach development in animals (ruminants) that spend a lifetime consuming pasture. Better still, the freshstart® calf development program is not expensive. In fact, it is about the same cost as any meal based programme. So get your profits over the advantage line. Check your big-game strategy online at and come away a winner with a strong replacements bench.

For information on the freshstart® calf development program visit us online at or call 0800 545 545.

Silage stacks without walls can be used to make good quality silage providing farmers: • Compact less than 15 cm at a time. • Use Lactobacillus buchneri products like Pioneer brand 11C33 or 11CFT to keep silage cool for longer at feedout and prevent lower density “tails” from being susceptible to aerobic losses. • Focus on ways to improve compaction. After harvest is finished, compact the top layers and level off the top of the stack or bunker. There is no need to spend hours doing this because it has little effect in improving compaction in the rest of the silage. Over compaction of top may actually cause more surface spoilage because excessive damage to cells liberates nutrients and moisture fueling the growth of aerobic spoilage organisms. Silage inoculant Silage losses occur during fermentation

and feed-out. It is not uncommon for 50% of the total drymatter loss in untreated (control) silages to be ‘front-end’ fermentation loss and 50% to be ‘back-end’ aerobic-induced losses at feed-out. Lactobacillus buchneri products such as Pioneer brand 11C33 or 11CFT can reduce heating once maize silage is exposed to the air at feed-out time. The infra red picture below (taken at feed-out time) is of Untreated control

an Italian bunker where the farmer treated the left half of the bunker by hand with a Pioneer Lactobacillus buchneri inoculant. Silage safety In recent times there have been a number of fatal accidents involving silage stacks in the USA. The majority of them have occurred when chunks of maize silage have broken off the face of over-filled bunkers and stacks burying a farm employee who was working at the stack face. Typically each cubic metre of maize silage weighs between 675 to 825 kg actual weight. Silage stacks and bunkers should be no taller than a loader bucket can reach. Make an extra stack rather than over-filling your bunker. To view a copy of Dr Mahannas presentation visit and click on Dairy Road Show Proceedings. • Ian Williams is a Pioneer forage specialist. Contact him at

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011



Unlocking young stock potential IN THE mid-1980s, when well-conditioned young stock were described simply as “well grown”, Tokoroa farmers George and Sharon Moss took it to the next level and proved it – by weighing them. It was a rare step then, but it helped the young sharemilkers get a better feel for growing their stock. “Hardly anyone weighed back then, it was virtually unheard of,” says Sharon. “Then, we began using industry targets in the yellow notebook.” It was the best they could do until liveweight breeding values (Lwt BV) were released. “When Lwt BV came out, we thought ‘Great, we’ve got numbers for our own animals’,” says Sharon. “Rather than just the breed average targets, we knew exactly what we were working to. What it’s done is set benchmarks; we always suspected we were aiming too low for the cows we had, so now we know real targets and actually exceed them.” Moss’s raise about 100 young stock for three herds: those on their farm, the neighbouring organic farm they have a half share in, and extra stock for a nearby farmer. All are

raised on a neighbouring leased dry-stock unit from nine months of age. “Since starting to use Lwt BV three years ago, it has allowed us to measure the growth performance of individual groups and to meet targets based on their genetics,” says George. “Using Lwt BV has raised the target; it used to be 200kg LW at nine months old, now it is 235kg. “It is so important to get them as big as possible before they enter the herd. The younger they are, the more important those growth rates. It follows from the heifer on Tokoroa farmer George Moss. to mating, to a cow’s production in the first, second and ongoing years. based on the base of 503kg plus/ “If heifers coming into the herd as minus Lwt BV. Then we align the two-year-olds are as big as they can weights to set targets for three, six, be, there are no excuses for not milk- nine, 12, 15 and 21 months of age,” ing.” says George. Lwt BV is currently provided on “I currently work this out manuthe LIC Minda trait evaluations and ally on a spreadsheet, but if it was trait analysis report, however George simply provided to all farmers for the has to manually break the informa- calves born that year, it would be intion down to specific age related tar- valuable. gets. This is an imperative, if the in“From the Lwt BV, we can estab- dustry is serious about lifting the lish the expected mature liveweight, performance of replacement stock.

There are different target weights due to different genetics between herds. One set target does not relate to everyone.” George says since Lwt BV came in three years ago, it has enabled them to measure the growth performance of different groups and meet the targets. “It is critically important for the industry that farmers hit these target weights. In the past we had grown very good stock, but Lwt BV means

what we thought were exceptional stock are just very good stock. We thought we were exceeding targets, but actually we were just ahead of the genetics.” With international genetics, the New Zealand Friesian is now much bigger than it once was. There is now a greater variation in potential size of dairy cattle within the Friesian breed. Moss’s weigh the calves just after birth, then again at six weeks old. After this, they’re weighed every six weeks until nine months old, and then quarterly for the following 12 to 21 months of age. “It really helps to identify young animals that are not doing well for any reason. Without weighing them, you don’t know where you are.” The Moss’ focus on young stock drives their farm operation: rather than being second class citizens, the calves and heifers get priority treatment and the best paddocks possible. “The first two years they are growing, those animals have to be our focus all the time.” • Source: DairyNZ InsideDairy July Issue.


Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Dairy Push scheme enters second phase Nutritionist Wybe Kuperus was a guest speaker at a recent Dairy Push field day.

SOUTH WAIKATO’S Dairy Push scheme entered its second cycle in June, with those first involved keen to continue after three successful three years. Dairy Push started as a three-year project involving Fonterra, DairyNZ, AgFirst and South Waikato District Council. It was seen as a pilot model for a value-added extension service, designed to provide the

essential minerals for animal health

final step in the extension chain already provided by DairyNZ. Adolph and Mary-Ann Mathis’ 95ha farm in Tokoroa has been the focus farm for the first three years, offering participants the chance to observe, monitor and implement all focus farm practices. Many participant farmers will carry on with the McQuoid family north of Tirau, on a 455ha farm. The McQuoid farm will become the focus farm for the second cycle of the scheme. Adolph says they got a lot out of being the focus farm, but is looking forward to a reduced role in the next three years. “We’ll be carrying on as one of the participant group farms. We’ll still have stuff to do but not so much data gathering, so it won’t be as intense. “We found it’s a good discipline and is good for training staff. It was hard to do everything but it’s been worth it in the end to put in the hard yards.” The Mathises’ had to create a business plan, using DairyBase to review their performance. They were closely monitored by rural professionals intent on improving profit (EFS) by 10% each year, reducing empty rates, increasing pasture utilisation and use of supplements, improving soil nutrient management, and succession issues. As a result, about 50 farms also took part in the scheme, working with their own farm advisors to develop business plans including goals and key performance indicators. “The outcome on our farm wasn’t as straightforward as we hoped,” says Adolph. “The expected profitability hasn’t been as easy to achieve, due to drought and changes in payouts. The first three years was about profitability, but the next three years will also focus on the environment as well as maintaining profitability. “It’s an issue that’s relevant to us all. It won’t be just about effluent, but all aspects of sustainability. We’ve learnt to focus on what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. Water is the major issue for us all.” Participants received one-on-one support throughout the scheme, had access to updated information on the DairyNZ website, received a fortnightly newsletter and took part in discussion groups to evaluate outcomes of trials and practices. Project leader James Allen, AgFirst, believes this one-on-one follow-up after the focus farm field days and group workshops was vital to the success of the scheme. “It’s a bit of a hybrid model of extension. We have combined the focus farm with one-to-one individual discussions, and that is where we’ve seen the changes. “AgResearch conducted surveys on the participant group and we’ve seen some favourable results. Farmers have undertaken management changes, more feed planning, financial budgeting and strategic planning. Mainly, there have been improvements in attitude and action. “On the Mathis’ farm we’ve lifted profitability, but at the same time we’ve managed to decrease their nitrogen leaching and got them thinking about fertiliser application, as well as enlarging their effluent area.” Allen is also excited about the second cycle because of its new focus area. “We’re talking all aspects of sustainability. Not just environmental, but social sustainability – a farm needs to retain staff and grow those staff. We want farmers to think about the number of hours worked by workers and owners. We want them to think about the contribution the farm might make to the wider community.” He also attributes the success of the scheme to being farmer-led. Chairman of the local management team, George Moss, says their role was to keep the project heading in the right direction. “With Dairy Push we’ve had the Mathis’ focus farm put all their facts out on the table. “We’ve found that even the top performers can make an incremental gain by following the programme,” says Moss.

Dairy News // july 12, 2011


animal health

Prevention is better than cure IT IS not rocket science, but science can help. When mothers give birth and babies are born, a lot of things can go wrong. Some things can’t be avoided, such as needing the vet to assist calvings where the calf is deformed or presented wrong. But most things are preventable, with the help of a bit of experience and science. Reporoa vet Fanny Leduc likes the old adage ‘prevention is better than

cure’. At the heart of that belief is the preventative role veterinarians can play in managing animal health – particularly during the challenges and trials of spring. Leduc says mastitis, lameness, metabolic problems, non-cyclers and calf health are common issues on farms nationwide at this time of year. “A lot of farmers still Fanny Leduc (right) believes vets can play a role in managing animal health, particularly during the challenges and trials of spring.

use vets as a reactive means. With tighter margins on farms, as well as pressure to produce better quality milk, improve environmental impacts and animal welfare, the future for farmers and vets is increasingly in a consultancy role, using us as a preventative, proactive measure. “Even a simple thing like introducing records to monitor animal health will save our time and be more cost-effective. “The cost of a two hour consultation will be easily made up with one or two fewer mastitis or lameness cases.” Originally from Canada, Leduc is now in her seventh year as a dairy vet in Reporoa, working with

22 of VETPlus’ dairy clients. Prevention better than cure Leduc says risks associated with down cows, prolapsed uterus, ketosis, retained afterbirth, mastitis, lameness and calf scours have been

per-year package that looks largely at mineral status of cows. “The pre-calving visit includes blood testing cows and incoming heifers for trace minerals (copper, selenium and cobalt) as well as magnesium. Herbage tests are

“Even a simple thing like introducing records to monitor animal health will save our time and be more cost-effective.” well-documented. “By making sure these risk factors are controlled or eliminated you minimise their negative impacts on animal health. By keeping on top of scientific developments, vets and consultants can help you manage them. “For example, calving cows are at risk of metabolic problems such as milk fever, grass staggers, ketosis, as well as mastitis, retained afterbirth and metritis. These conditions have several risk factors in common.” To help assess and manage some of those factors, vets have varying programmes. One that Leduc’s clinic has in place is a four-visits-

done in order to foresee any mineral or energy deficiency from pasture early in the season.” Using this information and past experience on the farm, the vets can then draw up a nutritional and mineral supplementation plan that suits the herd. A colostrum visit involves blood sampling some freshly-calved cows to make sure the plan is working. “By checking calcium and energy levels we can tell if the cows are transitioning well from springers to milkers, and management changes can be made if needed.” Failing to plan is planning to fail Having a plan for dealing with various ani-

mal health situations will reduce stress on people and cows. “Even if all the risk factors are being controlled, you will still have the odd lame cow or case of mastitis. “Everyone on-farm should know how to recognise problems and how to handle them. The plan should cover basic things like mastitis detection and treatment protocols, to more extreme situations such as where to take the stock for shelter in case of a major storm or flood.” Vets are involved on dairy farms by planning which drugs are best suited, designing protocols, or offering staff training modules. Information gathering How many cases of mastitis, retained afterbirth or calf scours have been treated last spring?

How many is too many? How easy is it to find out the information? “While we can answer those questions by looking up product purchases on our computer system, now a lot of dairy farmers can gather this information themselves, and retrieve it at the push of a button if necessary,” says Leduc. “If there’s good data and record keeping on a farm, we know where we are starting from, as it’s really hard to monitor without that information.” Having good processes, communication and gear ready ahead of time will make dealing with problems less stressful. Record keeping, especially in an electronic format, will make it easier to identify and fix problems. Source: DairyNZ InsideDairy July 2011.

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011


animal health

Right feed mix keeps metabolic issues away METABOLIC PROBLEMS as well as bloat are routinely addressed using Rumensin (Elanco) on the 2000-cow Synlait Robindale (Dunsandel) farm managed by Michael and Susie Woodward. Woodwards this year won the Canterbury-North Otago farmmanagers-of-the-year section in the Dairy Industry Awards. They came third in the national final. Woodward attributes their regional win to attention to financial management and business decision making, on which they have had to concentrate this year, their first as contract milkers on a big operation. “We’re paying the dairy expenses and staff, so must be focussed on how we allocate our budget and manage our cashflow,” he says. Competition organiser Chris Keeping says the awards are not about how large a farm business is or how much each cow produces, but about whether the managers are doing a great job for the farm owner, themselves and the industry. Woodwards have an established, respected reputation with Synlait for doing just that. They are keen to progress through the company’s ranks in scale and responsibility, having worked for it since 2003. Before Robindale they had managed the Tapatoru dairy operation in 2007, milking 900 cows. There they first used Rumensin. Taking over the job mid-season they decided to continue administering it, and completed the season averaging 460kgMS/cow on an all-grass diet. Woodward decided this was only an indication of what the farm could do,

Michael and Susie Woodward, Robindale Dairy, Canterbury.

given some of the balage supplement fed out was poorer quality. “But the cows still seemed to milk on despite that, and I felt Rumensin aided their ability to make the most out of what energy was in that feed.” During their first year at Robindale budgets were hit hard by the downturn in milk prices, but Woodward was keen to get Rumensin into the system, and they “scraped up” what was around the properties to get it there. For the 2010-11 season they convinced Synlait that Rumensin was worth putting including in the budget, partly on its bloat control label claim which forestalled the use of bloat oil. And evidence Rumensin can also reduce the incidence of acidosis was another prompt to have it going into a herd fed 1000t/year of crushed barley and wheat, along with a milk-plant by-product – desiccated air flocculent (DAF). This comes from the Synlait plant as a residue of processing. It delivers a high fatcontent feed that goes through

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Endometritis can prevent up to 10% of your herd getting back in calf early. Here’s a plan to make sure it doesn‘t hold you back this season.

seen minimal metabolic problems, attributed to the moderating effect of Rumensin, and higher production. It is credited with a key role in maximising utilisation, eliminating the effects of bloat while on pasture and moderating the diet’s metabolic impact. “We can go from zero to 3kg of grain reasonably fast, well within a week and not have the problems that you might expect,” Woodward says. The Rumensin goes in via the herd’s crushed feed, but variations in that delivery mean trough treatment is also an option. The Woodwards have a refreshing take on dairy management, partly thanks to Susie’s background in a US dairying family near New York. She visited New Zealand to work on a dairy, and ended up staying here, now helping keep the back room of administration and book work in line on the big operation. Michael picked up a few ideas during a visit to Susie’s family in the US, including the potential for more herd housing and examining winter milk options.

the in-shed feeding system as a thick liquid. This fat and the high energy input from the grain feed can cause metabolic problems, but combined with Rumensin in its powdered form these are less a problem this season. “The DAF can come and go depending upon processing, and alter in composition too, which can make it difficult to balance the herd’s diet,” Woodward says. However when it is consistent they see an increase in production. Meantime depending on grass lev• Herd size: 2000 cows. els and conditions the • Location: Dunsandel, Midcrushed barley and Canterbury. wheat will also vary. • Feed regime: mixed high This year the farm energy DAF by product, has broken Robindale 1000t/year crushed barley production records, and wheat, grass silage. finishing the 2010-11 • Rumensin application: season at 400kgMS/ powdered form through incow (compared with shed feeding – have used a previous average of trough treatment. 378kgMS). • Main benefits: reduced Despite the variance acidosis incidence, no in DAF availability and bloat issues, improved feed increases in quantities of conversion of grass. grain fed, Woodward has

A balancing act

No risk of poor mixes PROPRIETARY MINERAL product MineralBoost, made by Fertco, comes in a range of compoundgranule formulations to suit particular farms, dealing to the problems of dust, fuss or waste, says general manager Warwick Voyce. The result is farmers can save time and money and, more importantly, remove the risk of poor mixes causing toxicity or under-dosing, Voyce says. Fertco developed MineralBoost in 2009 in collaboration with animal nutrition consultants Sue Macky and Brian Mackay of Dairy Production Systems Ltd. Five different formulations are on offer, the three main macro nutrients being fine lime, mag oxide, and salt, providing the minerals calcium, magnesium and sodium, added at different ratios depending on the granule formulation. “As well as these three main nutrients there are also MineralBoost granules containing, zinc oxide, Rumensin or Bioplex High 5 (trace minerals) or combinations of these components,” Voyce says. “Before the development of MineralBoost the only option to enable farmers to make mineral formulations to suit their system was to buy individual major and trace mineral components and mix them on farm. “We saw there was a better way. “These products take the guesswork out of mineral supplementation.” The company says it seemed a logical step to incorporate all these minerals into a compounded granule to make ordering and animal delivery simpler and more efficient. One farmer using MineralBoost is Cameron Coombes, farming at Ngahinapouri with his wife Sheree and their four children. “This is my second full season on MineralBoost,” says Coombes. “It saves me 45 minutes every day when I’m using total mixed rations machinery.” “Because MineralBoost is a granulated dustfree mix, with all minerals in each granule, we can order it by the truckload – no need to mix different individual quantities of dusty mineral components.” Coombes says MineralBoost takes a lot of the guesswork and hassle out of ensuring they maximise the utilisation of feed consumed by their cows. MineralBoost can be blended with PKE from a feed supplier, so the job is done before the product lands on farm, Voyce points out. The company has a new product in the pipeline: a pre-calving MineralBoost on trial this winter.” 0800 466 736

THE METRICURE MAINTENANCE PLAN: For top performance A VISUAL CHECK: For leaks and wear Look for all cows likely to be At Risk of endometritis who will have had: • Assisted calvings • Induced calvings • Dead calves/stillbirths • Twins • Retained foetal membranes.

Dairy News // july 12, 2011


animal health

Getting calves’ rumens up and going Dairy farmers put a lot of effort into calf rearing, knowing the gains made at the start of a calf’s life can help lift production and profits. CRT nutritionist Christine Sydenham looks at the impact of nutrition and grain digestibility on early feed intake. slightly by breaking the seed coat. By increasing digestibility of feed, less feed needs to be fed to get the same amount of growth. Besides increasing digestibility, steam-flaked grains have been shown in trials to promote the production of volatile fatty acids essential for developing the rumen. A trial by Lesmeister and Henrichs (2004) showed calves fed steam-flaked grains had higher volatile fatty acids in their blood, and longer and better-developed rumen papillae, than calves fed whole or cracked grains. This suggests that providing calves with steam-flaked grain enhances rumen development and nutrient absorption via the rumen. Reliance Calf Startmix provides calves with high quality raw materials which include steamflaked grains to increase digestibility and promote volatile fatty acid production; and pelleted grains, protein meal, vitamin and minerals to provide essential nutrients in a ‘package’ for the calf, to

Gains made at the start of a calf’s life can help lift milk production, says CRT nutritionist Christine Sydenham (inset).

reduce wastage and stop separation. These nutrients support growth, development and immune function in the young calf. It also contains molasses to hold the pellets and steam-flaked grains in a cohesive mix as well as provide palatability to increase intake of feed. The Reliance Calf Startmix also contains

the GutBoosta formula, developed by the CRT Feed team and Wybe Kuperus. Gutboosta comprises essential oils from natural herbs to stimulate appetite, increase intake and supress pathogenic bacteria in the intestine of the calf. It contains fructo oligo sacharides (FOS) which cannot be digested by the animal but are utilised by the

beneficial bacterial to improve gut health and reduce the incidence of scours. Bovatec is also included to reduce the incidence of coccidia infections as well as trace elements and vitamins to further enhance digestive health and the calf’s immune system. More details:

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NOT JUST another teat salve, says FIL of its new Active Teat Cream. Actives are manuka honey and iodine. Manuka honey’s growing role in human tissue repair and wound healing prompted its choice for the new product. FIL says it developed Active Teat Cream in consultation and trials with New Zealand farmers. They had told FIL they wanted a product that would not leave a sticky residue on hands, or linger on teat surfaces, before being thoroughly absorbed into the cow’s skin. FIL national sales manager Trevor Gulliver says the formulation was critical to avoid the product being perceived as “just another teat salve.” “The problem you get with many teat salves is they are greasy by nature, and the result is that grease will build up in the liner, not good for hygiene or the liners.” The cream formulation with honey ensures rapid absorption into the teat pores, preventing product build-up on rubberware, or attraction of dirt to the teat surface after application. Active Teat Cream is water dispersible, washing off hands, leaving no greasy residue. Yet it is also rapidly absorbed through teat skin surface without risk of being washed away in wet conditions. Trials during spring – when teat surfaces are most cracked and damaged – had farmers noting skin repair occurred “in a matter of days,” says FIL. Te Aroha farmer Ray Kessell says the cream penetrated teat-skin surfaces quickly. And he occasionally applied it to cuts and scrapes on his own hands, getting fast healing. “People wondered if I really was milking cows or not.” he says. Available first in 2L buckets.

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CHANGING A calf from a monogastric at birth to a ruminant able to utilise grass in the shortest possible time is the priority of all successful dairy farmers. Done well, rumen development can take three-four months; done poorly it can take five-six months. A key to making this change as quickly as possible is encouraging early feed intake by providing calves with palatable feed, increasing the digestibility of feed and stimulating rumen function so the calf can utilise grass quicker. These factors will reduce the incidence of growth checks and help calves reach their maximum weights at weaning. Processing grain increases its digestibility for young calves and steam flaking generally provides a 10% increase in digestibility over whole or cracked grains. This occurs via the application of heat which causes the gelatanisation of starch, whereas in cracked grain the digestibility is increased

Sweet active teat cream


Dairy News // july 12, 2011

animal health

‘Fibre lifts calf fertility’ good genetics in their dairy herds but the benefits of that investment can be lost if the calves are not fed correctly during the early pre-puberty growth phase. “Zero to three months

Hence Margerison’s stress on calves getting opportunity to eat forages from an early age. She says feeding forages early helps promote good cow behaviour by making sure the calves

“A lot of research supports the fact fibre is required to ensure optimal rumen development.” is when farmers can have the most impact in ensuring dairy heifers achieve good mature weight before mating. It is critical to get protein, like that found in HNF Fiber, into the calves’ diet to ensure they get high levels of lean growth and their mammary growth is maximised.” Fiber Fresh Feeds says recent research shows efficient foraging behaviour is established in calves much earlier than previously thought.

Let’s face it... hoof trimming is part of good herd management. However, there are safe ways and unsafe ways to do it! Recently we heard of a situation where a farmer had a cow tied up to a gate for trimming. The cow kicked out and well... the rest is history as you can see above....

modify their foraging behaviour in line with natural instincts. Her research last year showed calves not offered fibre grow slower and don’t consume as much feed. Fibre helps the rumen develop correctly by sloughing off the mucus layer on the papillae, which is commonly referred to as ‘the scratch factor’. This enhances the absorption of volatile fatty acids, which in turn results in good growth.


2.5 lactations before they leave the herd. “When you consider a lot of New Zealand farms have eight- and ten-yearold cows still in their herds, the replacement rate demonstrates clearly that we are losing young animals from the herd that we should not be losing. That is why it is really important to make sure that heifers come into the herd at a good mature weight so they can forage well, compete well and reproduce. “I’m convinced if we had to cull fewer young animals due to infertility we could actually cull the older less productive cows and increase the productivity of the national herd or reduce the replacement rate.

Jean Margerison, Massey University.

“Farmers should be aiming to keep these young animals in the herd for as long as possible. The other thing is, if you are losing young animals you are actu-

ally losing your higher genetic merit animals and keeping the older lower genetic merit animals to continue reproducing in the herd.”

Bigger, better replacements BIGGER AND better replacement calves result from the Freshstart twostage calf development programme new from Fiber Fresh Feeds Ltd. Freshstart begins with a stage one – FiberStart – formulated to encourage

rumen development in young calves and ensure they grow and develop correctly. It contains the companys’s HNF Fiber with 16% captured oats, providing the ‘scratch factor’ and encouraging the correct mix of micro

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Margerison says farmers should be aiming to maximise growth during their calves’ first three months of life to ensure they achieve optimum mature weight. “Dairy heifers should ideally reach 85-90% mature weight at about 22 months so they will reproduce and compete well with other cows. If the heifers are a good mature size when they are managed into the dairy herd they will be less likely to be infertile and get mastitis, and a lot less likely to be lame.” A point of concern for Margerison is that the 25% replacement rate in New Zealand is identical to the rate seen overseas where cows are only doing an average


FEEDING CALVES high quality fibre during their first three months of life will help increase fertility and result in less mastitis and lameness, says Fiber Fresh Feeds Ltd. In support of this the company cites the work of Massey University animal science researcher Jean Margerison, leader of the dairy heifer and cow nutrition programme. Margerison works with Fiber Fresh Feeds to evaluate and help optimise feed formulations. Referring to the company’s HNF Fiber contained in calf feeds, she says it “provides the quality protein that young calves need to get good lean growth.” “A lot of research supports the fact fibre is required to ensure optimal rumen development. Farmers put a large investment into securing

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011


animal health

Apple cider ‘good for cow condition’ Mate Direct’s farmer customers has used the cider vinegar for seven years. He began using it to try to rein in his cows’ somatic cell count (SCC), at times exceeding 300,000. Now the SCC has come down and stayed down, the farmer says. The average has not exceeded 100,000 for three years and no bloat has occurred in seven years. Another farmer’s testimonial provided by ACV Health reads “In using Dairy-Mate cider vinegar our herd mastitis problems are fewer in spite of our tendency to hold on to some ‘old faithfuls’. “All in all, I consider Dairy-Mate Direct cider vinegar to be a vital part of my organic farming program. I could not afford to live without it.” Other reports cite better feed digestion, less retained afterbirth, better conception rates and less scouring by cows and calves and a parasite deterrent. A Massey University dairy organic comparison

trial has included Dairy Mate cider vinegar (with seaweed added), the company says. The product is available in sizes of 20, 100, 200 and 1000L.

It can be dispensed through the drinking water, drenched, mixed with molasses or added to feed-out wagon contents.

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COW HEALTH and condition are said to be getting a boost on Craig Clauson’s Gordonton farm thanks to Dairy-Mate Direct cider vinegar. Last season he averaged 435kgMS/cow and had a 6% empty rate and end-of-season BCS of 4.5. In a “particularly bad season for biting flies the cows were relaxed, not bothered by them,” Clauson says. Dairy-Mate Direct has supplied apple cider vinegars direct to dairy farmers for several years. The product is made by a family-run parent company, ACV Health Products Ltd. Processing of DairyMate starts with juicing apples for fermentation. Care is taken during processing to retain essential micro-nutrients and the acetobacter culture, more than a flavouring, the company says. Dairy-Mate Direct is an economical natural health tonic with no withholding period. Another of Dairy-

Gordonton farmer Craig Clauson averaged 435kgMS/cow and had a 6% empty rate last season.


Gong for remedy firm ANIMAL HEALTH company Boehringer Ingelheim says it is distinguished as one of the top workplaces in Australia-New Zealand, following its accreditation as a 2011 Aon Hewitt Best Employer. About 200 organisations in Australia and New Zealand ‘entered’ and Boehringer Ingelheim was one of just 11 organisations to gain the accreditation. The awards recognise employee engagement, leadership commitment, “a compelling promise” to employees, connecting employees to the company and strategy, and a differentiated high performance culture. Boehringer Ingelheim managing director John Dixon says it “reflects the attitudes, engagement and behaviours of everybody in the company.” Aon Hewitt senior consultant James Rutherford says the Aon Hewitt Best Employers in ANZ study is the largest employee research project and market practice audit in Australia and New Zealand.

in brief TB threat remains

THE ANIMAL Health Board says some young farmers and herdowners are unaware of the risks associated with TB and the impact it can have on their businesses. AHB chairman John Dalziell told the recent TBfree New Zealand Young Farmers annual conference some young farmers have never had to deal with the disease in their livestock.


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Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Keep an eye on mastitis JANE LACY-HULBERT



finding new cases and treating them appropriately are essential for mastitis control. The challenge is to find ways to achieve these tasks in the middle of calving, when it’s cold, wet, busy, and people are tired and grumpy. Putting systems and procedures in place before the first cow calves, and making sure everyone in the milking team knows what is expected of them, will help you through this challenging time. Cows young and old are prone to mastitis in the first two to three weeks after calving. This can’t be changed; the cow’s underlying biology and her response to calving affect her immune system. But there are things to help her get through. Talk to your vet or milk quality consultant to work out ways to set up practical sys-

tems for your herd. For more information on mastitis management, visit mastitis. Remember successful systems will make for a successful spring. Best practice mastitis control after calving Milk all cows as soon as possible after calving, ideally within the first 12 hours. Research on heifers found a 45% reduction in clinical mastitis for the first 21 days after calving, when the interval between calving and first milking was reduced from an average of 19.5 hours to 9.8 hours. Achieve this by doing the calf pickup twice a day and Cows young and old are prone to mastitis in the milking the newly calved first two to three weeks after calving. heifers immediately, rather than the typical once a day pickup. easier. Milk colostrum cows after Take special care with coFinding new clinical cases the milking herd, but before lostrum cows. Finding and in the milking herd is a much the mastitis or penicillin mob. treating mastitis while cows more laborious task. Remember to double-check are still in the colostrum phase Make sure that everyone in that the withholding period can increase the chances of the milking team knows what for dry cow antibiotics used in cure and makes management is required. autumn has fully elapsed be-

fore the first cow calves. This year’s favourable autumn has extended the season, increasing the risk of grading for inhibitory substances at the start of the new season. A rapid mastitis test (RMT)

should only be used on cows on day three or four after calving, to check for high SCC and subclinical mastitis. False positive results are more likely if the RMT is used within 48 hours of calving. When a cow is treated for mastitis, remember MRS T: Mark the cow; record her details; separate her into the mastitis mob; treat her with antibiotics. Lastly, make sure the teat spray is made up correctly for the conditions. The risk of infection is high in spring, so use the higher recommended concentration of teat spray. When adding 10% extra emollient, replace some of the water with emollient, not the teat spray concentrate. To add 10% emollient to a 20 L volume of a 1:4 teat spray mix, mix 4 L of teat spray, 2 L of emollient (eg. glycerine) and 14 L water. • Jane Lacy-Hulbert is a DairyNZ senior scientist.

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011



Big mobs easy to feed calves at three different stations. With electronic tagging the feeder recognises each calf as it enters the stall, and its programmed feed needs, and dispenses accordingly. A combination feeder can feed 100% raw milk or combinations with milk replacement. This is mixed with warm water and dispensed to the feeder, circulated to keep warm. The feeder can be programmed to dispense four or five feeds/day/calf over 20 hours. The mixer holds 35kg of powder, prevented from bridging by a shaker. “Each calf is treated individually and therefore older and younger calves can be housed

Tips on caring for cows Clean teats before milking This may mean washing and drying teats at the first milking, and thereafter making sure grossly dirty teats are washed and dried. Clean teats are easier to keep clean, they harbour fewer bacteria and teat handling encourages milk let-down. Look for signs of teat damage or swollen udders Damaged teats are at greater risk of developing mastitis. Grossly swollen udders may indicate mastitis. Lop off long tail hairs: long, dirty tail switches make teats and udders dirty and will increase the risk of mastitis. Strip foremilk and check for signs of mastitis Strip onto a black surface and look for clots, discoloration (brownish, bluish or wateriness) and/ or blood. Colostrum containing blood cannot be sent to the factory. If an animal received an internal teat sealant previously, this needs to be fully stripped out at the first milking. Make sure the milkers know the difference between teat sealant and mastitis clots. When rubbed, a teat sealant residue will smear or break up easily, but a mastitis clot remains rubbery. When signs of clinical mastitis are found, draft the cow into the mastitis herd before milking and treating. Prompt treatment can improve the cure. Test all cows leaving the colostrum herd with a rapid mastitis test (RMP) This checks for grossly high SCC that could affect the bulk milk. If risk of grading for SCC is high, withhold these cows for a further 24-48 hours to allow time for SCC to drop or clinical (visible) signs of mastitis to appear. Only treat cows with clinical signs of mastitis. Milk out well Provide calm and consistent milking conditions to help newly-calved cows develop a good letdown response, which helps them milk out well. Intervene after the first 48 hours if heifers have not adjusted to milking. Spray teats well after milking Before the cow leaves the milking platform, make sure all teats are well covered with a teat spray containing emollient. Achieving good coverage requires about 20ml/cow/milking. Many farmers find benefit in adding an extra 10% emollient in the final mix.

together but receive different amounts of feed,” Niggemann told Dairy News. Connected to a computer, the feeder will download large quantities of data, including feed quantities and timing, numbers of feeds per day, length of feeding

and time in station. Any alteration to the schedule acts as a notice that a calf needs attention. Delivery lines are automatically cleaned after each feed, and the whole machine is automatically acid/alkali washed every 24 hours. Urban were pioneers

in designing, building and improving automatic calf feeding technology and have been in this business for 27 years. They export to many countries.

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Christopher Niggemann at National Fieldays.


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A GERMAN automated calf feeder displayed at National Fieldays by PPP Industries, Tuakau, is used routinely in Europe to feed mobs of 2500 calves. The company’s first showing of the Urban U 40 calf feeder was timely, PPP general manager Nick Morison says. “We were looking for a calf feeder that would complement our in-shed feeding systems and appeal to progressive farmers.” Helping launch the feeder range on the Fieldays site was Urban Gmbh & Co export manager Christopher Niggemann. He says calfrearing operations with 2500 calves or more are using the feeders. On display was the Urban 40 which can feed

27/8/10 9:46:26 AM


Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Key pointers to a good start GWYNETH VERKERK

WITH CALVING about to start, it is time for a last-minute check that everything is ready to get your new calves off to a good start. Calf-rearing is an important job. If the staff caring for your calves need more training, get it now, before calving starts. Arrangements for the calves are important, but your top priority should be your staff – do they have the skills required to help, rather than hinder, when things get busy? Inform all staff of farm policies and discuss how you want things done.

Diseases of young calves Calves are rapidly affected by sickness, so check them twice daily for signs of ill-health. Feeding time is best; lost appetite is an early sign of illness. If you only feed oncea-day, spend time observing the calf pens. The most common diseases of young calves are navel-ill/joint-ill and scours. Navel-ill and joint-ill Calves with navel-ill and joint-ill usually have a fever, are listless and won’t drink well. The infected areas are swollen, hot and painful. Navel and joint-ill often go together. Calves born in very muddy pad-

docks or on dirty calving pads are at greatest risk. Infection can also occur if bedding is not clean and dry. If bacteria spread from the infected navel into the bloodstream, they lodge in joints (usually knees and hocks) which become hot, swollen and painful. The calf is lame. These conditions need antibiotic treatment. If not treated early, arthritis develops and the calf may have to be euthanased. Scours Use your eyes, ears and nose to look for scours. Watch calves from behind as they feed – often while drinking, they “let go”. Tails should be dry

Be ready to get your calves off to a good start.

and the backs of hocks should be clean. Identify any calf you are suspicious of, and check it again next time. Milk scours (nutritional scours) often results from overfeeding or poor quality milk replacer. Establish regular feeding routines at a consistent time each day. If a large number

of calves are affected suddenly, the problem is most likely feedingrelated. Nutritional scours can also occur if milk spills into the developing rumen. Pre-ruminant calves have a groove in the gut-wall that constricts into a tube diverting milk directly to the

fourth stomach. Sucking triggers groove closure. Calves should have to work a little to get their milk; when they have to suck hard, the groove closes properly. Spillovers can occur if teats are old and worn, if calves are tubed incorrectly or with forcefeeding by bottle. The milk sits in the developing rumen where it turns

sour, resulting in bloat and digestive upsets. Stimulate the calf to suck on your fingers first, when tubing or bottle-feeding, to help the groove to close. Severe scours cause rapid dehydration. Scouring calves need frequent feeding with electrolyte solution. • Gwyneth Verkerk is a DairyNZ senior scientist.

The good and the bad A healthy cow has: • A good appetite. • Normal posture and behaviour – look for depressed or lethargic calves. • A moist cool clean nose. • Alert and responsive ears – watch for droopy ears. • A shiny, supple coat, not stained with faeces around the back end, tail and hocks. • Supports weight on all four legs and does not limp. • Faeces that are semi-solid and smell ‘milky’ rather than ‘stinky’. • A steady respiration rate – about 50 breaths/ min in the first two weeks, reducing to around 40 breaths/min by five weeks old. • A normal temperature – about 38°C. Above 39.5°C indicates fever and infection. • A small, dry navel – be suspicious of a navel thicker than your finger, or if the calf reacts with pain when you feel it. A dehydrated cow has: • Sunken eyes. • Weight loss. • Skin that is slow to return to position when pinched up.


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Milk Bar offers delight TONY HOPKINSON

Milk Bar sales manager Anna McIntyre at National Fieldays.

CLASSIC AND deluxe versions of McInnes Manufacturing’s Milk Bar mobile calf feeders on display at National Fieldays showed off the anti-surge benefits of their round tank shape. This reduces surging when travelling, giving

extra stability. “The manifolds are round and shaped to allow better access for calves and we recommend farmers keep up to 10% of the teats free to better control the mob,” says Milk Bar sales manager Anna McIntyre. Milk Bar Mobiles have two 25 mm taps to quickly fill the feed-

ing manifold and with a manual leveller, feeding can be done on uneven ground with or without the unit being attached to the towing vehicle. All steel is galvanised, there are marked gradients and the lids are wide and easily twist off. The deluxe range has sideways levelling and suspension to give a bet-

It is not yet too late to get organised for this years spring calving season! • Any size Calf Packages can be dispatched within days! • No permits needed! • You can erect them in one or two days! • Free freight country-wide (conditions apply)!

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ter ride, reducing wear and tear on the towing vehicle and feeder. The suspension can be locked if required. It also has a moulded block above the drawbar to stop calves being pushed against the metal. Calves can be fed while the feeder is attached to the towing vehicle or it has a fitted jack with a wide foot plate. All Classic range tanks hold 500 L, are available with 40, 50 or 60 teats and have single axles. The Deluxe range has

is available with 40, 50 or 60 teats, with either 500L or 750L tanks and either single or tandem axles. McInnes Manufacturing has built Milk Bar feeders for 23 years from its base in Waipu, Northland. The family company exports too many countries. The company makes a complete range of calf feeding equipment including fence hanging feeders, teats, meal feeders and waterers.

Tel. 0800 104 119

New water trough A NEW water trough for calves contains only 8L so is constantly refreshed and has a protected float so the animals do not play with it and flood the pen. A drain plug enables cleaning. This is one of our most popular items; we’ve sold hundreds of them,” says sales manager Anna McInnes. Placed in a central position and at a height for easy access, the small trough ensures calves have access to fresh water.

Keeping birds out AN INGENIOUS device from McInnes prevents birds eating and fouling dairy rations for calves. Meal feeders with light weight hinged lids quickly teach calves to lift and feed underneath. To train the calves the lid is counter-balanced with a small weight containing water. To start the training the counter weight is full of water which holds the lids fully open.

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011



K-Line Effluent TM

Weaning calves from liquid to solid feed THE PRIMARY objective in calf rearing is to wean the calf from liquid onto solid feed with the aim of producing a well developed ruminant animal that meets the needs of a dairy replacement or beef rearing system. Viterra nutritionist Alun Faulkner says five things are needed for proper rumen development: Establishment of bacteria in the rumen When a calf is born there are no bacteria in the rumen. As dry feed intake increases, the fermentation in the rumen increases, which results in anaerobic bacteria increases. These bacteria cause the rumen papillae to grow. Liquid in the rumen Bacteria cannot grow without sufficient water. Feeding milk or calf milk replacer (CMR) does not contribute to water intake as these fluids by-pass the rumen until 12 weeks of age. Movement of material out of the rumen by muscular action Initially the rumen has little muscular activity but this increases rapidly with increasing dry feed intake. When fed solid feed, ruminal contractions can be felt as young as

has very little absorptive ability; this function must be developed. The epithelial layer consists of finger like projections (papillae) that increase the surface area for absorption. Researchers have indicated the primary stimulus for their development is volatile fatty acids VFAs. Available substrate in the rumen The substrate has to be provided to the calf in the form of dry feed. In addition, this feed needs to be a form that promotes the fermentation of VFA’s. To meet these requirements, Viterra recommends utilising NRM Moozlee as it is designed to meet all these needs. NRM Moozlee contains a high proportion A well developed of grains (±40 per cent) ruminant animal which provide a substrate is the key. for fermentation and the production of VFAs. A three weeks old. However, if they large percentage of these grains are fed milk only, ruminal contrac- have been steam-flaked, shown in tions may not be felt for long peri- studies to promote rumen epithelial ods. development better than standard Absorptive ability of the rumen maize processing techniques. The ability of the rumen to absorb In addition, NRM Moozlee has the end-products of fermentation been designed to promote a high is an important part of ruminal dry matter intake (for rumen develdevelopment. Initially the rumen opment).

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011

machinery & products

Ready for the big scrapedown TONY HOPKINSON

A FAMILIAR name in farm machinery popped up at National Fieldays with a new yard scraper. Noel Heenan, formerly based in Southland, was associated with the Heenan Bale Buggy, making it and promoting it throughout New Zealand. Now based near Hamilton and trading as Whatawhata Engineering Services 2009 Ltd, Heenan was displaying his new yard scraper. “Its built for farmers having to clear effluent from bigger areas such as feed pads or holding yards and works equally well on concrete and rubber

matting.” It is 3300 mm wide x 500 mm high and made of 8 mm plate, fully welded. The ground-contact rubber strip is 25 mm thick and can be lowered in three increments as the material wears. “The rate of wear is dictated by the downward force used by the operator,” Heenan says. At the rear is a Euro quick hitch ideal for fitting to most front loaders. “I can make attachments to suit any model front loader or three point linkage for rear mounting.” This is his standard model; other sizes can be made to order. Price $1600.00 + GST and freight.

Tel. 07 829 8785

Noel Heenan at Fieldays with his new creation.

Want to keep your head? TONY HOPKINSON

With aN improved awareness of the need for safety helmets around the farm even when driving

ATVs on short trips this novel idea was on display at the Blue Wing Honda stand at the National Fieldays. It was the basic safety helmet with a full sun hat

Dual Purpose Deck

permanently attached. “Some of the younger riders think the helmets are a bit gawky so this will hide that as well as giving them safety and sun protection,” said


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events and ATV training manager for Blue Wing Honda, Paul Stewart. Stewart, who devised the helmet, said older rid-

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ers are more conscious of sun protection and have embraced the idea as well as for the safety. It gives full face protection as well as covering the back of the neck. He also remarked that unfortunately it is the younger riders who are more accident prone so any idea to make them more safety conscious all helps. See your Honda dealer

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011


machinery & products

Race capping saves hooves A NEW dairy race capping has shown its mettle during nine months use at a farm at Patoka, northwest of Napier. On trial was Cowmax race capping, made by Maccaferri Ltd, Auckland. The farm, owned by Neil Armitage, yearround milks 850 Fresians

Cowmax performed “exceptionally well” during the heavy rains. The farm manager said that usually after rain like this the entry to the shed would have been “all pugged up”. But the Cowmax capped race has maintained its surface and

and treating lame cows can now be spent on more productive activities.” Tel. 09 622 4302 www.maccaferri.

Downer personnel install the capping.

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“Maree and I would like to let you know how pleased we are with our Varivac. Not only does it save power, but as you promised it dramatically reduced our SCC.

on 230ha of rolling pasture. Despite improvements to races in recent years, the limestone capping persistently broke down on the high-wear areas at the shed entries and exits and on feed pads. Rainfall and heavy cow traffic wore down the limestone capping, exposing the stony base and subjecting the cows’ hooves to stone damage and the risk of lameness. Also, loose stones were being tracked onto the milking shed concrete surface, further raising the risk of hoof damage. Cowmax was installed in September 2010 by Downer Construction. During January and March 2011 Hawkes Bay had long wet periods, and again in April. Around the Patoka 250-400 mm fell in three days. Other areas got 700mm rain, causing flooding to large areas of farmland. Maccaferri reports

shape with no potholing. And fewer stones have been tracked onto the concrete yard. Farm staff notice cows are walking faster on the Cowmax capping than they were on the stony capping, suggesting the cows like the new capping, Maccaferri reports. The new capping required a firm, well-compacted base sprayed with a bitumen tack coat to stick down the Cowmax. Three separate areas were capped, working around variable weather and the farmer’s need to keep milking. Twelve hours setting time was allowed before the cows could walk directly on the matting. Maccaferri business development manager Peter Finlay says Cowmax race capping will in the long term save money due to reduced maintenance costs and reduced incidence of lameness. “Time spent on regrading/recapping races

Prior to installing the Varivac we were grading at every pickup for SCC (the kind of stress parents of young children can do without in spring). I have enclosed a copy of our Fonterra SCC graph clearly showing the day the Varivac was fitted. We now average 130,000 SCC and life is good. We would not hesitate to recommend Varivac to anyone else in our situation.

The farm had serious Somatic Cell Count figures and mastitis problems. We installed a Varivac vacuum control system and the problems are now gone. Quite simply it works. Steven Robb, Dairy Farmer, Morrinsville, NZ

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We have had many years of high SSC. In fact, since putting in a new milking plant 10 years ago and no one being able to fix the problem and having culled heavily because of this we didn’t know where to turn next. We saw the article on Varivac and decided to give it a go. Well, we are delighted with the results. Proof is in the graph taken off Fence-post. Our SSC compared with the company average. Coupled with the added power savings we couldn’t be more pleased. Thanks Varivac

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011

Machinery & products

More power for workhorse NEW FUEL injection on the TRX500 workhorse ATV gives the new model better performance in several ways, says Blue Wing Honda marketing

manager Martin Wylie. “The new 500 is better than ever,” Wylie says. “It’s stronger, more powerful, better torque, more reliable, more economi-

cal and harder working on farm.” This because of ‘programmed fuel injection’ (PGM-FI), he says, in addition to the machine’s

Blue Wing Honda marketing communications specialist Monique Norris was happy to put a face to the company’s 2012 version of the popular workhorse – TRX500 – seen at National Fieldays.

4WD and “innovative” electric power steering. “That means you get more efficient fuel delivery, easier starting in cold conditions and less maintenance.” Design and engineering features include: New liquid-cooled

475cc 1-cyl. OHV 4-stroke engine with a higher compression ratio. New fuel injection system with 36mm throttle body; instant throttle response, consistent performance at high altitude and hassle-free cold-weather starting.

NZ farmers see $NZ1.5m cow TONY HOPKINSON

TULLOCH FARM Machines chief John Tulloch is seen above in charge – temporarily – of the world’s most valuable cow during a recent tour of his company’s principals’ sites. Tulloch is pictured at Banff, Calgary, Canada, with Eastside Lewisdale Gold Missy VG89. She produces 70 L/day (twice-a-day milking). She recently sold for $NZ1.5 million. The John Tulloch/Nick Gillot-led team of dealers and customers – 39 in number – took in the Grassland and Muck 2011 event at Stoneleigh, near Coventry, England, and other important places in Germany, Canada and the US. Gillot says it was great to “get to know each other away from the pressures of business, and to gain access to factories and plants otherwise more difficult for an individual.” The two-day Grasslands and Muck event was a highlight, Gillot says, with viewings of new Krone machines displayed and working for the first time: the world’s largest self-propelled mower conditioner (Krone Big M 500, 13.2 m operating width), the world’s largest rotary rake (Krone Swadro 2000, 19 m wide), and the world’s most powerful forage harvester (Krone Big X 1100, 1078 hp). The German (Mannheim) stop included a factory tour of the Krone plant at Spelle, then to Werite where Krone has Europe’s second-largest trailer factory. In Banff, Calgary, the visitors saw the goldplated cow and a feed lot holding 35000 cattle. In Phoenix, Arizona they saw a 2800-cow dairy farm, cotton/wheat/barley farms irrigated from the Colorado River in a way done by Indians 1000 years before, and a wheat harvesting team managed by a Kiwi for seven years.

Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Machinery & products

Busy mixed farmers feed out easily TONY HOPKINSON

MIXED FARMERS Simon and Fiona Hawke, and their parents, are kept mighty busy on their 500ha at Waimate, South Canterbury. Wintering 2500 ewes, 300 beef cattle for fattening, 500 dairy grazers including some calves, and short term 1200 dairy cows, needs a well organised system and good gear. The farm (rolling) also grows maize sold off-farm and commercial grain. Fodder beef, kale and rape are grown for winter crops for the animals. “We’re servicing local dairy

farmers who’ve grown in numbers in the last few years,” Hawke says. All the dairy stock come from within 10 km of the farm and are walked to and from. They are about to sell off their sheep and increase their number of dairy grazers and wintering of dairy herds. The dairy grazers come to the farm May-May and some calves following weaning. For the large number during the winter period Hawke feeds 1300 bales, including meadow and lucerne hay along with barley, wheat and ryecorn straw. Last year he bought his first Hustler Chainless 4000 bale feeder.

“There are a lot in the district and Dave Johnson from Gordon Handy Machinery along with Nigel Holt from Hustler were good people to deal with.” He feeds barley, wheat and ryecorn straw as well as meadow and lucerne hay along with some baleage and reports that the feeder handles them all with ease. He has a John Deere 6520 115 hp tractor and with the tractor forks and the forks on the rear of the feeder is able to transport three bales at once when feeding out. Tel. 06 879 7926 or 03 434 0412 www.hustlerequipment.

Simon Hawke, Waimate, South Canterbury.

8000 farms do it electronically WHEN DAIRY farmers Robbie

and Annemarie Wratt, of Havelock, upgraded to LIC’s MindaPro herd management software they didn’t realise how good it would be for their business, the company says. “Once I started using it I couldn’t get over how much was on there. If I’d known, I’d have got it quite some time ago,” Annemarie says. “There are so many reports and so much information available, all at your fingertips.” The Havelock couple upgraded from MindaLink to MindaPro earlier this year. LIC Farm Systems general manager Rob Ford says 87% of

the 8000 users of electronic Minda are now on the Pro version. MindaPro has all of the functions of MindaLink for easy herd recording, and it has powerful reporting features to help with daily decision making, LIC says. It also syncs with a mobile version (Minda Mobile) that allows farmers to maintain up-todate records from the paddock in real-time, and then sync it back to their MindaPro computerbased information. “Plugging data in gives a whole lot of valuable information back,” Ford says. “Customers can have their herd information [how and] when they want it, without complexity. MindaPro… records

their animal and farm data, and gives them a wide range of information in return with the ability to customise their reports to what they want to see, e.g. comparing animals or year-on-year information.” Wratts use MindaPro to keep on top of somatic cell counts, Annemarie says. “I can see which are the highest cows, and then details about those cows from the last eight herd tests too. And it brings all the information up without having to go through all the past herd test reports. It saves time and it’s easy to find your way around.” Most LIC customers have their herds recorded electroni-

cally through Minda, rather than on paper, the company says. Annemarie Wratt says this precludes spending evenings writing “screeds of data”; finding specific information is easy. “I might want to know how our two-year-olds are going and I used to have to go through all the herd tests, find them and then write down their data. Now with the touch of a button I can see their production, BW and somatic cell counts. “It’s easy to find your way around, and quicker to see the information, like with graphs that show comparisons against previous years.”

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Dairy News // july 12, 2011


Style, speed at Goodwood THE E-TYPE Jaguar’s 50th anniversary was last week celebrated in style at the famous British Goodwood Festival of Speed. Jaguar was honoured in the featured marque. Organisers were expecting crowds of at least 175,000 during the three days of the festival. A dramatic Jaguar-themed sculpture was erected on the lawn in front of Goodwood House. It measuring 28m high and weighed 150 tonnes. The main focus of the event was the action on the famous Goodwood Hill. The high speed 1.16-mile run featured key Jaguars including an E-type Group 44 racer, a D-type, an XK140 and the iconic XJ13 racer.

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‘Blown away’ at Fieldays HYUNDAI NEW Zealand says its new Elantra compact sedan “blew away all our targets” at National Fieldays, its first public showing. Chief operating officer Tom Ruddenklau says the reaction was everything the company expected and more, with strong sales. Demand was higher than anticipated. Now Hyundai’s best-selling vehicle globally, the Elantra is best-selling compact car in Canada. It has won awards including the 2011 AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Awards in the Compact Car class. “This award measures how satisfied an owner is with their

vehicle, based on responses from 68,000 new vehicle owners. In the US these awards are an industry benchmark for objectively

NEW Semi open feeder

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FENCE MOUNT GRAVITY CALF FEEDERS Open 1 Teat $35.00 7 Teat $109.00 3 Teat $49.95 8 Teat $140.00 5 Teat $76.00 11 Teat $158.00 16 Teat $240.00

3 Teat $84.00 6 Teat $128.00 12 Teat $240.00 16 Teat $274.00

50 Teat, 550 L $3650.00 (Tandem only)

measuring how satisfied an owner is with their new vehicle.”   The Elantra is economical on fuel: 7.1 L/100 km.


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The event also celebrated present and future Jaguars. The XKR-S, the fastest Jaguar in a generation, capable of accelerating to 100 mph in a little over 8 seconds, took to the hill. Joining it was the new XFR making its UK public debut, the same 510 PS model having won the ‘Most Spirited Getaway’ at the Festival of Speed media day earlier in the year. And on the Jaguar stand was the beautiful C-X75 concept car. Intended to inspire, this innovative roadgoing version, now being developed, “embodies the key attributes of advanced, forward-looking design, innovation and engineering that made the E-type a world-beating sports car,” the company says.


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Peach Teats are in the spotlight again...


The Peach Teat helps avoid digestion problems and scours, fostering speedy growth of calves. The Peach Teat only allows as much milk to flow through it as a cow’s udder


naturally would (to prove it, Peach Teats can even be milked on a milking machine). This encourages the calves to suckle more intensely than conventional teat technology allows, stimulating the flow of saliva and improving the PH-value in the stomach. This leads to better digestion.


Peach Teats are manufactured in New Zealand and are available from farm supply stores nationwide

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Terms and conditions: All offers and prices are valid from 1 June 2011 to 31 July 2011 unless stated otherwise, or while stocks last. Prices include GST, unless stated otherwise and are subject to change. Some products may not be available in all stores but may be ordered on request. Prices do not include delivery, delivery costs are additional. Images are for illustrative purposes only. *The deferred payment offer applies to PGG Wrightson account holders only. All purchases must be made on your PGG Wrightson account. PGG Wrightson’s standard terms of trade for monthly accounts apply – see Your PGG Wrightson account must be paid up to date to qualify. Purchase participating products between 1 June 2011 and 31 July 2011 and pay in full by 20 October 2011, interest-free. This offer may be withdrawn or amended at any time. Customers who take up the deferred payment offer must purchase participating calving products with a minimum spend of $1,000 per transaction to qualify. Deferral on participating calf feed products applies only when product is ordered and delivered in the same month.

DN July 12, Iss 250  
DN July 12, Iss 250  

Page 3 250th issue! Fonterra, Westland sound out suppliers in each other’s patch Page 4 Page 8 FE-tolerant bulls Page 16 July 12, 2011 issue...